We have survived the night! I think the worst part for me of the whole trip is the ferry ride. I am notoriously a bad sleeper: I have to have complete darkness in the room and as far as can be achieved, complete silence. These two stipulations aren’t easily achieved when you are sharing a room with three other people – I often liken my father’s snores to a Gumpert starting up. But the night passed surprisingly well.
A P&O ferries breakfast isn’t always the most wondrous thing to wake up to: the cappuccino tasted of cleaning fluid and the scrambled eggs were soggy and suspicious, to say the least! But after a hearty breakfast including decent rashers of bacon and surprisingly good hash browns, we were ready to go.
It was a hot journey – hot in the car, but not in the outside world. But Dickie’s air con goes from nothing to absolutely Baltic in no time at all, so I was flicking it on and off the whole way there. We followed Dad towing his car on the trailer, and were forced to have a pitstop in one of the wonderfully well-maintained rest stops, as Father was getting a bit of a wiggle on. They had these crazy bins that reminded me of the aliens out of Toy Story:
We journeyed to Venlo for our usual McDonald’s stop without problem. I’m not a big Maccy D’s fan, but this is tradition, so I’m happy to have a chicken sensation burger, though on the continent they seem to slather everything in mayonnaise.
However, after we’d finished our McDonald’s (and I changed into some shorts!) a friendly Dutchman pointed out to Dad that one tyre on the trailer was flat! So that had to be sorted out, but me and Mum went to look at the ponies, so we were happy.
And then we were off! The journey to Germany was for the most part uneventful. We fell out with the sat nav numerous times, mainly because the sat nav lady seemed to want to send us to Blankenheim all the time.
We got onto the 1, and then we were happily making our way, until we realised we didn’t really know where we were going. The hotel we usually stay in was unavailable so Father had to do some frantic searching to find an alternative place. So we all thought Father was on the ball, then we found out: he didn’t know where it was, the name of the village or the hotel or anything!
But anyway, after a moment lurking in the Rewe getrankmart car park while Mum and Dad went off on their treasure hunt, we found the hotel and got nice and settled! Father unloaded his car off the trailer and we dumped all our stuff at the hotel.
The evening’s Touristfahrten was set to start at 5.00, so we got there for about quarter to, only to find it was still a track day! The tourist rides didn’t kick off till about half six.
I had a first lap passengering with Dad, just to sort of set us off. Pfft! Like shit off a shovel (excuse my French!). Father were going for it, even if he later told me he wasn’t 100% confident in the brakes – always puts your faith in the car, dain’t it?
Then, after my post-lap sickness had sort of abated, I took Dickie out for a lap! It didn’t help that I was stuck behind a BMW that thought it was too good to buy a bloody ticket for the Ring: we all had to back up while he about took Dickie’s front bumper off with some dodgy manoeuvring. But then we were off! And then I didn’t have time to think about my nausea or even how hungry I was because I was too busy concentrating on where I was going!
I passed my first ever car fairly early on (I think it was literally the first car ever made, but still, it counts!) and I did both the Carousel and the Mini-Carousel, and they weren’t nearly as terrifying as I had thought. I bodged up a couple of corners but then, who doesn’t? All in all, I shaved a good three minutes off my previous lap times. I think those couple of track days at Blyton – and my new seats! – have really made the difference.
We went to Pinocchio’s for tea and I couldn’t eat it all. Mum and I shared a Funghi Fresci – Rob’s favourite dish. It was piping hot but amazing – but the portion was huuuge, and after about five minutes they brought our mains!