Monday, May 01, 2006

Rothenburg and the Ring

Started Saturday with a drive from Reutte up to Rothenburg. I spent most of the trip following the Romantic Road but decided to take a few highways too. The drive was alright, but then again, it proably would have been more interesting if I would have stopped more times to take in some of the sights. I went straight through to Rothenburg though. It worked out well because I arrived with enough time to do a town walk, see a couple of the sights, and eat dinner before the 8pm Nightwatchman's tour. I'd really recommend the Nightwatchman's tour if you visit Rothenburg. It was very entertaining and had some interesting facts as well. There were a few shops open afterwards but not much so I ended up back at my room after just a bit of window shopping.
My room was a small single above a grocery called Pension Elke. It was a comfortable room for a single night, it came with breakfast and it was definitely the right price.
Sunday morning, after a small breakfast I checked out and took all my bags to my car so I wouldn't have to carry them around. On my way to the Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum I took the long way along the wall to get a nice view of the town as a whole. There were some great exhibits and the collection was very extensive. Unfortunately they wouldn't allow pictures in any of the museums. They even didn't want people to take pictures in the Kathe Wohlfahrt store, go figure.
I took a quick tour of St. Jakob's church. I'm not sure but the organ looked new which kind of surprised me. Fortunately I could get pictures in the church, even though not many of the outside since they were undergoing a renovation.
After lunch I got on the road heading to Bonn, where I'm staying for a couple nights so I can take a few laps at the Nurburgring, watch some nice cars go fast, and scout out where I need to be for the Grand Prix. The drive there was pretty uneventful except that there were some nice open stretches of autobahn that I could really open up the car. I took it over 4k rpm once just for kicks. I can't wait till after break-in. Cruising at 100-120mph is pretty awesome though. The car feels fantastic.
I got to the ring early enough that I could take a lap but as soon as I bought a ticket they closed the track for an accident. It did give me a chance to look at the cars around. There was a Porsche GT3 RS, Ferrari 360 Modena, about 4 Caterhams, what looked like a team spec Subaru WRX STI. Fortunately about 15min later it re-opened so I headed out for my first lap on the ring. Anyone who says any of the video games are even close to the real thing is crazy. The blind corners and the change in elevation were nothing like any game or video i've seen. It's just so different in person. I didn't drive near the limit really and left the DSC on even though it didn't ever activate. I got passed by a few cars, including an M3 that was flying, and passed one myself. I went pretty fast but definitely took it easy as I have no desire to crash a brand new car. It sprinkled rain once or twice during my lap but the road never really got wet.
Not 20min after my lap finished though and it started to rain and then snow!! SNOW, at the end of April!! Between the time I arrived and the time I left the temperature had dropped about 10-12 degrees F and was at 35 degrees when I drove off according to the car. Before I got to Bonn the temperature was back up to 45 degrees. Hopefully the weather is better tomorrow so I can get a few more laps in and stop by a couple of the corners to take some pictures. Too bad no one's around to get a picture of me driving. I hope to get ahold of my cousin who lives in Hamburg which may require a trip up there. It'll be a 5hr drive though, which will be my longest yet. I have a little over 800 miles on the car though so that would get her past break in. Guess we'll have to see what happens.

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