Thursday, 26 September 2013

MSA Euroclassic.....the last two days.

The weather was still wet and gloomy when we headed out of Stuttgart on the Thursday morning in the direction of Ulm. It was still very wet and miserable when we arrived and parked the cars in front of the church. We had to make sure we had all departed promptly by 11 am as there was to be a church concert later that morning so we had another speedy coffee stop and sped off. 

Our destination was Sigmaringen Castle in southern Germany not many miles from the Swiss border. The castle sits on a high rock above the town with the River Danube rushing beneath its walls. Here we had yet another coffee but with locally made cheesecake of your choice...yum! As we enjoyed our repast we were joined by the owner of the castle Prince Karl Friedrich Hohenzollern.
He told us briefly a bit about the history of the castle and how it had been rebuilt in 1893 after a fire destroyed part of it. We split into two groups and had a lovely guided tour which lasted for over an hour.

I spotted this lovely little dog outside the castle and had to take a picture! We soon got underway again driving through some lovely scenery despite the dodgy weather. Here is a flavour of what we saw.


All these photos were taken through the window of a speeding car so please excuse the quality! The last checkpoint was at Titisee, a lake and associated tourist shops, and due to the length of the castle tour things were running a bit late so, yet again we had the briefest of stops.

If the weather had been sunny the long drive to Strasbourg would have been lovely I'm sure, but the cloud came down over the high roads and we could see very little of it which was a shame. It also got darker and darker, our arrival at the hotel would be late, would we make the Rhine ferry crossing in time? We decided to not bother with the ferry especially as we went wrong following the altered directions at some road works - and we weren't the only ones to go wrong either! So we plugged the hotel address in the sat nav. and with Nicholas riding shotgun we sped up the motorway through the pouring rain and gathering gloom with our friends following behind and an elderly couple in their Morgan behind them! Quite a convoy! We had a bit of a worrying moment when we hit more road works on the motorway which the sat nav. didn't know about! But after a quick U-turn we all got back on course. We eventually arrived at the Sofitel in the centre of Strasbourg well after dark exhausted!
I'm sorry to say but the last day of the trip was a bit disappointing. The first checkpoint was at a race track which we didn't go around, and then we went to the Smart car factory. Graham and \Nicholas went on the tour but I stayed behind as by that point I had the most vile headache, a result I think of the previous day! The event concluded at the Villeroy and Boch factory at Mettlach before travelling to Luxembourg and the last hotel stop.

We had travelled over 1300 miles in 7 days, not counting the journey to Dover from home. Would I do it again? Well I would love to drive around Europe but not on the German motorways! I would take more time to visit places that we just whizzed by. I loved the local food we managed to find and it would have been nice to have the time to do some shopping and bring some of the local delicacies back home. Would I go on another Euroclassic? NO! this was my fourth trip - previously I've been to Budapest and Vienna - and Graham's 12th so we know what to expect. But this time there was too much driving on motorways and not enough time to enjoy the venues we visited. It was all too much of a blur! After all it was supposed to be a holiday!

A.O.B........ I am in Skipton at the new show Yarndale this weekend with Helen of My Fine Weaving yarn fame. Hopefully there will be lots to report next time!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

MSA Euroclassic.......Wiesbaden and beyond.

Our first overnight stop in Germany was the lovely spa town of Wiesbaden and the cars were allowed to be parked up for the night outside the casino in the centre of town.

Our hotel was behind the trees in the centre of this picture and the fountain looked spectacular at night when it was illuminated. Next morning was a bit wet and miserable as we headed towards Heidelberg. I was looking forward to this stop as Graham and Nicholas had been there on a previous trip and both had said what a lovely town it was. However the nature of this Euroclassic meant that we had only a short time for a comfort break and a coffee before we had to press on to our next checkpoint which was a lunch stop. Nicholas did get chance to have a quick wander about the small square where we were parked as he doesn't drink coffee. These are some of his photos.
All too soon we had to move on but one day I would love to go back and have a more leisurely look about. Lunch was at the Schloss Langenburg - no photos as it was very wet - and then our last checkpoint at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart which was to be our stopover for the next two nights. The Porsche Museum is quite new and was very bright and stylish. Yet again time was not on our side and we only had about an hour to look around before closing at 6pm. Here is a small sample of what we saw as it really deserves a post of it's own.
We had a bit of a nightmare trying to find our hotel as Stuttgart seems to undergoing major building work and some of the roads in our route book seemed to be closed off which meant that Nicholas had to navigate with the sat nav! Next day we journeyed through the heavy traffic to Steiff makers of the famous teddy bears.
We have all been here before but since our last visit they have constructed this new museum building which includes an animated guided tour. After that we had the chance to see a couple of the workers making teddy bears.
The day ended with a visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum back in Stuttgart which has also been recently remodelled since our last visit.
I will be doing one more post for the final two days of the trip and then normal service will be resumed ...I promise!

