View Full Version : Euro road trip May 30 - June 8, 2012

19-06-2012, 07:06 PM
Well, it's taken a while to get round to putting this up but here goes, one day per post so give me half an hour or so to get the whole thing up!

31 May
We got away by 4pm on the 30th heading, like many of our Euro trips do, to the Holiday Inn at Folkestone. Nando's provided our we're-on-holiday celebration meal. Ok, so it's little things. Before checking in at the hotel, we filled the car at the local Tesco - a station well worth getting familiar with! The hotel had a gate added since the last time we were there and every time it opened and closed it sounded like an angry cow or a really pissed off penguin.
And that was it, until the alarm at 430am.
Well, should have been. Holiday mentalists that we are both woke up half an hour ahead of the alarm. We have a 4am setting for hopping across the Channel and it worked yet again. Time to grab a coffee and some European light stickers at the Tunnel then.


Being in France by 630am UK time, 730am in Europe is so much better than listening to the alarm for work!


We're skipping toll roads through France so the route takes us via Mons and through Luxembourg to Stuttgart which is our stop over for two nights. We then carry on to Lake Bled in Slovenia through Austria to meet our friends, Jay and Ju, and their dog, Charlie who are touring Europe in a Hymer for a year (more if they can) and have been on the road for almost 8 months now (their blog of adventures is here: www.ourtour.co.uk). We're spending three nights camping with them then we start heading north again with a one night stopover in Nuremberg en route to Dollendorf, and Bren and Daisy at Sliders where we'll be for a couple nights. And then its back home but we'll not dwell on that right now ;-).
Back to today. Since it was mostly a day in the car, there's not a huge amount to say about the drive other than avoiding the toll roads was maybe not the best idea but even including the couple of longer delays we got stuck in, we still made it to Stuttgart in the original predicted time on our somewhat aggressive sat nav. It apparently has no true concept of speed restrictions. Having said that, it's still not as aggressive as our previous European nav app which actually required you to break the speed limit at every conceivable opportunity and skip every red light you got to, oh and that you take the direct route over rather than round roundabouts.
We did drive past some pretty cool places; the European space centre and Hockenheimring being two notables. Unfortunately I'm too excitable driving past places like that to think to take a photo until after we've passed it, and then miss half the 'passing' bit rummaging to find a camera. Note to self, must try harder.
Given we were on the road for 7 hours plus today you'd have thought we'd have seen some talent in metal as we travelled but to be honest, it was a bit thin on the ground. We did sit behind this Maserati for a bit, and were yoyo-ing around a matt black DB9.


Tomorrow will make up for the lack of talent today since we're filling our day in Stuttgart with the Porsche and Mercedes museums. Well, it'd be rude not to...
We arrived at the Park Inn Radisson, Stuttgart about 345pm and decanted our baggage to the room before heading out to find an ice cream (50% successful...strawberry cornettos had gone on strike) and a beer.


We ate in the hotel restaurant and can safely say, as a complete package this hotel is great and I'd strongly recommend it, especially if you can get it on an advanced booking rate like we did. Earlier, when we were ice cream hunting we spotted a brewery with a pub attached so that's where we headed after tea. Now we're back at the hotel sucking up wifi whilst we have it and looking forward to crashing for the night, knowing that there's no 430am alarm!

bong anyone?

more beer, this from the local brewery, nothing less than 11%


19-06-2012, 07:19 PM
1st June
Porsche museum heaven. Letting the pictures do the talking. Personal highlights, 1970s Carrera RS, 917s of Le mans, GT1 96 and 98, the Group Bs, and the ever beautiful 997 911 GT3 RS. I don't know why I love that car so much but I do, completely and utterly.

This one was in the car park!




This one was on the ceiling!





The Mercedes museum is more imposing than Porsche; much more brash and overstated, a bit like their cars then. Don't get me wrong, I like Mercedes but only some of them rather than almost all like I do Porsches. It's an impressive place with a space capsule lift to take you to the top of the building for the descent which directs the tour of the museum. From trucks to aeroplane engines, unimogs to coaches, Eco cars to F1 and DTM mayhem, there is everything you can imagine....apart from an SLS (there's one in the car showroom; we had to go and find it because we'd have felt cheated visiting Mercedes and not seeing one). Anyway, there's no point talking about things when pictures are the only way to describe a place so this is Mercedes.







