14/05/2013

Well, the journey to the Monaco GP begins.

This is just some of the stuff we are taking with us...



Some other things we may need...

Rear seats removed for more space and a 1700W 240v invertor...



a German city emission sticker...



an Austrian motorway vignette...



a BroBizz dongle for the Danish and Swedish bridges...



On the Chunnel...





15/05/2013

Arrived in France at 0330, so spent the first night in the car near Dunkirk...



Visited Brussels, saw the Mannequin Pis...

(Photo on my son's phone, I'll post later)

Got myself a new aerial...



Visited Waterloo and had a very nice meal at the Cafe Wellington. We decided not to climb the Butte du Lion...



A quick visit to the JohnFrostBruj at Arnhem...



and finally to bed in Germany...



Robert (21 and with about a year's driving experience) has really taken to motorways now and is getting used to driving on the wrong side of the road.

We met some Minis that were going to Florence for this weekend. I'd like to have gone, but it's a week early.




16/05/2013

Well, we decided not to set the alarms last night as today should have been a nice easy day. But at 0630 someone set an alarm off outside the tent. It was the car alarm. I tried to switch it off with the key. No joy. Anyone with a BMW E46 will know that this means only one thing - low battery voltage. Luckily, I brought a starter pack and I was able to open the boot and driver's door with the key. I connected the pack to car and NOTHING.

After a call to the recovery guys, we were on the road after the help of Michael, an ex-squaddy's son living in Germany. Michael recommended Wessels + Muller (WM) in Osnabruck. So, off we set, with me driving on the left until my son pointed it out

I managed to negotiate 80EURO for a new battery (down from 130). The poor car has not been switched off since Michael got it started and had been idling for about 90 minutes.

My son is now driving and we have just been through the Elbe Tunnel in Hamburg and are in our first traffic jam since leaving home.

We are giving the new battery a good test. At the moment, the following are connected...

the cooler box,
the 240v invertor with the laptop charger,
the mobile phone,
the sat nav &
the data logger

Just while we're in the traffic jam, here's one for the bikers...



Filled up with fuel in Germany (cheaper than Denmark).

Bought a 50Mb booster for £10 (t-mobile), we'll see how long that lasts.

We got to Denmark and were invited into a lay-by for a car and document check. It was a very attractive Danish police woman, so I wouldn't have objected too much to a full search wink.

We found a nice, secluded spot to cook and sleep, but we were rumbled by a dog-walker, who took a photo of the front of the car. It was either FunBus doing some number plate spotting, or someone planning on contacting plod, so we broke camp and made a silent exit.

Here's a piccy of the car in the tunnel and my son in the spot where the tent was...





We found a very quiet parking spot about 5km away and slept in the car again...





17/05/2013

I started the day by deciding that we should book a hotel room so we had a place to start and finish the crossing to Sweden.

I ran out of internet while booking online, but managed to get the hotel's details.

50Mb only lasts a day when auto-updates are active. I bought another 200Mb for £35. With auto-updates off, I hope this lasts a week.

Phoned the hotel (Hotel Domir in Odense) and booked the room.(phone number was in TomTom). I was told we could book-in as soon as the room was cleaned. We were about 2 hours away.

With all these international calls, I think this month's phone bill will be around £100.

Arrived at hotel at 1030 and was told the room wasn't ready, so we went for a walk around Odense. Like all of Denmark, it was very quiet and polite. They seem to like their wacky sculptures and this was outside the bus station...



Got back to the hotel, booked in (there is a 3% surcharge on MasterCard credit cards) and went to sleep for a couple of hours (the Storebaeltsbroen (the bridge from Denmark to Copenhagen island) is 40 minutes from the hotel).

Back in February, I bought a BroBizz pass. It allows cheap travel across the bridges into Copenhagen. The pass costs 37EURO annual subscription, but this is saved the first time you use it. The normal price to cross the bridge from Denmark into Copenhagen is 235DKK each way, but if you cross after 1500 and return before 0300, the return price is only 280DKK.

