When I was first made aware of Jeep’s ‘Off The Map’ campaign, I couldn’t think of anything more inline with Intrepid Escape. Spontaneous adventure, breaking away from the norm, escaping routine. So I couldn’t have been more thrilled to be invited to join them on a road trip from Venice Italy, to Faaker See in Austria (via Slovenia), for the infamous European Bike Week!
Well you can hardly pick a more picturesque place to start! Or ironically a place least suited to owning a Jeep, in fact it’s a series of islands connected only by footbridges and boats! Needless to say this was just a starting point, but I still had some time to explore Venice by day and night.
Soca Valley, Slovenia
We actually met up with the full Jeep team in Slovenia in the wine district of Collio, in the stunning Belica restaurant which over looks Collio. We drove the new Jeep Renegade, a sleek comfort version of the typical 4×4 image Jeep is famous for. And it really has all the mod cons and intelligent safety features.
From here we headed to Soca Valley, to go rafting along the Soca River. This really was a detour from the usual freeway to Austria, but that’s the theory behind #OffTheMap; to go and explore, find your own path, and we did. The rafting was typical adrenaline fuelled fun, my favourite thing about it is that on the Soca River you really are in the heart of nature. I couldn’t take my camera, but you can see it in the video above. This was my first time in Slovenia, and if this is my appetiser then I’m coming back for main course very soon.
Faaker See, Austria
Then we headed to Faaker See for the main event, the European Bike Week; the largest motorbike meet up in Europe! It’s sponsored by Jeep and Harley-Davidson. We were there in time for the finale on the last day. A huge parade of thousands and thousands of motorbikes, led out by the two Jeeps. But European Bike Week is more than just one parade, it’s a week long festival with camping, live music, great food, biker shops, round the clock entertainment and of course plenty of beer! And what I love about the biker trends is they typically listen to rock and metal music, which I absolutely love.
Off Roading in the Jeep Wrangler
I’ve always loved driving; track days, F1, Moto GP, rally experiences, I’m there. It comes from 10 years go-karting. We always knew we’d have a chance to see what the Wrangler could do, but to what extent? That was a surprise. Following the parade, a professional racing driver took us into the mountains, over looking Lake Faaker See, to two off road tracks designed to test the Wrangler’s limits. We’d drive them both!
On the first we had a chance to test the 3.6 litre V6 engine, its raw 280bhp, and the incredible drive up the hill thanks to the 4WD traction control. We spent some time here, getting the Jeep sideways and sliding round the corners, as much for fun as for speed, and for the drone shots! The second track was more technical, rocky downhills would test the hill control and suspension, before a tough uphill to finish (the photos don’t do it justice!).
And that’s not all, this car is classy and comfortable inside, and quite simply looks the business. I’m not going to lie, I was a fan of this car before the trip, and it wasn’t my intention to write so much about a car on a travel website. But I seriously love it, and it’s now firmly at the top of my ‘Car Goals’ list, right next to the Maserati.
I flew to Italy as a guest of Jeep and have been paid for parts of the promotion and Social Media support for their #OffTheMap campaign. However, all of the content, opinions and photography are my own. Please take time visit Jeep and follow Jeep People on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter to support me on more adventures like this one.
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