Passion

25,000 miles. 72 days. Seven nations. How one man drove his Ferrari 458 Spider across some of the world’s most beautiful countries in the most challenging conditions imaginable
Words: Tim Bradley
Photographs: Shahaf Galil

Many define the spirit of adventure as an unusual, or daring or exciting experience. One of going outside your comfort zone, taking into account unknown risks, possible dangers and overall, the prospect of the excitement generated by undertaking the kind of journey where almost anything could happen. Often, other people will respond to the idea of these kinds of plans with statements like “you must be crazy” or “why would you want to do that?”

It’s fair to say that driving a Ferrari 458 Spider across the snowy mountains of Scandinavia for more than two months, completely alone and on summer tires, would certainly qualify as one of those plans, however to Shahaf Galil it wasn’t crazy at all; in fact it was a challenge he relished. It was also a challenge that in the end gave him far more than he was expecting, as well as a new found respect for the build quality of Ferrari. 

Wild animals were just one of the issues Shahaf faced as he piloted his Ferrari 458 Spider for 25,000 miles across Scandinavia   

Over the course of more than two months in late 2021, the Israeli software company boss drove the black 458 Spider for hours and hours each day through seven countries, crossing rivers and seas, climbing mountains, encountering hordes of wild animals, fighting exhaustion and witnessing staggering sights of nature.

Recounting his experience, the affable Shahaf says that he’s always loved cars and has a long-held desire to explore. “When I lived in the United States I would always head off on long road trips into nature. I've always loved adventure since I was a kid”, he says. “Then many years later after I did a kind of mini-tour of Europe in a rented Ferrari, across the Balkan countries and ending in Venice, I was thinking, ‘Ok, what’s next?’”

The 458 Spider held up superbly against the demanding conditions and distances   

The answer to that was not renting, but buying a Ferrari 458 Spider and setting off on an epic tour, starting in Munich, Germany, up through Denmark, on to Sweden and then the remainder of Scandinavia - a trip that would eventually encompass some 25,000 miles over 72 days. “I chose the 458 to do it in because I just love how it sounds and drives, it’s unbelievable,” explains Shahaf. 

“I didn’t originally plan to go as far as I did. But each time I reached another country I wanted to tick it off my list and keep the adventure going. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, the journey was not without its problems. With some countries still having strict Covid rules in place, Shahaf found himself denied entry to Norway twice and even deported. He was forced to quarantine for a week. And with winter conditions hitting Scandinavia he began to have real fears that the car may not hold up against harsh road surfaces and plummeting temperatures. Fears that in the end, proved unfounded. 

Despite driving some days for as long as 18 hours, Shahaf says the journey was truly unforgettable, with some magical sights

“I could feel the rocks grinding on the bottom of the car, he says. “There was snow, there were waves. But when I got the car fully checked at the end of the trip it was absolutely fine. I was amazed. Even the tyres were ok.”

Driving as much as eighteen hours a day, Shahaf began to feel a genuine connection with the car, his constant companion on the arduous journey. “I felt at times, and this might sound stupid, but like the car was looking after me,” he says. 

Shahaf had to take some 32 different ferry journeys in order to cross Scandinavia

“As for the wonder of the nature I encountered, there was scenery in Iceland and Norway that I could barely believe. Horizons that seemed to go on forever. Endless fields of red moss, crystal green seas with scattered islands and seven rainbows all at once. Each day seemed to bring something more incredible.”

And the ever-present throughout it all was the unwavering 458, which will also be the vehicle Shahaf uses for his next adventure. He says: “I see it as a work of art. They say that a good piece of art will make you think. A great piece of art will change you. And this car has certainly changed me for the better.”