Left the hotel and crossed the Storebaeltsbroen at around 1630 and got to the Oresundsbron (the bridge from Copenhagen island to Sweden) for about 1830. The savings on the Oresundsbron are even greater. Normal crossing price is 45EURO each way, but if you cross after 1700 and return before midnight, the price is 14EURO each way.

I took some video of the crossings (and will post later), but the stll photos are not very good.

Needless to say, the views from the bridges were impressive, but the best views were of the gulls keeping up with the cars and the view of the nature reserve by the lighthouse on the Danish end of the Storebaeltsbroen.

Storesbaeltsbroen & nature reserve / lighthouse...



Oresundsbron...



I had to go to a place called Lund to collect some parts for my car and while we were there we got some Swedish sushi made with local fish from a place called Ra Epok...



I tried to get some tickets for Eurovision, but they were all sold out for the dates when we would be in Malmo. According to the press, Malmo is buzzing with Eurovision fever. Let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth from what we saw. This is the car park...



and this is a piccy of me beating off the crowds outside the arena...



We got back to the hotel in Odense for around 0200, and had to park the car on the main street as the very small hotel car park was full. I was told by the receptionist that the traffic police don't work on weekends, so parking all night in a 30 minute space would be OK.




18/05/2013

I bottled it about leaving the car on the street, and as soon as one of the spaces was empty, I was in it. Wish I hadn't, as someone decided to use my car as a Braille reversing alarm (only a slight scratch)



We thought we would visit this place...



It is one of the prettiest villages we've seen. This is a deserted cottage in the car park (I want it for my back garden!)...



Just outside Middelfart is a bridge with spectacular views. I took video, which will be posted later if it is any good.

It started raining just inside Germany. The headlight blew when I switched it on, so the second failure of the holiday after the battery. I pulled over in an old petrol station so I could change it under cover. Typically, the replacement bulb was right at the bottom of the boot under all the camping gear and tins of soup!

Most of the day was spent driving. We were near Hamburg so drove down the Reeperbahn, simply because we were there and it had to be done.

The rain eased off for a while and I was on a German autobahn in a BMW 330, so I had to see what it could do. The answer - 239kph (148mph). I held that speed for about a kilometer downhill and it just wouldn't go any faster. I'll have to have a word with Sytner when I get home as it should be 152mph!



The rain had been constant and heavy most of the day, so I used hotel.com to book a hotel in Celle, a very pretty town near a very horrible place that we would be visiting tomorrow. I asked at reception and they told me that I saved 20Euro by booking online, so that's another top tip - book hotels online, or use the online price as a negotiation tool.




19/05/2013

I took my son to a place that I think everyone should visit once. Gedenkstatte Bergen-Belsen. He didn't need to see inside the museum, the grounds were enough - I don't blame him.

Onto lighter things, this is about 2km away...



Germany seems to have a better class of car for sale on the side of the road (he said he wouldn't do a straight swap)...



We spent a couple of hours in Hameln (best know for the Pied Piper). We found where the Rat Trail started...



and followed the trail...







They are re-paving the town centre and we lost the trail for a while...



but found it again on Wendenstrasse...



and ended up in the Weser,,,



Next, Nurburgring.

I knew that it wasn't open to the public, but I didn't know why. It was the Nurburgring 24 Hours. It was 2100 and my son said that he was happy to go in, so we paid 5EURO for a parking place until 0700 tomorrow. We got the tent, chairs and some food together and headed for the gate. It was still raining. We paid 58EURO for a Monday ticket (which was valid from 2200 on Sunday). You can only buy food with a RingCard which you can top-up. We loaded it with 40EURO and had some food (about 20EUROs worth). The rain was still coming down hard, but we headed for the stands, and got an excellent perch at the top of Kurve Stand.

