The driver was supposed to be taking the holidaymakers from Belgium to the French resort of La Plagne, in the Alps. But he hit the slippery slope when he accidentally programmed his GPS to La Plagne in the Pyrenees – close to the Spanish border and around 400 miles south-west of his intended destination.
He was almost in Toulouse by the time his amazed passengers pointed out the error when they woke up to the sight of Mediterranean-style vineyards when they gazed through the coach windows.
“There are three entries for La Plagne in France, and I selected the wrong one,” the driver told Studio Brussel, a Belgian radio station whose parent company had organised the holiday for its listeners.
The coach eventually arrived at the ski resort 24 hours late. Happily most of the passengers took the unexpected diversion in good spirit, and they were greeted with a meal of Spanish tapas courtesy of Studio Brussel.
One passenger, Sven Ceuppens, told the BBC: “We had a hard time convincing the driver he was going to Spain and had a few laughs. It was a sleeper bus, so when I woke up at first light all I saw were vineyards. Nice, but very uncommon if you want to ski. Immediately we knew something was wrong, but it took a map of France to convince the driver to distrust the GPS.”
The Daily Telegraph points out that a more common GPS pitfall for drivers heading to Alpine ski resorts involves drivers plotting routes through mountain passes that close in winter because snow makes them impassable.