Monday, 23 September 2013

MSA Euroclassic ......the journey continues.

Our first overnight stop in France was at a hotel in a village called Gosnay near the town of Bethune. After a lovely evening meal and a restful nights sleep we started out bright and early for the first stage to Waterloo in Belgium site of the famous battle against Napoleon.

This is the famous hill with the lion statue atop it, the significance of this escapes me at the moment!
View from the top.
After a comfort break and a very brief stop for a drink we headed off for our next checkpoint at the Chateau Jemeppe.
Here we were treated to a lovely buffet lunch and although we were one of the last cars to arrive there was still lots of lovely local food to sample.
After a day in the car it was nice to be able to stretch our legs a bit and walk around the garden for a while. The end of the days driving was in Liege which was extremely busy despite it being a Sunday and it wasn't ideal after a long day.
Overnight the weather turned cooler and wet but by the time we left Liege and were heading to our first checkpoint the sun was trying to shine. Our destination was Stavelot a small town in the Belgian Ardennes where we were due to have coffee and visit a small car museum which is in the undercroft of the former Abbey.
Soon it was time to move on and before long we were crossing the border into Germany and heading to the town of Bernkastel-Kues.
 This is a lovely town on the banks of the Mosel river and is in the heart of wine country and as a result it is very popular with tourists and is a stopping off point for the many river cruise boats that go up and down the Mosel.
This house dated back to the 1400's and is only 2m wide downstairs.
After a short welcome by the Mayor and a small glass of the local tipple we had to leave and head for the Rhine ferry crossing at Lorch so that we could arrive at our next overnight stop in Wiesbaden.
Next time I'll talk about Wiesbaden to Stuttgart calling at Heidelberg, Porsche and Steiff.
* Thanks to my son Nicholas for using some of his photos today.

Friday, 20 September 2013

MSA Euroclassic 2013

As mentioned in a previous post, and despite the trauma of poor Hubert, the three of us headed off towards the start of the MSA Euroclassic which was due to start at Dover Castle on the 7th September. This was also our son Nicholas' 28th birthday and as he is a history graduate what better place to celebrate than a castle! I have whizzed by the castle on our previous forays abroad but have never had the time to visit as we had to catch a ferry. This time a visit was part of the event and we had a lovely sunny but blustery day to take a look.

This was the steed of choice, a 1962 Jaguar Mk II which proved to be very reliable throughout the trip and was very capable of carrying three adults, luggage and spares.
Dover Castle sits high above the town of Dover on a hill that has been occupied probably since the Iron Age, but definitely since the Roman invasion of AD 43. When you look over the castle walls you can see why!
However the best part for me was inside the Great Tower which was built by Henry II in the 1180's. The rooms inside the Great Tower have recently been decorated to give the impression of what they may have looked like when the castle was new in the 12th century. There was a television programme a few years ago showing how they went about this which I found very interesting and it was nice to have the chance to see it in the flesh.
This is a view of part of the kitchens on the ground floor with the boiling hearth at the back.
Another view of the kitchen. The amazing thing was the fact that you could hear people talking and hear them chopping food, all the noises of a working kitchen while you walked around.
There were lots of spiral staircases to climb! On the next floor was a large chamber which looked stunning.
These murals were all around the upper edge of the walls. On the same floor was another room set out as if for a banquet.
On the next floor was the king's hall and chamber. Sadly we could only poke our heads around the door of the king's chamber as it was shrouded in plastic sheeting in preparation for some conservation work due to start on the ceiling. However we could enjoy the magnificent hall and as all the furniture is reproduction/replica you could sit on it too!
Here are just a couple more photos from around the site.
Unfortunately our time ran out and we had to leave Dover Castle and catch the ferry to Calais. I really enjoyed my visit and would definitely try to go back another time and see the things we missed like the wartime tunnels. You really do need a whole day to see everything there.
To be continued...........

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


March 2007 - 5th September 2013