We saw the last lap before the red flag. The crowd was very cheerful and so were we. I've never enjoyed wasting 58EUROs so much.

The view...



Laddo, all snug as a bug...





20/05/2013

Woke up at 0600 and it was still raining. It didn't look like it would clear, so we decided to say auf wiedersen to Nurburgring and use the time to do something else. We weren't able to reclaim the RingCard excess until 0900, so we used what we could in the only place that was open - Subway. We had two stonking cobs and 12 cookies. The woman thought we were mad having 12 cookies for breakfast.

We started heading south(ish) and went to Luxembourg. Not much there apart from cheap fuel (1.32 Euros/ltr for 98), but a very clean place and worth a look, but not worth staying from what we saw.

Then off to Stuttgart and the Mercedes Benz Museum. You need to have an emmisions sticker if you want to get there by car. The entrance is worth every cent of the 8 Euro ticket. Free headphones and (I think) seven floors and many side rooms. Too much for one visit and well worth a second trip, or a 100km diversion. Here's some of the highlights that we saw...





the oldest surviving Mercedes...





We also found out that the first ever hillclimb was held between Nice and La Turbie (this might be a useful piece of info for later wink )...



More cars..



A custom-made, high-speed car-transporter that was used to support the Moss era Mille Miglia...



A collection of 300SLs (gull-wing, convertible and coupe)...



This is the actual car that Lewis Hamilton drove in Interlagos to win his F1 World Championship...





We stayed at Mercedes until we were kicked out and we only saw a fraction of what was there. Apparently, there is over 12 hours of audio on the headsets (and it's very good stuff, not at all boring). I can't emphasise enough just how good a place it is to visit. Just prepare a whole day for it.

That night's bedroom was again up a small country lane...





21/05/2013

Again, we woke up to rain. We were quite a time ahead of schedule, but not enough to go back to Mercedes, so we decided to visit Lechtenstein and Switzerland. I wasn't going to spend 33 Euros on a Swiss vignette, so we went south via Memmingen and got the ferry from Meersburg (nr Friedrichschafen) to Konstanz across the Bodensee. Much to my surprise Konstanz is in Germany, not Switzerland.



In Switzerland, we saw this for sale...





We went into Lechtenstein where I showed my son where I drove straight into the Swiss Army base last time I did the journey.

For info, Swiss fuel and Lechtenstein fuel are the same price (and cheap). We paid 1.76CHF for 95 octane.

Headed for Klosters and got the ferry that was actually a train to take us through the Vereinatunnel.

It was getting late, so we looked for a place to spend the night and left the main road and started climbing the road to a place called Guarda. We filled the water bottles from a spring in the village and had dinner there. It was all very traditional and We were served by a girl dressed like Julie Andrews...



and the height above sea level...



Again, we slept in the car as it was too dark to see what we were doing. This was the view in the morning...





22/05/2013

Woke up to a stunning view...



and again the car wouldn't start. There is a gearbox problem that is sorted by shifting the box from P to D and back again several times.

We had some spare time, so we headed out of Switzerland and got to the junction of two roads. One was marked as a Swiss toll road direct to Landbeck (Austria) (Route 27). The other was marked as an Austrian toll road that would take an extra hour to get to Landbeck. I asked a policeman at the petrol station and he explaned that although Route 27 was in Switzerland it was still covered by the Austrian vignette, not the Swiss one. Not confusing at all.

Either route would have been gobsmacking, but these were some of the sights...





Got into Austria, where they really know how to make a service station special. If you thought Tebay was good, think again...



In the entrance lobby...



In the toilet area, a model of the services...



The main area which was also a hotel lobby, looked like the inside of a giant log cabin, or a Santa grotto...



We were heading north to see what this place was like (BMW Welt & the BMW Museum)...





BMW Welt is just like a giant showroom with a few novelty things to do. There was a good display by a guy on a trail bike who rode up and down the stairs and all over the arena. He didn't ride over any of the cars, though. No piccies, I'm afraid.

