Day 4 – Saturday

After the manic day of Kar Freitag, things calmed down a bit on Saturday. Because we had been in the field and had seen the carnage on the roads (traffic jams), we decided to do a bit of Loy-family scheming: Mum put the truck in the little gravel car park, within easy reach, and we put the two Subarus in the car park, where Dickie would for the most part remain as base camp, and where Dad could take his out and hopefully sneak it back in.

Writing this in hindsight, I can’t actually think of much that happened! But this is probably because I’m thinking too much about how amazing the Sunday was.

I did a lap just me and Dad in Dickie, and it was so much better than the day before’s. Dad didn’t have his telling-off voice on, probably because Mum wasn’t in the back and we didn’t have the camera on, and it was a lot more relaxed. I overtook two cars! And they were BMWs! They were taking it pretty steady, but still, a pass is a pass! I felt a lot better about it, though I’m still scared by a couple of corners where Dad says to stay out, stay out, stay out, and that bit of Armco is coming up very quickly!

We went to our old hotel again for dinner and had steaks again. Mum complained that they season them far too much with salt. We were also all confused by the strange dish that Sister brought out, which we all agreed looked mainly like dripping with salt crystals in it. Even Michael was confused by it. Michael brought us out apple strudels, which were amazing, and then we had drinks on him. They sure make vodka Sprites strong in Germany – half vodka, half Sprite! The lads tried to convince me to go out clubbing with them – I was too tired so rejected them (though I had to step in to make sure they didn’t leave their room key on the table in the hotel), and the next day they revealed that the club had been shut anyway!

All in all, Saturday sounds like it was a pretty boring day, but it was just the calm before the storm!

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Day 3 – Kar Freitag

Good Friday seems to be the busiest day of the Easter weekend, and on a sunny day, spectator spots like Brunnchen and the car park on the hill are rammed with people and cars. Due to how busy it is, the day is a bad one for closures and accidents. Judging by yesterday evening’s events, the idiots are out in force. I have a feeling today might be more of a passenger day, and Dickie may be relegated to base camp!

Writing this retrospectively, Kar Freitag seems like ages ago!

We parked the three cars (Dickie, Dippy the Hatch and the truck) in the field. This was probably a bad idea. Because all of western Germany seems to descend upon the Nurburgring like they have nothing better to do, the roads around the track are absolutely rammed. We’ve travelled on Good Friday before, and the road we used to take to the hotel involved going along the road past Brunnchen, probably the biggest viewpoint on the whole track, and it was literally car park city going up the hill, and Dad about cooked the clutch on the truck. Friends of ours were travelling on the Friday and got stuck in traffic even before they’d gotten off the motorway.

From our park on the hill, we could see the extent of the queue. The road up to Nurburg and the entrance to the track, and down to the junction to go to the fastest petrol station in the world or into Adenau etc., were soon absolutely rammed either way by about mid morning. I don’t know how well you can see on the picture:

Kar Freitag

You can see how full the field is all the way down to the road, and how the road is then queued going up to the right towards the track, and to the left going away from the track. The traffic going away from the track barely moved all day!

Kar Freitag is never a good track-time day. Due to the volume of cars there are often many closures, and the longer a closure goes on for, the more angsty and hyped-up the drivers become, so that almost straightaway you can pretty much anticipate a second closure because somebody got a bit carried away and lost it. I’m sure there are plenty of videos on Youtube of Car Friday crashes if you did a quick search!

I actually got a lap out in Dickie, and it was the worst lap I think I’ve ever done. There was so much traffic on the track and I got scared when about seventy Porsches were all passing me at once. Kar Freitag wasn’t the best day, and it didn’t end very well.

We went to our old hotel for dinner, and I got to have my first proper steak! So that sort of made up for it. The one thing I don’t like about eating out in pubs in Germany is that everyone smokes inside, so the air is so thick with smoke it makes your eyes water and all your clothes stink of it.

Steak Nurburg

Here is a pic of our Steak Nurburg! In Germany, or at least in this part of Germany, they love to put fruit on their steaks. Here we have a peach, but we’ve had pineapples, strawberries, grapes. People do think this is weird, but then again, we have Hawaiian pizzas – ham and pineapple! Gammon and pineapple slices! Cranberry sauce with your turkey! Duck in orange/plum/lemon sauce!

Day 1 – The Epic Journey & Tourist Rides

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:

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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.

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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.

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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!

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