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Published: October 25th 2013
At early light
, Chuck opened the window – Brr! – only to see a nicely trimmed hedge with turrets and a donkey with the longest hair. An interesting bray as well. Breakfast was a delight, typical German fare, and we watched a Formula 1 race. Turns out this is our first inkling of what we’ll be doing today.
We checked out and took the back roads to Terri’s treat for the day: a few trips on the nearby Sommerbobbahn. It wasn’t quite at the same level as the Rodelbahn we experienced with Josh & Caitlin and Mark & Daphne in 2011, but it was still fun! We were almost the first ones to arrive and, in a short amount of time, we were joined by at least 15 other adults. It’s a zippy 751-meter ride on a brisk morning, with or without brakes. Terri’s second run is without brakes, and she videos the full ride without falling off the sled
and then back up for another ride!
Carmen Garmin informs us we are 40-some miles from our destination, Cochem on the Mosel River. But Terri suggests a slight detour: Nurburgring.
Nah, says Chuck, but she talks
him into it. Turns out it was even better than the Sommerbobbahn run. On certain weekends, you can actually rent a race car and drive the Nordschleife (the original) track course (a Suzuki Swift Sport for 99 Euros at the low end), but this track is closed with an accident when we arrive. It’s 22-km long and was originally started in 1925 in this Eifel volcanic region. The track is still used today by automotive manufacturers because it emcompasses the types of quality testing needed for all four seasons.
The new track was built in the late ‘70s, about 5-km long, and is designed for Formula 1 racing. It’s built around the village of Nurburg, which is a mixed blessing of employment opportunities and high-dB noise levels throughout much of the year. Chuck’s treat for the day is a 90-minute backstage tour of the old paddock and current pits and garages, the press room, and a balcony vantage point overlooking the track. Today, the track was reserved for amateur class racing with very little prize money for the winners.
They were primarily driving for the love of the sport, and we had a blast watching them! The classes
751 Meters Long
included everything from mini-Coopers, vintage Corvettes, Mercedes and even a ’67 Mustang.
Drivers were allotted a specific timeframe to record their fastest lap in competition, and several classes were on the track simultaneously, making for a diverse group driving at varying speeds.
We left at 10 o’clock this morning, drove 61 miles, and arrived in Cochem at 5 o’clock. Truly Sunday drivers, but the back-road driving, switch-backs, curves, shifting and down-shifting made for the perfect afternoon. Landhaus Friedrichs is our hotel for the night, a comfortable room overlooking the road, no TV, no Internet, 58 Euros including breakfast. Cochem is small, a mere 5,000 residents, and sits directly on the left bank of the Mosel River. It was first settled in 886, and it survived the Plague in the 1400’s, only to be conquered by King Louis XIV’s troops in 1689 and staying under French rule until 1815 when it was transferred to the Kingdom of Prussia. In WWII, much of Cochem’s Old Town was destroyed and 13,000 people were imprisoned in the Natzweiler concentration camp here. They provided slave labor under brutal conditions for Bosch, which made spark plugs, ignition systems and glow plugs, important for
the German war effort. Since 1946, Cochem has been part of the newly founded state of Rhineland-Palatinate. For us, Cochem is a tourist town, lined with shops along pedestrian-only alleys, and we feast on a dinner of currywurst, bratwurst, and ice cream!
Tot: 2.515s; Tpl: 0.087s; cc: 10; qc: 55; dbt: 0.054s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.4mb