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I have a ticket, but there’s no boat!

Day Seven: Top Amazing Gear Race

December 14th, 2008 at 10:02 pm

The Black Forst

Captain Ludvig at the helm gives the 320i a Top Gear review

By the powers invested in some higher authority, we woke up Sunday morning, not hung over. Though I may not have been hung over, I was not on stable ground. I had completely expected the morning to be painful, but it was not. The world was still spinning a bit when I looked far into the distance, but that was little price to pay for the evening we’d just brought to a close not six hours before. And soon we would be headed for Bad Kreuznach and I could sleep in the car.

In Karlsplatz we picked up what was supposed to be a Ford Mondeo or Volkswagon Jetta. Sixt, however, had given them all away and offered us instead a BMW 320i instead.

Thrilled, we made for the Autobahn. Once on the road, I setup my camera on the dash and we did a little Top Gear style review of the car. Brian seems pleased, but perhaps that was because he had the pleasure of driving. From the passenger seat, I quickly began to despise the car.

The seat was obnoxious. You could only raise the seat by getting out of it - hardly practical at 120 km/h. It was awkwardly angled as well, so I couldn’t get my bum comfortably positioned. And there was nowhere to put my arms.

Besides that, the ride was incredibly stiff. Every little bump in the road made my guts jolt about like James May in his high speed boat ride. My bottom was sore by the time we’d reached out destination. Thankfully, I’d been too tired to care and simply slept most of the journey.

Road Trip from München to Bad Kreuznach in a rented BMW 320i

Road Trip from München to Bad Kreuznach in a rented BMW 320i

There were, however, a few parts for which I was awake. Wide awake.

Being the Autobahn, there is no speed limit in certain sections. So when the opportunity presented itself, Brian gave it the beans, so to speak. I took some proper video of us dashing along at ~220 km/h (~128 mph). Not surprisingly, those bouts of high speed were pretty exciting.

Secondly, our route (shown on my slick GPS map!) took us through the Black Forest, which was presently not black at all. In fact quite the opposite - all white and gray. Everything was glazed in snow, and the deeper we went, the denser the fog became. Soon, we were unable to see off the road at all, and in front of us, we could only see about 100m. Or less. The fog was in some patches so thick, it had became dark, like a thunderstorm cloud. Fog so thick the sun cannot shine through it. But it eventually gave way and we left the forest. And I returned to my dazing and drifting to and from sleep.

I'm not sure, but there seems to be something amiss with the privacy door in the hotel

I'm not sure, but there seems to be something amiss with the privacy door in the hotel

We arrived, exhausted, at the Fürsthof Hotel. I don’t know how Brian managed to stay awake - perhaps he just liked driving. Nonetheless, we checked in and I showered. Doing so, I discovered a rather interesting feature to this hotel: the bathroom door was clear, and only partly frosted. You could see right through it! How bizarre…

We walked a few blocks east to a local restaurant for dinner, and by this time, Brian’s boss Hans had joined us. Smoking a small but potent cigar, the introduced himself. I politely replied “It’s good to meet you.”

“So… now we have to speak English, yes?” he commented, half jokingly. Clearly, Hans was a man of business, and he was all German! German! German!

The restaurant we dines at seemed to have about everything you could want, so because I hadn’t gotten enough of it at the club the night before, I ordered the Pizza Hawaii. It was overcooked and extra crisp.

Following the main course, though, Hans insisted on a round of espresso, which I normally wouldn’t mind. But this stuff was… black. So black, in fact, that is tasted burnt. I’m nearly positive that I’ve had espresso before and never like this. Gross. The burnt taste stayed an unwelcome length of time in my mouth and throat, and the mixture of it with Hans’ cigar was putrid. The after taste made for an evening-long unpleasantness and I guessed that a cigarette ash smoothie would taste about as delectable.

Our room at the hotel was hotter than blazes. After turning the heat off and opening a window to let in the 28-degree night air, the room settled to a tolerable level. But the sheets were crisp and loud, and I’m not sure either of us slept as well as we could have.

Elevation Profile
Speed Profile
GPX Driving Log

Written by jarrod.carlson

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