The museum was a let down after Mercedes, but they had some old cars...











FW190 engine...



a good section about how BMW car engines have developed from this...



to this...



The Z-cars...







some future development ideas, including hydrogen power...



a fabric-covered car...



They also had my favorite...



and also, my car (same colour as well)...



and the engine to go with it...



There was also a section about Rolls Royce, which I thought was better than the BMW stuff...





We came to conclusion that the BMW Museum was let down by there not being any back-story to any of the exhibits, whereas the Merecedes and Rolls Royce exhibits had history. The BMW exhibits were factory-fresh.

After the museum, we headed south, via Austria and the Brenner Pass to Italy.

The scenery was spectacular, even if it was obscured by the rain...







Once in Italy, I decided to avoid the toll roads, so we went up this road...



It was a 1:5 for about 5km and eventually we got to the top. It was worth it even though it was 1.5deg C and we were shivering as it had been 22deg just 30 minutes earlier...





2211m is over 7,000ft and We were suffering the first affects of altitude sickness, so we had to get below 5000ft so we couldn't stay long.

We went down the hill and started to drive along the valley which was still at over 2,000ft. We spotted a place that looked promising and drove down a narrow track and over a wobbly bridge to park up for the night. Robert found this...



and wanted me to drive up this to get to it...



It just lead to wheelspin and a scraped front bumper, so we settled for the bottom of the slope out of sight of the main road...





23/05/2013

We drove south through the very scenic northern Italian mountains...





This is beside the parking bay where we stopped for a brew...





We arrived at Maranello and took the obligatory photos...



and visited the museum. Neither of us were inspired to take many photos, but here's one...



The only bits about the museum I liked were the trophy room (but the trophies were not identified) and the Schumacher era cars (the same room). They showed how the cars developed, but again, there was no explanation about the development. If I didn't know better, I would just think that they were all the same.

That done, we headed west towards Monaco and decided to use the toll roads. This saved a lot of time, but we probably missed a lot of the country.

The road into France from Italy is epic. The speed limit is 110 with some 130 stretches, but that is mad speed for the road as 130 is too fast fo some of the corners. OK for the track, but not a public road.

On the way we bought some steak to have for dinner and I got some wine to go with it. I forgot that I didn't have a corkscrew - wally!

We drove straight to a spot I found the last time I was in Monaco. I call it the "Million Dollar View"...





As we arrived late and the ground was too hard for tent pegs, we slept in the car. It's starting to look like the rear suspension is suffering...





24/05/2013

We decided to find a car park in the town and do a recce. No problem finding a car park as they are very well sign posted with the number of empty spaces clearly displayed. All the car parks in Monaco are publically owned and are the same price. They are exceptionally clean and the price structure is...

0 - 1hr20 = free
1hr20 - 1hr40 = 2.40Euro
each 20 minutes is another Euro until 5hrs20 (I think), then the price drops to 70c for each additional 20 minutes. There are further price reductions the longer you stay, but you will pay no more than 20Euros for 24hrs. All the prices are clearly displayed at the car park entrances.

We parked at Cafe de Paris/Casino underground car park until we had decided where we would park for the rest of the weekend.

It's worth turning up the day before as it allows you to recce the viewing spots. At first, we thought our chosen spot was quite good, but this was the view...



As Friday is free, it's a good chance to see what a couple of hundred Euros buys you on race day. We were there for the end of the GP2...





We spent some time walking around the town before we could collect the tickets at 1330 and found that TomTom was better than a map. We found Rue Louis Notari and exchanged the vouchers for tickets and bought a programme from one of the many street vendors who all charged the official price of 10Euros.

When we had sussed the place out, we moved the car to the nearest car park to Rocher (Place de la Duque or something like that). It was very convenient for where we would be watching the grand prix from. It also turned out to be a great car park to do star-spotting in as the Red Bull team was based there, and VJ Malia's boat was berthed outside the exit door.

