Monday, May 6, 2013

Our German Adventure, Day Five

Yesterday was such an adventure! Two very different highlights...

We stayed in a neat hotel right on the town square in Adenau. After breakfast we headed a few miles down the road to the Nurburgring. Hello, Disneyland for grown men! The place was amazing and nothing like I expected. I had envisioned: 1) a short, maybe 2-mile track enclosed in a stadium-like setting, 2) 2 or 3 cars being allowed to go on at a time, 3) watching Ben from the safety of the sidelines (as previously mentioned, we had a slight misunderstanding on that one. :) Imagine my surprise - and let's be honest, horror - when I discovered that the track was TWENTY KILOMETERS and that it would be chock full of ridiculously fast race cars. As I waited for Ben to buy his ticket (about 20 euro to go around the track), I thought to myself that perhaps I should have a better idea of what we were about to do. Seeing as how I was supposed to be the wingman and all. Big mistake. "Above all else, KNOW THE TRACK LIKE THE BACK OF YOUR HAND," said the oh-so-helpful blogger. "Practice it, memorize it, practice it some more. Oh and here, make sure you put this phone number for life-threatening emergencies on speed dial because you WILL crash and most likely die. Have fun!"

I kept this information to myself so as to not further freak out the driver of my car. I prayed, tried to breathe, went to pee sixteen times, and cursed Top Gear for putting this ridiculous notion in my husband's head. 

We drove down to the starting gate and saw that the entrance was temporarily closed. Usually, this means an accident has occurred. Sure enough, someone had wrecked and, as a gentleman explained in halting English, a helicopter had just come to the rescue because of the "damage to the bodies." Awesome. Not so much boosting my confidence. We walked around and enjoyed the view for about half an hour - Astons, Porsches, Ferraris, Lambos - before we heard the announcement - "Ladies and gentlemen, the track is now open." We beelined for the car and queued up - see how European I am? - and then, boom! We were on the track. No warm up, no "here get used to this for just a minute before you hurtle off into certain death." Just, FAST. For the next 12 minutes (which felt simultaneously like an hour and like five seconds), Ben drove his precious new Fraulein like a freakin' pro. And even though I was honestly terrified, it was also indescribably fun. I was so impressed with Ben's driving. He was smart, and cautious, knew how to attack each turn just the right way, and got us up to some pretty crazy speeds. Definitely an experience of a lifetime.

We left the Ring (which is a whole town in its own right), and drove down to Heidelberg for what we thought would be a quick tour of the castle. Unfortunately, we arrived just as it was closing for the day. Fortunately, we still got to wander through its courtyards and extensive grounds, and it was amazing! It was a fairy-tale brought to life and offered a breathtaking view of the city. We decided to stay in Heidelberg for dinner and got to enjoy the quintessential bustling European street cafe and an incredible meal (lamb is the new everything). We will certainly make Heidelberg a priority on our next visit. 

Today, we are setting out for a couple of hours in Bamberg (where Ben's parents used to live), and then driving south again to Salzburg, Austria for the final day of our vacation. Getting excited to get home to my babies, but I'm going to enjoy every last minute of this trip.