About four weeks ago we decided that we were actually going on the holiday that we had planned on this time last year. Circumstances during the year made us cancel it then it was back on then cancelled again so we played it by ear. Mainly as Stuy112 finally got a proper job after being made redundant end of last year so the mad planning and saving commenced.
The ferry was booked on the 27th August to sail out on the 01st September at 02:00am, primarily as it was the cheapest time as the 23:59pm ferry was twice as much. We had decided to leave booking the return ferry until later on in the holiday as we were unsure what we were going to be doing though.
So Sunday 30th September arrived. A quick dash round to strip the beds and get them washed and hung out to dry before we left, put the hoover around and load the car before we dropped the Astra round to mum and dad's and dog was dropped off at the kennels. And off we went to Dover docks to meet Stuy112 and his mate Liam in Liam's 1.8 SRi Corsa C. About 100 miles up the road I decide to announce I'd forgotten the sweets we'd gained from one of the Mars reps in Plymouth and had left them in the vegetable drawer in the fridge! That's how many we had to keep us going. 308 miles and 5 hours later we arrive and finally find them in one of the five BP garages sat nav was telling us Dover had, handy after they told us the were parked in the BP garage! A quick catch up as we haven't seen each other since VBOA weekend and Stuy112 getting all excited over our car as he had just up his signum two days before the holiday, we go off to find some dinner in town.
Dinner eaten first of many pizzas we have during our holiday! And we decide to try our luck boarding an earlier ferry as last year we managed to, luck was on our side again and we got on the 22:00pm ferry so arriving in Dunkerque at 01:00am BST+1 we set off towards Germany. And we have a game of spotting the first Opel Vectra C/Signum, we'd spotted one heading towards Dover but this wasn't to be counted. 140 miles into our journey in Belgium we spotted one but what model is was I can't remember so then it became of spotting any Opel's!
We stopped at 04:30am for half hour sleep as our estimated time of arrival according to Dora and Doris was about 06:00 am and knew we wouldn't be able to get into the hotel then. Well half hour turned in to four hours and we set off again at 08:30am with temperatures reaching 17.5°C, nice start to the holiday. We came across our first traffic 100 miles later, not bad as we'd driven 550 miles already. This was because of a broken down lorry and three lanes was reduced to two. By 10:00am it had reached 21°C and we were still spotting our Opel's by this point we had spotted three Corsa D's, Zafira A, two Vectra C's, Corsa B, Astra F, Astra H, two Tigra B's and an Astra H estate. But the car that caught Matt's attention most was a swisse Audi RS4 estate which was not hanging around! Our first British car was spotted on the road heading towards nurburgring and this was also where we spotted our first siggy, 18km from the ring. But it was heading away from the ring so no photos could be taken.
We arrive at Hotel Zur Burg by 11:30am and get the keys to our hotel rooms and get settled, showered and changed before heading off the race track entrance and have a nose round all the new shops and attractions that was opened not so long ago and then grabbing a bite to eat before the public track opened at 19:00pm.
Watching all the cars queue up for the track, laughing at the wrecks and cooing over the cars we could only ever dream of. We spot a granny in the back of a Honda Civic Type R, all there laughing and telling the driver to be nice to her before we head out ourselves.
In the queue ready to go out I realise I won't have enough memory on the digital camera to film the whole lap so was slightly gutted as we managed to do it last year when we took the Cavalier GSi out there. Going round filming we spot flashing amber lights, warning us of something but unsure what. Bit further on a guy waving his flag and a Porsche with it's hazards on braking, get round the corner to see a British Omega we'd spotted in the car park had binned it on the corner spreading gravel and mud on some of the track. We later see his friends who tell us the tow bar pretty much saved it from doing more than £2500 worth of damage. The tow bar had bent 90° and ripped the boot pan away!! Dodging the bikes and faster more expensive cars we had to miss out on going round the carousel this year which was a shame, but nether or less we crack on and actually over take a few cars and I see 154km/h on the sat nav at some points and make it back up the final straight into the car park and compose ourselves again. The car drove like a dream Matt said, no engine management light, no coughs or splutters or anything, so why when we drive like we should do it hates it and kicks on the eml?
In the car park the granny in the Honda walks past so we have a chat and find out she's 75 years old and drove round it fifty years ago in an Aston Martin DB2! Her family were quite well off and she'd always owned Aston's until the last recession and lost the money but still has a MK1 Escort RS2000 on her drive now! Her granddaughter had brought her over to try and get her out on the track but they wouldn't allow it because of her sex and age, yet had always driven cars that some of the guys that go round it now could only ever dream of.
We let the cars cool down and grab a coffee before heading off in to Adenau for dinner then back to the hotel and a wonder for a few alcoholic beverages before we hit the sac for a decent nights sleep.
Next day we're up and have our continental breakfast before heading back to the shops to buy our goodies. We get ourselves a new sticker for the back of the Signum, some stickers for the doors and a cool flag. Was going to get a new coat but at 160€ decide against that one!
On our drive round we spot three mad Slovenians waving frantically out of a Vectra B window. They turn around and follow us into the race track entrance car park where they introduce themselves as Patrik, Martin and Mitja. After a quick chat and eyeing up each other's cars we head over to the attraction car park for a nose round again with these three mad Slovenians! We go our separate ways and head of for lunch in Adenau arranging to meet back up at the track when it opens.
After lunch we take in a few viewing points around the ring whilst competing with the rain watching the OPC Insignia's and Astra's going round the track, we even get a beep and a wave off one!! Crazy fool when he's got to be doing at least 100mph round corners in the wet, Liam even managed to get a picture of one Insignia on three wheels! The rain was a bit heavy considering we woke up to 22°C heat.