This was the car and the stuff we would use to make life habitable for the next two days...



Anyone can walk the track on foot or by car. There is the chance to look in the back of the garages..

A glimpse of Jenson Button's McLaren...



Lewis Hamilton's wet weather tyres...



Vettel's pit board...



The finish line...



The dias where the trophies are presented...



If you have Rocher tickets for Saturday AND Sunday, or you have grandstand tickets, you can also do a pit lane walk between 1430 and 1800. We were Rocher and we should have been filtered into the stands, but we were "accidently" filtered into the wrong lane and ended up in the pit lane. The corridor we were filtered down was about four people wide and it was always four people deep. You have to be quite assertive in moving to where you want. It takes time and nobody was rude as far as I could see. It took about 90minutes to shuffle the pit lane, but it was worth it...

Safety cars...



Marussia...



Max Chilton (he signed a few autographs and talked to the crowd)...



Photo of a letch taking a photo of Lee McKenzie...



The photo the letch was taking. She looks good in the flesh (not that I saw all of it, you understand)...



Caterham...



Toro Rosso...





Roman Grojean, another with time for the crowd...





There wasn't much happening at Williams, but they did have the wheel guns and the side-jack out for us to see...



Paul di Resta's car being wheeled into the Force India garage...



di Resta with some kid's from StarLight...



di Resta also spent a few moments with the crowd. Though he seemed reluctant at first, he was mobbed when he did...



Mr Hamilton, on the other hand. Well, here's a picture of his back...



He did a TV interview, he made some little kid's day who was unfortunate enough to both be in a wheelchair and to meet him, and then he totally ignored the people who pay his wages. If only the whole world knew how ignorant he is. Until today, I'd only heard the rumours and had given him the benefit of the doubt, now I've seen the truth behind the corporate smile.

Lotus...



Nico Rosberg is getting interviewed somewhere in this photo. He waved to the crowd and went back into the garage. We moved on, thinking that ignorance was a Mercedes trait. Then, after we had moved on, he came out and talked to the crowd...



McLaren...



This was Jenson's car being wheeled out for some wheel change practice and nose change practice...



Until now, the shuffling had only been practice for the scrum at Ferrari...



After Ferrari, the interest in the current World Champions and championship leaders was somewhat lacking...



The only time anyone got excited outside the Red Bull garage was when the Ferrari was wheeled past to do a wheel change...



Scrutineering...



We managed to find a place to pitch our tent that was VERY close to Rocher, but I couldn't take a picture as the flash would have given our position away. Some people gave us some very stange looks when they were walking up the road alone, then there were suddenly two people behind them!

I was also able to buy a corkscrew, so the weekend would not be a disaster no matter what happened!

On our travels around Monaco we found an open-air market and bought some apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries and a watermelon. The strawberries were the nicest I've ever tasted! The rest of the fruit would be eaten over the next couple of days.

We were set for the weekend.




25/05/2013

Qualy Day

There was only us and two guys from Cornwall in our location. They had trail bikes with them, but you could see their tent if you looked hard enough. Ours was fully cammed with a camo tarpaulin (£8.99 from CostCo - bargain) and foliage and was damn-near impossible to see, even if you knew where it was!

It was about 0930 and Rocher was filling up. We tried a spot I knew. It has a view of the top of Rascasse, the pit lane and the giant TV screen, but it was too busy and was too steep to be comfortable for a whole day. I decided to take some stuff back to the car, but on the way spotted a much better place - this would be ours for the weekend. The only problem was the crane, but on Rocher beggers can't be chosers...



There was a full view of the pit lane except Ferrari and Red Bull, a distant view of the exit of the swimming pool complex and a view of the run down to Rascasse.