19-06-2012, 07:22 PM
2nd June
Back on the road today travelling across Germany via Munich, through Austria and into Slovenia. Mostly blasting along autobahns means that there isn't a massive amount to say, apart from that the 1.6 TDI Golf is capable of maintaining a fuel efficiency of 45mpg at consistent speeds of 100mph+! We spent a bit if time tailing a GT2 but to be fair, that was only because he was held up with an s-max ahead.
We managed to get the vignettes we needed for Austria and Slovenia when we stopped for lunch; our motorway permits cost us Ä23 for a weeks permitted motorway driving. In Austria it got hard to kept rack of how many km in tunnels we did but there were more than a few running between 5 and 7km each and adding an extra Ä16.50 in tunnel tolls on top of the vignettes. None of that mattered at all when the scenery flying past the window looks like something out of a fairy tale (pics don't do it credit - all a bit dark).



We made good time to Slovenia as Jon, the driving machine powered us along. It wasn't hard to find Jay & Ju who had picked a good spot at the top of the campsite out of the line of any traffic moving around the site. After a quick brew Jon and I pitched the tent and unloaded (we're maintaining our record of never taking longer than 30 mins to pitch tent and moving into it). And that was that. Beer steadily flowed and conversation catching up on months of living such completely different lifestyles. This is going to be a very good three days :lol:


19-06-2012, 07:28 PM
3rd June
We're just back from exploring round Lake Bled. Before we all headed out, for those that had water gear went for a morning dip. Evidently it was a bit on the chilly side and Jay and Jon discovered their feminine side a little more than they'd have ideally liked. I was on filming and photo duty, whilst Jon took some video from in the lake with his GoPro.



After warming up with showers, and all dried and changed we set off to explore the castle and the medieval event they were holding. To be honest, there were some great views across the lake but the castle itself didn't hold a lot of promise so we left it behind after looking to see what the whole medieval bit was about. There were some people in costume and an axe throwing bloke who couldn't hit his target for toffee (did they have toffee in medieval times?) who was also standing perilously close to the 'have a go archery' stall where more arrows were landing in the tent behind the targets rather than the targets themselves.
We drove into Bled to find somewhere for some lunch. It's not the biggest centre you've ever seen (but we might not have gone to the proper town centre) but we found a crepe/hamburger/salad bar which was serving food so that's where we ended up. Honestly, the portions that came out of it wouldn't have looked out of place on Man vs. Food. The crepes (which included a nutella filling) were the size of a carvers dinner plate and served four layers thick and the hamburgers and buns were as round as your head!
Walking off lunch we headed up to the all-weather sled run that runs down the mountain just above Bled. The boys went first, and Ju and I followed not to let the girls down. It was awesome but I still don't like chairlifts!


We've just got back to the campsite for a bit of relaxing with the breeze rustling through the trees and the gentle sounds of a snoring Charlie (Jay and Ju's dog) providing the soundtrack for the afternoon.

19-06-2012, 07:30 PM
4th June
The consensus from last night was to go over the Vrsic pass today. Jon and I were woken by the town church bells at 7am so had a long leisurely get up before everyone was ready to head off. Charlie took up residence in the footwell of the passenger seat and we all piled in. Given that Jay and Ju had spotted another pass not so far off was closed on their way to Lake Bled, we decided it was best to check at reception that the one we wanted to take was open. Green light given, so off we went. The pass itself was some 50 turns in total, up over the top and down the other side. On the 'up' side - on the way out - each hairpin was cobbled with Tarmac in between. Wooden crash barriers and wonky concrete pillars providing the only crash protection. The 'down' side was another affair entirely and was a fully tarmac'd road with full crash barriers running almost the whole length of the road. Apparently the pass had been built by 300 Russian prisoners of war following the second world war. It climbs over 1000m from a starting altitude of 600m, climbing to 1600m in 25 hairpin turns.