We head back to the ring by this time we had decided along with Liam and Stuy112 not to attempt going round the track again but sit in the café watching the Insignia's, Astra's and Subaru's still going round the track whilst we wait for Patrik, Martin and Mitja to arrive.
When the track opened we head out to watch and laugh and some of the cars going out. We find a Volvo 740 on the Czech wrecks run who got bored and took a detour! A fully fitted rally Nissan Micra and a Citroen Saxo VTR/VTS with the world loudest exhaust all queue up to go round along with my Aston Martin DB9. After laughing and talking with the three amigo's we convince them to go out on the track whilst we go to one of the viewing points to try get some good photos, only by the time they get the car warmed up the track is closed, convenient or what!! We head back to drop back their walkie talky and say our goodbyes before setting off on our 1007km or 625miles to us lot journey to Cap D'Agde.
We set off stopping several places on the way and Dora and Doris wanting us to go down a road that was shut but we got round it and made our way down through Germany, Luxembourg and in to France. We got invaded at one service station by a group of Spanish in their Ford's, the must of been at least twenty cars turned up just before we were about to depart so we decided or more so had decided for us to wait a little while longer as the blocked us in! By 08:00am in France it was 22°C heading through the mountains and by 10:00am it was 26.5°C .
Getting to the camp site we unpack and contemplate going shopping or catching forty winks first, shopping wins! Heading round to the Hyper U we stock up on food and a BBQ before heading back and all falling asleep til about 22:00pm and getting up for a BBQ and a few alcoholic beverages before heading back to bed for the night.
We spend the next day round the pool with our lilo's and shamu the whale in the 33°C heat ! Generally just messing about and bathing in the sun. Later that night we head round to the local jet wash to clean the cars and the were just slightly dirty. On the way home Doris gave up on us and died, great ! When we had fitted it we couldn't get it back out again so this was going to be fun. So leaving Matt and Liam to play with the car me and Stuy112 fetched them drinks and started on dinner. One dead stereo was finally our of the cage and freely moving, woo hoo!
We decide to go in to town the next day to do a bit of research on the web and phone up pioneer who try and help solve it. But returning to the camp site and trying to fix it the way pioneer suggested didn't work either, so we give up and just hope it came back on by itself. We head in to town that night for dinner along the harbour, not bad at 24°C at 19:50pm! After dinner we come back to a game of trivial pursuit but gave up and played cludeo instead!
We spend the next couple of days lazing by the pool again before heading into Spain on the Monday. We head down to Loret de Mar, about 150 miles from the camp site. Here we spot a diesel signum, other than the one before we hit the ring this was the first one we'd seen since. After spending the day wondering around town and all the tat shops we sit along the beach for a while whilst the guys do a bit of 'celebrity' spotting before we head back to the camp site.
The next few days are spent by the pool and going in to town for a wonder round before our journey home on the Thursday.
Getting up at 08:30am we set about finishing packing and cleaning up the caravan before we set of at 11:00am on the 1052km journey back to Dunkerque or in English terms 654 miles. We have a make shift radio/CD player in the car consisting on a house stereo and a power invertor, cans of drink, croissants and sweets to keep us going. Climbing through the mountains we reach an altitude of 1121m above sea level! We get to go over the Milau bridge on our route home but some people we were following in a Corsa forgot to come off at the viewing point car park so we had to follow them as our sat nav had given up. Heading on up we stop at several service stations and mess around on the play parks and getting some life back in our legs. We managed to stop at a dodgy service station where you saw people or should I say men popping in at out of the hedges so we whilst I was there being nosy the guys quickly wanted to move on! Me and Stuy112 get some good photos of each others cars by hanging our heads out of the windows going down the motorway before we hit Paris at 19:00pm! On the outside we are at a stand still coming down on to the périphérique but once there it is moving, thank god. We spot the Eiffel tower and Notre Dame in the distance along with stupid idiots on scooters weaving in and out of the traffic and mad Frenchmen who come within an inch of your car! Getting through Paris Stuy112 as a bit of road rage when some idiot comes right up behind him flashing him to move over bearing in mind he's overtaking a vehicle!! HID headlights are bright on full beam so the Frenchman found out, and then the Frenchman got it from another French driver he'd obviously upset further back! Last stop before Dunkerque where we decide just to go for it as we may make the 23:59pm ferry home if we get there on time.
Arriving at Dunkerque at 23:15pm ish we dash to the ticket office and struggle with the doors for ages before managing to get it and get our tickets and then dashing back out and around to passport control and boarding the ferry home. Lets say the ferry wasn't the smoothest of journey's home but getting 12 bottles of my favourite wine for £20 made up for it when over here it would of cost about £60.
We dock at Dover at 01:30am BST or 02:30 French time and then head off to fill back up with petrol and then on to the services to say our goodbyes as we depart to Cornwall and Stuy112 and Liam head off to York. And back to good old British road systems and roadworks that send you miles out the way when there's another route had they of told you they were shutting the road before you get to the roadworks!
I swiftly fall asleep whilst Matt drive's til he has enough which was just past Basingstoke and I take over til Exeter airport where Matt takes over again til we get home at 07:30am yesterday morning!
So there's our holiday; 12 days of fun, driving, alcohol and sunshine. In total we have driven 2700 miles and have yet to work out how much we spent but we spent every single euro and cents we had so know it must of been a good holiday!
Now the planning has begun for our next trip to the ring and our holiday to Cap D'Agde next year.