As we had no access to the TV and I knew what communication was like from the authorities, I paid £5 for 24hr internet on my phone and £19.99 for the F1 app. It would be money well spent.

We were prepared for most things. It got cold, so we sat snug as bugs inside our sleeping bags. It rained, so we covered ourselves in half of a tarpaulin. The other half was needed to conceal the tent. We were thirsty, so I went back to the tent and made a couple of fresh cups of tea. We were hungry, so we ate half of the water melon we had bought from the market yesterday. We also had the cooler which was full of cold meats, cheeses, bread and pate. I had a bottle of red wine which was casually sipped throughout the day. We were sorted.

We watched two sessions of the Renault 3.5 qualifying and the noise was tolerable. Then came P3 for the F1. If you have never been to an F1 before, you can prepare for the noise by visiting the airport and sticking your head in one of the engines!

It was quite a long wait between the end of P3 and the start of Q1, but the lights went green at 1400 precisely. There is a countdown on the app which hightened the excitement It had already told me that Massa may not make Q3 and that he had a five place penalty anyway for a replacement gearbox. The F1 app told us most of the story, but was excellent at giving us the lap times, positions and the position on the track, so we knew who was coming into view and when.

You need a microscope to see the picures of the cars. It's not as bad as this for real, but here's the F1 cars back in the pits after qualy in parc ferme...



After qualy there was the second GP2 race. Here are some videos of something you will probably only get at Monaco. The GP2 cars return to their base by driving down the street and if you are lucky, you can get VERY close...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo7746mqx6s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UELQP_kgOpc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CujnVzzS0L4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWSo6ugwnIA

We spent the rest of the day wandering around looking at Monaco...









I knew that tomorrow would be a long day, so we got to bed early at around 2300, with a beer inside to help us sleep. At around 0100 I saw a torch beam and heard "Regardez-la" from the walkway above - it was the rozzers, they had spotted the other tent. It was only when they were going there that they spotted us. They wanted to see our tickets, not a problem as I had them. The guys from Cornwall had tried to cuff it and had been rumbled. They got away with only having to pay the 70Euro face value, so I think they were lucky, especially as they had seen qualy for free. I'd heard that you could watch for free and it looks like you can if you are good at hiding.

The music from the open-air nightclubs didn't stop until around 0400, but it didn't bother us, especially Robert, who can sleep through anything.




26/05/2013

Race Day

I woke at 0700 and by the time Robert was up and we were ready it was 0830. By that time, Rocher was already filling up. We went for the same spot as yesterday, and got it.

I knew that it would be a long wait, as it was still over 5hrs before the race starts. I had brought food and could go back to the tent to make cups of tea. We were getting puzzled looks when we were making baguettes with all the fillings, drinking cups of tea and munching our way through the other half of the water melon. But, hey, anyone can rough-it!

I put the tent back in the car and when I was coming out of the car park Stefano Domenicali was walking down the gangplank of VJ's boat. "Forza Ferrari".

I got back in time for the Renault 3.5 race which was a nice warm-up for the GP and a chance to see what the view would be like for the race. The view can change by moving a few feet to the left or the right. It was still OK, but the crane was the problem.

There was the driver's parade at 1230 and we managed to seesome of the drivers through our binoculars.

As yesterday, the F1 app was spot-on with the countdown and the race started on schedule. Here are some of the photos...

Camera on max zoom. If you look closely between the crane and the bridge there is a car (I think it is Hamilton)...



I then had the brainwave of using my binos to magnify the camera lens. The results were quite good, though some were better than others...



















After the GP ended, I thought I had the perfect plan. Everyone would be heading towards Monaco, but we would be heading towards the harbour and could make a quick get-away. I couldn't have been more wrong. Only F1 personnel were allowed near the car park until 1900 (another three hours). We spent the time walking around Monaco and sitting in bars with a single Coke.

