The last leg of this journey was first to the city of Munich to visit the BMW Welt and plant. Unlike the Porsche factory and museum, BMW was larger and the facilities greatly crowded so it was not as intimate a feeling while doing the tour. The cars were exquisite, however, and seeing the new Rolls Royce Black Badge and the history of the 3 series, one of my favorite cars.
In Munich is the wonderful Rocco Forte The Charles Hotel and a marvelous restaurant, the Dallmayr. As they describe the restaurant on their website, “On the first floor of the traditional delicatessen, you can dine in the finest possible style thanks to Michelin-starred chef Diethard Urbansky and the attentive care of head waitress Barbara Englbrecht.” They serve only 40 at a time and the tasting menu was beyond melt in your mouth. My favorite was the appetizer that was duck liver with shredded filet of beef and rum pot. If you go to Munich, stay at the Charles and walk to the main square where there is constant activity and around the corner, you’ll find The Dallmayr. It’s a 20-minute walk but it is well worth it – both to walk off calories that you are going to consume and also to get the feel of the cross section of cultures and languages that now compose Munich.
Our last full day was spent once again involving cars – on the Autobahn and on the racetrack at Nurburgring. From the Autobahn, we got a lasting impression of not only how fast the cars go but also of how polite and carefully the drivers are even if they are going 180 miles an hour. They use turn indicators and only use the left lane for passing. A complete difference from the way most Americans drive on highways.
After the four-plus hour drive from Munich to Nurburgring, we reached our destination: Ring Taxi at the Nordschleife. This was where we were to ride as co-pilots with a professional race driver around one of the most winding tracks in the world. Almost 13 miles of curves and different elevations where professional drivers test cars as well as have races. We rode in two cars – a BMW M3 and a Porsche 911 GT3 RS which is a full on race car. It was amazing to see what a pro could do with these cars – whipping around corners and going flat out with a sudden downshift to make a corner or to slip by a slower driver with only a few inches to spare. Truly one of the most thrilling moments of my life, and it was fun to have the driver ask if he was going too fast and for me to be able to say, “Wheee,” and egg him on.
Here is how the website describes the Nordschleife:
“Since its construction (1925 – 1927), the Nordschleife has enjoyed a reputation as a terrifying and merciless route through the Eifel forests. An English journalist who visited the Nordschleife during the opening race on 18 June 1927 even concluded: ‘that it seemed as if a reeling, drunken giant had been sent out to determine the route.’ The Formula 1 pilot Sir John Young Jackie Stewart – after all a three-time world champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973 – was so impressed by the circuit that he gave it the name which it will probably never lose: Green Hell (Grüne Hölle).”
After that excitement, we spent the last night in Wiesbaden at the Hotel Nassauer Hof with a lovely few of an old building which is now a casino and concert hall. It is a small charming town and is only 15 minutes away from Frankfurt airport and is a much nicer place to stay than in Frankfurt proper.
Germany and Austria are definitely worth putting on your travel list – and if you like speed, you must do the Nordschleife in either a BMW or a Porsche – or both!
If you want to hear me jabber and squeal and have 10 minutes to spare, here is the site: