I know some people like reading these blog things, so I have cross posted from NYLOC, some of the pictures may be different:
Day 0 To Hull
Our tour this year was somewhat depleted in numbers, with TonyP and Yasmar both ‘otherwise engaged’, but Ian and Alison were rejoining the regulars with their S1 Elise that they have owned from new. With advance apologies for a blog that was not written as we went along, and not nearly as verbose as Yasmars edition last year.
So on a storm threatening day, Adam and I set off in our cars towards Hull, only to find Ishy & Jon’s LF1 appear behind on the M62 somewhere around Goole. Overnight the ferry rocked a bit, but copious beers helped us sleep through it, and the tannoy woke us as usual at some God awful hour to prepare for disembarkation.
Day 1 Thursday To Cochem, Germany
A Rotterdam morning dawned gloomy, and an uneventful and boring motorway route was chosen towards circuit of Zolder in Belgium where Ian/Alison were to meet us, after their overnight ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam. The storm caught up with us near Antwerp, and again at Zolder, testing Lotus waterproofing which we all know can be lacking at times. Eventually the group was complete, and the tour began with its 4 cars: S1 Elise, S2 Elise, S2 Exige, LF1 Exige.
Past Nurburgring, only stopping at the filling station and model shop, noting the ubiquitous disguised Mercedes and big Alfa Guilia saloon. It seems sacrilege that we didnt call in at the circuit but we have been numerous times, continuing instead directly into the Moselle valley and a favourite overnight stop at Cochem.
Our hotel had an annexe to where we were sent, but I somehow missed “bookers privilege” and my room was on the second floor. Note to self: Get first in queue for best room in future. http://www.gute-quelle-cochem.de/ A wander into the town included Pizza, we ignored the local wine festival (must try harder next time) and finished off at the Irish Bar.
Day 2 Friday To Weissenburg in Bayern, Germany
Up hill away from the Moselle, and the first of the tour twisties were enjoyed, but alas they are soon over. When you are heading to the Alps, there are unfortunately bound to be days when you have to do the miles, so we passed Frankfurt on the motorway, with some impressive views of the undercarriages of planes coming into the airport right next to the autobahn. Roofs came off for the first time at a layby amid quite a few roadworks, but the Germans just seem to get on with it, and we were hardly held up.
Off the motorway, and time for the first coffee and cake stop of the tour. Cross country, into Weissenburg our hotel was right in the centre of town, which lead to a circuitous route to the car park around the back of the hotel. With a relatively trendy (for Germany) Burger and Thai restaurant nearby, all agreed that this was a very good stopping off point en route to the Alps. http://www.hotel-restaurant-goldene-rose.de/ Spotting that Suzi Quattro had signed the hotel visitor book recently, got a few of us oldies hot under the collar.
Day 3 Saturday To Hallstatt, Austria
Driving quite quick cross country, to the north and east of Munich, it is amazing that 70-80 on ordinary single carriageway roads seems to be the norm for miles after miles . The town of Tittimoning and village of Fu*king caused some mirth as we passed, subsequently crossing the border near the KTM factory, we saw no migrants. Germany is such a vast country that it really could swallow any thousands of immigrants.
A phone call in the afternoon from Pierre, (thanks for passing on my number, Pesky) our Evora owner living in Budapest, advised us that he was setting off at 4am to join us for a little Sunday drive. Last year he made the trip to Monaco, this year was it was a mere 500km in each direction.
Hallstatt, a world heritage site, famous for its Celtic archaeology, and the oldest salt mines in the world, is situated in the Austrian lake district. The low cloud indicated that the lakes were about to get yet another filling with more rain as we parked up ready to walk in past the tourist tat shops; since no visitor cars are allowed into the tiny village. As the beers were delivered, down came the rain. http://gasthof-simony.at/ The town was full of eastern Asians, and I couldn’t help but notice that in the evening there was no conversation between our fellow Gasthof guests, but all were staring intently into their mobile phones. Signs of the times.
Note: The pictures will get better as we head further into the Alps