We got to the car at about 2000, paid the 40Euro car parking for 48hours (I thought this was good value) and headed out of Monaco, doing the reverse route of the Nice - La Turbie hillclimb we learned about at the Mercedes museum. The climb out of Monaco was 1:3 up some very tight roads that were sign-posted as no through roads. The route to Nice was epic and is on video.

When we got to Nice, we started la Route Napoleon...



I read that the route started in Nice, but it apparantly starts in Cannes.

We spent quite a long time trying to find somewhere to sleep and we came across a quiet lane that looked promising. Then I noticed some traffic cones. What was beyond them? I went for a walk in the almost pitch black and found what would be our bedroom for the night...





When we woke in the morning, this had been home for the night...





27/05/2013

We got up early as I didn't want to be found and the horses in the field had been just a little bit too curious.



We were underway by 0630 and the scenery soon became spectacular...





When we stopped to photograph one of the views near Grasse, we noticed this memorial...



View of Grasse...



It seemed a bit chilly, but it didn't seem as cold as this...



This was the view at the time...





Some of the Emperor Eagles on the route...









This was on the outside of a pizzeria. I doubt if he had a four seasons when he stopped the night...



We spent the night in a tent next to the motorway...



There was a convenient tunnel that kept the rain off when I was making dinner...





28/05/2013

After doing la Route Napoleon yesterday we had to decide what we were going to do. We decided to go here.

Millau...



Not many photos of the day as not a lot happened, but it's an impressive bridge.

It was raining when it came time to get some sleep, so we slept in the car again.




29/05/2013

When we woke up, we found that the cows had taken a liking to us...





Robert was now the driver, navigator and the bursar. I told him where we were going and gave him a budget of 150EUR to get us there and to feed us. He had to decide on speed v money for whether it was worth avoiding the tolls, etc.

He did an excellent job and came in under budget and we didn't starve.

I think the Romans must have visited France...



The load below the helicopter is two men in a cage being lowered onto the high tension power cables...



At around 1730, we arrived at le Mans. We decided not to go in the museum until tomorrow. We decided to watch the trackday instead...









We bought a couple of BigMacs and spent nearly three hours using their internet, so a top tip is that McDonald's has free WiFi.

It managed to find somewhere very close to le Mans to sleep, but it did mean making use of the cam tarpaulin and some foliage. Out there somewhere is a silver BMW...







30/05/2013

Last night we were told that the museum opened at 0700. It seemed very early, but the girl was adamant when I asked her to confirm. We got there for 0800 only to find out it closed and opened at 1000, so we spent a bit of time driving around the circuit. We came back to the museum, where I saw this in the car park. One of the Barcelona Bangers...





In the museum...

Some models of past races...









Some cars...











This 2CV was driven around the world in 1959...



This is a replica of the winner of the first 24 heures du Mans in 1923...





The actual car that won in 1924...









This is similar to the car that holds the record for the most kilometres completed...





The only mention of 1955 was that Mike Hawthorn won the race in a Jaguar. There was no mention of the worst crash in racing or that Mercedes withdrew from racing for over fifty years.

We stopped at the same place where we stopped on the first day, but this time we stopped in a tent...







31/05/2013

Not much to say, really. Got up later than normal and made the 1150 EuroTunnel to head back to Blighty. Got home for 1500. We were delayed for an hour because there was a car on the M25 hard shoulder with a flat tyre that everyone had decided to slow down to look at. God, it's good to be home - not.

It was great to drive in countries where fast driving is not made dangerous by middle lane hoggers, by people who don't slow down when they come down a slip road and by people who don't gorp at someone on the hard shoulder with a puncture.

Being a British driver, I am used to appalling standards of lane discipline. This makes driving on the continent very easy. Once I was used to the speed, continental driving was very enjoyable. Continental drivers have mastered the skill of merging and matching speeds and relative speeds are very close. Even though the absolute speed may be high, danger is reduced. Those who decide our driving laws should see how others do it, and learn from them.