So after the bike ride i had a couple of days rest and then headed off on another adventure.
This time a road trip to Germany, aiming to visit the famous Nurburgring race track and Oktoberfest in Munich.
And that's what we did. My long time housemate Adam had been allowed a week of boys time holiday by his missus, so i got him insured on the Golf and we set off towards the south coast.
Monday morning weather was terrible and we were certain to miss the ferry, but fortunately they let us on the next one anyway. We didn't realise that this bad weather was the start of a week of flooding in the UK, which we missed completely, haha!
On the ferry we changed plans and decided to stop in Bruges in Belgium for the evening. There we found a nice hostel, and settled in for a night of ridiculous Belgian beers, the 12% Delirium amongst too many others.
So Tuesday was a slow start, with a touristy walk around the centre of Bruges. It's a quaint old town with windmills, canals, and tiny cobbled streets and old architecture, but it just felt too toursity, like no locals really lived there. Hundreds of coachs and tour groups wielding cameras didn't help this image.
Next was a four hour drive into Germany, arriving at Nurburg in time to get the tent up in the deserted campsite before dark.
THE NURBURGRING - (big famous 21km test track and GP circuit, the Top Gear tv show goes there a lot)
This place was just empty, i mean it can cope with a couple of hundred thousand people for grand prixs etc, but the place was like a ghost town, everything was closed.
The next day however, we were going to drive around the race track - yay! but it rained all morning - boo! It turned out that Porsche had rented the track until 5pm though so we took a tour in the afternoon whilst the track dried out nicely.
On the tour we met a nice American guy (german dad) named Bryce who had worked on BMW's and VW's all his life and knew far more about cars than us. We all annoyed the Germans by having the guide repeat everything in English.
5pm rolled around, and the track opened for "tourist laps". And wow.
The car park at the entrance filled with high performance cars, people wearing race helmets, and a few other actual tourists more like us.
Normally i feel like my Golf GTI is a quick car but not today, as various porsches, bmws, and corvettes flew past.
Nevermind, we still went pretty fast, drove round a flipping Grand Prix circuit!!! as well as the Nordschlieffe test track, and the main thing was not to crash, as insurance is invalid on the track, and you would have to pay for damage to the crash barriers.
In the evening we went go karting to get crazy driving out of our systems.
Thursday morning we got up early to drive 300 miles to Munich. The southern autobahns were a different ball game to the motorways previously though. Crazy driving was not finished, (by other people).
You hear that there is no speed limit on the autobahn, and its true - the inside lane is for trucks, the middle lane you do 90mph and the outside lane is big mercedes, audis and bmws doing 150mph no word of a lie. Scary!
Anyway, arriving at the Munich Obermenzing campsite at 5pm, we pitched the tent and headed straight into town.
(Oktoberfest is the world's biggest fair and beer drinking event)
When we got there it was raining cats and dogs, and we got soaked. All the beer halls were full and had barred their doors. We were miserable.
But then it stopped raining, and the waitresses started drying off the outside benches. We quickly sat down under a patio heater and the evening just got better and better.
You signal a number of beers to the waitress and it arrives in litres, 6% strength. There is no menu, this beer festival is not about tasting different beers, its about drinking and making merry.
First we chatted to a couple of local german lads about football, and reassured them that they spoke good conversational english. After their 7th beer they made an early exit since they had school the next day - they were 16!!
Their seats were taken by a group of older german hausfraus, who spoke very little english, but we had a hilarious time using our few words or german and them their few words of english.
When they discovered i lived in Nottingham and taught archery they thought it was brilliant called me Robin Hood all night. It was a fun night
Next day, we (Adam) was a bit worse for wear, and skipped the 9am drinking to walk around Munich and see the sights. In contrast it was a scorching sunny day, and when we returned to Oktoberfest in the afternoon the place was so packed you could hardly move. So we bought souvenirs and called it quits.
Saturday, going home day. 800 miles of driving and a ferry. We left early to allow several hours leeway for traffic, having seen some 5 mile long tailbacks on the way south. But the roads were empty and we arrived in northen France 5 hours early.
So we took a detour to Lille, which is beautiful and historic like Bruges, but bigger and full of people who actually live there rather than tourists. Very nice city, including a 17th century fortified citadel.