The Nordschleife as a Tourist
Friday, June 15
The rain from the previous evening had lingered into the morning, and although not strictly raining anymore, everything was a bit damp, the skies still low and gloomy., Today was kind of a wind-down day; there were no exciting events upcoming any longer - Tourist lapping was not possible today because the track had been reserved from now until Monday for the Nürburgring Classic - a weekend-long celebration of all sorts of classic road and race cars.
Instead, we decided to play tourist for the day - visit points of interest, maybe go to some of the spectactor areas and have a look at whatever cool old cars might be running around the track.
First off was Nürburg Castle - a nearly 900-year-old structure that stands atop an old volcanic cone (long ago eroded down to a forested hilltop) , on the highest point of land in the area. The castle is situated off-center within the loop of the Nordschleife, near the southern part of the track. The town of Nürburg sits nestled at the base of the castle.
View of the Eifel
The castle is strictly speaking more a ruin than not, having going through bouts of being conquered, neglect, and usage as a quarry. Several restorations were done, starting first in the 16th century but more conclusively and in a preservation mindset after 1950. Nowadays the castle's structures are stabilized and preserved in their semi-ruined state. It is visitable for a small fee of a few euros, which Luke and I did.
The old stone walls and dank little open-skied rooms exuded an air of antiquity. The irregularly-shaped courtyards were mostly now occupied by nice green grass. The central, highest tower was in the best state, fully roofed and with a function spiral staircase that we used to access the top. There was an awesome 360-degree view of the forested Eifel Hills, and - if you looked carefully - you could see snippets of the Nordschleife here and there. It was strange to think that in every direction you looked, there was a bit of track somewhere. We spent some time trying to get a sense for the path of the racetrack through the undulating landscape.
The new GP Complex
After visiting the castle, we headed over to the "new" Grand Prix Complex, built in the early 1980s along with a modern F1-class racetrack. The old Sudschleife loop was decomissioned and mostly demolished to accomplish this. Current F1 races, when they are held at the Nürburgring, are held on this track. Everything is modern and large and spacious at this new complex, which we visited to see if we could find some souvenirs and trinkets that struck our fancy.
We spent much of the afternoon checking out a few of the most popular Nordschleife track viewing spots, taking in the parade of classic old Porsches and Opels and Mercedes-Benzes and Alfa Romeos. A lot of old Alfas especially - there seemed quite a lot of those.
After our day of being a tourist (as opposed to the much more fun tourist-driving), we headed down the main strip of the town of Adenau, selecting a quaint restaurant with an outdoor patio. The gloomy morning and day had transformed into a beautiful evening, with warm sunlight bathing the old half-timbered styled buildings in old downtown Adenau.
[ final notes before departure ]
Morning coffee at the track cafe - Watching some Porsches - Swag gathering at various places - Visited the new Nurburgring - Watching classic motor cars (practice) on the Nordschleife - Mum and Dad would love seeing some of them - Dinner outside at a nice town plaza in Adenau - Last evening here - Discovered I haven't been paid yet. Grrrrrr - Checked in to Montreal at least - Can't get boarding pass for Ottawa - Early morning drive to Frankfurt tomorrow.