Ok are you going to sing with me? Janice Joplin style - Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz. My friends all drive porsches, I must make amends. Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends. So oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz.
So where is Suzy today? On the german autobahns. Long straight roads, two or three lane motorways. All of them with roadworks. Miles and miles of them where the roads are being widened from two lanes to three or from three to four lanes. Trees as far as the eye can see. They are more boring than French motorways. The only break we had from them was to stop at a Rasthaus. First task find out how to get in. Us and other motorhomes were having problems finding the way in. When we did get in we found a rasthaus which had had the feng shui treatment. In Britain the motorway services are always the same. They offer the usual franchise food . You can have Kentucky Fried Chicken, M & S or Costa Coffee. If you dont like those you can have a McDonalds. But here in
Germany the rasthauses are all different offering regional food. A fantastic choice although it can be a bit pricey. You pay for what you get . This particular rasthaus was nothing like we had seen before. A bar serving food cooked in a wok whilst you waited. A good selection of dishes which included strange looking German sausages and stews and goulash. I chose goulash with noodles. Orange juice and a cake. Glenn chose chicken. Main meal 10 out of 10 , cake a bit on the dry side. The building was very odd with bamboo and white sails around the light to mute it. Trees and exotic flowers. It certainly made you feel good. Or was that just my imagination as I watched the water gently lap by. When we came home along the M1 and stopped at Toddington Services we realised just how good the food here was and how nice the ambience.
We had planned to stop at a campsite in Stuttgart. Not on the usual tourist trails but there was a campsite promoted by our own Caravan Club in the suburbs near to the Mercedes Benz museum. In fact it advertised it was just a
short walk across the car park. Now where have we heard about short walks before. Driving in Stuttgart even with Sally Sat Nav was a nightmare. The roads are like a bag of spaghetti thrown all over the place and left where they dropped. There seemed no structure or sense to them at all and we felt we were taking our lives into our own hands as we drove into the city. We should have realised that this was not the campsite for us when we drove onto the car park. The wrong one. This one was obviously not the campsite and turned out to be the car park for the football matches. Stuttgart were playing today and it was rapidly filling up with cars filled with young men in leiderhosen and young ladies wearing traditional German costumes. With Stuttgart scarves around their necks and drinking cans they were a noisy bunch. We checked where we were and were directed to the campsite next door. Well out of the car park, along a long road and next to a large fairground wheel. We still hadnt got the clue that this might not be the campsite for us. Upon arriving at
the right gate we booked in . An ACSI site 18 euros a night and we were asked if we wanted bread next morning. When I thought about it which did take a while the receptionist abruptly shouted "It is just a question!!!!" I decided not to bother with the bread. Parked up we had electricity and were jam crammed packed next to our neighbours. Within minutes we were accosted by a very pleasant Australian who was driving a German plated van. He told us he had one motorhome in Oz and kept this one in Germany for his European tours. He had been to the museum and gave us directions. He also said we would not get a decent nights sleep as the fair was in town.
So what to do? Do we put in earplugs or make a beeline for the museum. Get it over and done with, come back and move on. The walk took a lot longer than just going across the car park. In fact down one road , along another which sadly was not the right one. Backtrack a bit and end up in a football stadium, all the time the crowds are
rolling up for the football match. EVentually we did find the museum a silver round structure. Very modern and hard looking. Not soft like the Allianz stadium. This building is functional and makes a statement.
So let me take you on a tour. It cost us 8 euros to go in as we were allowed pensioners rates . Old age has its advantages sometimes.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum is the only museum in the world that can document in a single continuous timeline over 125 years of auto industry history from its very beginnings to the present day. On nine levels and covering a floor space of 16,500 square metres, the museum presents 160 vehicles and over 1,500 exhibits.
During a two-hour tour of the exhibition, visitors experience a unique journey through automotive history. Transported by lift to the uppermost level of the museum, the visitor arrives back in the year 1886, where two museum tours gradually spiral their way down through the extensive collection and back to the museum exit. It is unlike anything we have seen before . We climbed into the lift which whisked us to the topmost floor. Up the helix structure until we
exited to the sound of horses hooves. The journey starts - the horse, the horse and cart and the carriage. It is the time before the car. The top floor has exhibits from the earliest years of the partnership that brought us the Mercedes Benz brand. Along the wall a time line with events from the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century. We saw boats belonging to Bismark, stationary engines and airplane engines. The next floor down was devoted to the birth of the brand. Along the wall the time line now was well into the 20th century with pictures of the First World War, the rebirth of Germany after the war., the suffragettes and about life in the 20's. The cars were stunning as we snapped them and looked in awe at the quality. On each level were other galleries some with the Vehicles of the Helpers , Mercedes Benz fire engines, ambulances, police vehicles., On the next floor the gallery full of buses and linked to travel . For me the most interesting a bus from South America and an omnibus. As we came down floor by floor the time line increased
from the 20's to the 30's and the outbreak of World War Two and the rise of Nazism. The cars became bigger. diesel engined and airships. We witnessed the birth of the sports car. And so to the 50's , Elvis Presley, the birth of Rock and Roll and the birth of the Gullwing Mercedes. Cars in silver and red. How I would have loved one of these on the drive. Down another floor to the swinging 60's, the Beatles, events from around the world showcased around the helix. The most interesting for Glenn were the fast racing cars. On the final floor there were racing trucks, racing cars from Formula 1, protective clothes worn by Hamilton and by Steve Parrish who drove the big racing trucks .
Was it worth the money? Yes it was. The building is iconic. The cars are set out brilliantly some hanging as if in space held up at impossible angles. Was it better than the Cite of the Automobile in Mulhouse? Well they were different . There were probably more Bugatti cars in Mulhouse and more cars in general. Here probably less cars but set out in an innovative way that even
would delight both a car lover and the non car enthusiast . There was enough history on the walls to make the entrance fee worth it.
Having visited we went back to the campsite and made the decision to pay up and leave. The receptionist said that we had not stayed long enough to pay her but I felt that I needed to pay something . In the end I couldnt leave without paying so offered her the price of car parking for the museum which came out at 5 euros.
So to end the holiday , well almost end it , we have now managed to squeeze in a visit to see some iconic cars.
So where did Suzy spend the night ? Not in the busy campsite. We hit the road and travelled a few more miles navigating the spaghetti junctions that made up Stuttgart. We drove to Karlsruhe, stopped at the local Aldi to stock up on wine and bacon. We have not eaten bacon for weeks. It was going to be a treat once we parked up to fry bacon and smell it sizzling in the pan. We spent the night at Camping
Azur, close to the tramlines but quiet . It cost 18 euros for the night. A bit pricey for what was there but very welcome after Stuttgart. Paid up, parked up, showered, fell into conversation with a welsh couple from Haverfordwest. She hailed from Somerset and was learning Welsh. They were off to Austria but if the weather was poor they would change direction and head for Italy. After sharing our experiences it was off for the bacon. Thinner than our streaky bacon. A little like prosutto hame from Italy. It was the best thing I had tasted for some time.
Suzy though is rather poorly. Her diagnostic light came on today and when we checked the book it seems that there is a problem with the fuel injection. She is still running fine, no loss of performance and still bringing in 27.1 mpg. So there may not be a real problem just a glitch with the sensors.
After a good nights sleep tomorrow will be back on the road heading for Bruges. We have been before but it is on the way home and well worth another visit . The countdown has started to going home.
Tot: 1.231s; Tpl: 0.09s; cc: 17; qc: 37; dbt: 0.0369s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb