You know when a RoadTrip is heading in the right direction, when the First Stop is hosting an International Beer Festival. And whilst I’m no Fan of Football, the European Cup coinciding with our arrival certainly made for a lively atmosphere..!
Trying to find a Bar that doesn’t have 200 Drunk Punks in however, becomes a bit of a chore. You need to go off the Beaten Track, search out doorways to courtyards, listen for silence, and eventually you’ll find somewhere without a Television that will serve you the most Refreshing Pint of Hoegaarden you have ever had after the opening 230 Miles of a RoadTrip.
Then the problem becomes that leaving said spot is a gamble you’re not willing to take until you’ve had 5 of those Hoegaardens. Maybe 6.
Trans Euro Express Co Pilot, Map Holder and Head of In Car Entertainment, Hollie, is a Vegetarian, which in Europe makes you an Outsider. They don’t even have a word for it, they just pronounce the English word in their own accent. You’re someone from a Distant Galaxy, who represents a Lifestyle so Alien that they simply do not understand the concept. Ham is offered as a Vegetable, Cheese is a Comfort Zone you can never really leave, and Lo Carb Diets are a futile pursuit. You go straight to the Sides section of a Menu, and hope they do Chips that aren’t fried in the Blood of something, or some Bread that doesn’t sit under a Lump of Pate. It’s a good job Hollie likes Cheese.
I am a different Kettle of Fish, I eat everything. I am an Omnivore. Specialising in Offal. So Europe, here Belgium, is good to me, and after devouring a couple of plates of Raw Something, and a couple of different ways of presenting Herrings, I moved to the Beer Menu. Yes, a Beer Menu.
Booze is a universal language that everyone speaks [more or less], and in Belgium the dialect is Beer. It is not held back by the Four Pillars of Production unlike Germany, so experimentalism is the name of the game. Any fruit, any flavour, any strength; Beer doesn’t have rules, more guidelines.
More backstreet meanderings and we found Billie’s Bar, or as they say in Belgique – Bar Billie. Perfecto. And they served Kernel Table Beer too, which presented a refreshing drop in ABV to a soberingly mild 3%; which actually was just what I needed after a Barrel’s worth of punchy pales.
Antwerp is a beautiful City, and to be honest, I wish we coulda stayed a little longer to look around, maybe hook up with Bart Kuykens, maybe just spend some time being sober there. But the Alps were calling, and we still had to get through Germany, so after a very pleasant night’s stay at Rosier 10, we motored on..
Derestricted sections of German AutoBahn are a 911’s Playground, even **cough** old ones, because it’s not about doing 120MPH [yes, it is], it’s the freedom to do 120MPH [see, told you] if you want. Which I did. So I did. And the Pig loved it.
Howling, roaring induction in Top Gear, hunkered down to the Black Top, purposefully mainlining it to an End Goal. The Odometer clicking over rather unceremoniously to 99,000 through a Roadwork Section somewhere in the South West of Germany.
Rolling into Stuttgart after a day in the Bucket, didn’t come too soon. We had been on the Road all day, pushing through Roadworks and watching the Miles count down. 350 of them. I was pretty tired, and rather than make the Porsche Museum with only 20 or so minutes before it closed to rush around it, I decided that we’d hit it the next day. Which would be Monday. When the Porsche Museum is closed. Scheisse.
Stuttgart. Another Hotel, another Car Park, another Photo Opp.
Only one thing was going to make me feel better about that Porsche Museum blunder. Beer. German Beer. Served with Meat. And Cheese [for Hollie]. Late arrival into the City meant that the night would be a short one, for an early next day departure, and a 250 Mile push to Grindelwald in the Alps, with hopes of a mid afternoon arrival.
Tomorrow, we’d be in the Alps. Tomorrow, the real Adventure would begin..