We stopped for a coffee at Trenta camping, in the valley the other side of the pass although whether you could call it coffee was another matter. It was almost Greek strength, but double the size and without the sugar.
After returning back over the pass we called in at an almost deserted shopping village for some lunch. After calling in two bars, we finally found a place to eat as frilly and chintzy as to have absorbed all of the outcasts from the Ikea chuck out that chintz campaign in one go!
Since rain had now pretty much set in and Jon feeling somewhat less than good we decided the next things on the agenda was back to the campsite to get warm, keep dry and most of all get an afternoon kip.
That evening, we visited the campsite restaurant and, greeted by the same warm reception as most places we've been here, had a very enjoyable evening meal.

Jon's looked the best of everyone's

19-06-2012, 07:34 PM
5th June
Today, it's moving day. Jay and Ju continue their travels, heading next towards Luibljiana, and Jon and I set off for a night in Nuremberg. To be honest, there's not much to say. It felt a bit sad saying goodbye to Jay and Ju again but we'll find a way to get out to them all the time they're on the road.
We headed straight through to Nuremburg, which was a gratefully smooth trip with no queues or delays along the way. We checked into the hotel and crashed out asleep for the next couple of hours. We popped round the corner to get some tea but neither of us feeling on top form meant anything quick and easy, so we ended up in a fast fish food place. It served fish and chips, or battered fish in various bread options, as well as a selection of fresh fish and prawn sandwiches.

Fountain in Nuremburg

But it's not all what you'd expect!

6th June
Apologies in advance for there being no more photos - big fail on my part. Although, we did see this as we approached the 'Ring.


This was the day we finally headed up to the Ďring. We left Nuremburg about 9am and arrived at the Nurburgring in time for a slightly late lunch. We grabbed a Subway and mooched the almost deserted info center. There was a bike track day on the F1 track and a far more exotic track day on the Nordeschleife. We popped down to Brunchen to watch from the car as it started raining, but about ten minutes later there was a red flag so we skipped over to Brenís. A dose of Daisy, catching up with Bren for a bit and some internet it was time to head out for some tea. Over to the Lindenhof then, for our now traditional turkey salad for me, and grillhax for Jon. Returning back after food the Sliders lounge was a bit fuller, and with a room full of bikers and the TT on the tv (I think it was only me and Daisy who havenít been on a bike), we were all pretty much set for the evening.

7th June
And this is where things came to an untimely end and circumstances meant the only sensible thing to do was return home a day early. It was a good run back to the tunnel, and on up to Swindon. It was a brilliant trip and I donít think Iíd be alone in saying that Iíd recommend both Porsche and Mercedes in Stuttgart, and a trip to Lake Bled. If you wanted to complete the Porsche experience, you could have called in at the Gmund Porsche factory too Ė we had originally planned to call in here on the way back up to Nuremburg but other things took over.

19-06-2012, 08:08 PM
here's a few more pics.

Link to my album of pork / Merc pictures (https://picasaweb.google.com/JJTurner/PorscheMercedesMuseum?authuser=0&feat=directlink)

19-06-2012, 08:52 PM
Looks like it was a fantastic week.
Thanks for reporting, enjoyed it. :thumb:

PS. I'm tired of people I know here calling it the Nuremburgring, despite my constant correction...
nice to see someone actually did go to Nuremburg. :happy:

19-06-2012, 10:21 PM
looks really good fun

good read enjoyed it a lot :thumb:

20-06-2012, 08:19 AM
really enjoyed that and seems a great trip, must go to see them car museums at some point

20-06-2012, 11:19 AM
That's some trip! How many miles did you cover in total?

Under 30 minutes for every occasion you set up camp is good going.

Shame you had to cut the trip short, but you certainly crammed a lot into a week.

Thanks for the report :thumb:

20-06-2012, 11:49 AM
Great trip, enjoyed reading that :thumb:

20-06-2012, 03:17 PM
That's some trip! How many miles did you cover in total?

2,300miles round trip. Jon is a driving demon - he did the whole lot (I did keep volunteering!) :shock:

20-06-2012, 03:30 PM
I love a good road trip, and that looked like a good one :thumb:

20-06-2012, 06:06 PM
Great report, thanks for sharing.