I'm going to be in Germany next month on business and will be within a few hours of the Nurburgring. Being so close, I want to take the opportunity to visit, and ideally experience the track first hand in one of the 'ring taxis. Does anyone have experiences or recommendations? On a related note, I'm going to do some sightseeing and am not sure if I should head west to Belgium and the Netherlands or east to the Czech Rupublic, Slovakia, and Hungary. I will be there during Oktoberfest, but I'm not sure if I want to deal with the huge crowds in Munich. Recommendations?
Last edited by shooterschmidty; 08-15-2016 at 07:34 AM.
IIRC, ring taxi's usually sell out 6 months in advance (at least the BMW and Porsche ones do - not sure about others). You could hang around the line and see if someone will give you a ride, sometimes people are accommodating. The ring itself is.. a bit out there. It's kind of like being in the middle of Alabama. There are a few English speakers, but nothing like the ease you'd have in a major city. There's *nothing* to do at the ring other than the ring itself - and the electric go karts are bullshit. You can always drop coin and rent a race car - I did 6 laps in a Suzuki Swift and 1 lap in a BRZ. I used Rent4Ring, zero language problems, and they have an NB endurance car they run at the ring. Be warned, no amount of forza is going to prepare you for the real thing.
If you're not able to drop a grand on a ring rental (I think my 7 laps came to around $600 USD.. major bucket list item) I would definitely do Oktoberfest. See if you can find someone to give you some korn (German Moonshine). And be aware that german beers are sneaky ******* - 5 beers deep and you'll feel slightly buzzed, maybe just starting to slur. Beer number 6? You'll be blackout.
Belgium is interesting historically if you're a war buff, but largely meh. It's diet french. Netherlands are awesome, but I was up in the northern bits of Groningen, never got to stay around Amsterdam. Good times though, Dutch are friggin amazing.
Thanks for the input. In your experience do you think it'd still be possible to find a place to stay in Munich at this short of notice? Any other areas of Germany you'd recommend. I've been to Munich, Ulm, Lindau, and Salzburg Austria previously.
I'm on my way home from my european adventures and figured that I'd update the thread in case anyone has similar questions. I did end up going to the Nurburgring and hired one of the taxis (ringtaxi.de/RentRaceCar) which was a great experience. It's not cheap, but definitely worth the experience. I originally booked a 911 GT3, but a buddy stationed in the area wanted to join so we switched to an M3. It would have been fun to drive on the track myself, but I think the hot lap from someone who knows what they're doing was the way to go. I'll try to link to the video below. In the same vein, I also rented a Cayman GTS from the Porsche museum in Stuttgart for a couple of hours. The good is that it's an amazing car, and the bad is that I'm now more likely to drop a large chunk of change on a used Cayman.
I did go to Oktoberfest which was a blast. I almost didn't go because it was a long train ride out of my way, but it was definitely worth it. I'd love to go again and spend a couple of days. The people were friendly with the exception of a few obnoxiously drunk Brits (which incidentally, seems to be a pattern in Europe), the food was delicous, beers were great, and dirndls were out in force.
Finally, I ended up spending a couple days each in Budapest and Prague. Of the two I prefered Budapest because it's less touristy and more low key than Prague, but still has some cool nightlife ("ruin bars" are a delightful mix of Falllout and the Mos Eisley cantina). Prague was also gorgeous, but WAY more touristy and crowded. It would be a great destination for a guys party weekend, but wouldn't be my first choice for a repeat visit.
Netherlands are awesome, but I was up in the northern bits of Groningen, never got to stay around Amsterdam. Good times though, Dutch are friggin amazing.
Groningen is exactly where I went when I took a day off from work in Papenburg and drove west.
Didn't really "do" anything much per se, just sort of walked around and admired things. Very pretty town, and the people there were extremely friendly and accommodating of English-speakers. Cool cafes, good food, great scenery if you're into old cities.
Bremen is also an awesome city in which to spend a day and a night. Very cool vibe, great beer, cool old churches, lots of architecture...