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  Southern Section diary

 
Planning started in January with Sussex covered in 3 inches of snow. Who would have thought then that one of the biggest challenges in our visit to the BMW factory in Spandau would be #riding the distance in some places of 35 degrees C!

The tour centred around a visit to the BMW factory in Spandau, Berlin, en route it was proposed that we visit Colditz Castle, the 3 dams, and Nurburgring, making a circular route through some excellent country roads and using as little as possible of the Autobahns 
The group consisted of 8 riders, 3 - 1200 GS , 2 -  R1150RT, 1 - K 1600,and 2 - K1300 RS machines

DAY 1, Folkestone - Calais - Hotel Waldhotel, Hurgenwald = 240 miles 
With 5 riders assembled at the Euro tunnel for departure and 1 rider taking a later train (and arriving before the group - how did he do that?)  2 other riders chose the Portsmouth to Dunkirk route, arriving some hours after we had all finished our first beer at the hotel.  The hotel was located in a wooded valley in the Eiffel Mountains offering excellent walking country, if we’d had the time

DAY 2 , Hurgenwald - Vine Cottage, Pirzenthal = 110 miles 
A more relaxed riding day saw us passing through Koblenz and on to the Nurburgring circuit. Our hotel was Vine Cottage, owned and run by Bob Brown, an ex biker from Leicester. This is a unique venue with a “Trust beer” system. Just write your consumption in the book, and a free juke box, combined with Bob’s own sense of humour, and a great English breakfast together with, an enjoyable evening spent watching England winning in Russia.
Ready for the off
Relaxing watching the World Cup footie at The Vine
DAY 3, Pirzenthal - Wasserchloss, Colditz = 271 miles 
Not such a relaxed ride today, with road closures and poor diversion signs, combined with temperatures of 35 deg C.resulting in a 9 hour ride  But it was well worth the travel with the hotel being an old Schloss, complete with a moat, near a clean river for swimming. Offering very spacious rooms and beautiful views, it came in all for £31 for a single room, including breakfast. This would make an excellent base to have ride outs into the surrounding area, next year?
Day 4 Colditz - Berlin Ibis Hotel, Spandau - 171 miles 
Again, with the temperature around 33 deg.C, and road closures on our chosen route, we were diverted around Leipzig with its associated heavy traffic. Not very pleasant
The Ibis was chosen as a convenient location to the BMW factory and the train station for anyone wanting to visit the sites in Berlin. It was not chosen for its location next to a very busy and litter strewn streets.  Very un-Germanic. However, we did find an excellent restaurant in the old part of Spandau.
DAY 5 Visit to the BMW Factory - 3 miles 
A most interesting visit. 1 motorcycle made every 70 secs, with 20 different variants in the production line and a daily production of 4000 parts. More focus is made on building custom made variants, and we witnessed a bike being custom made for a Chinese customer. No bikes are made without a customer order. The guide was asked about the building of a new 1200 engine - no comment was the answer, but he did point out the construction of a new production line. Watch this space.
Thanks to Ewan and Charlie the most popular machine is of course the GS 
The imposing sight of Colditz Castle

One of the escape tunnels - POWs were obviously thinner back then (modelled by the sveldt  Steven Rafferty!)
Visitors alongside some of the POWs

A replica of the glider built as an audacious escape attempt by the POWs
Visit to Colditz Castle - 5 Miles 
The tour of the Castle takes 3 hours and was guided by a very knowledgeable, Steffi Schubert. Since I last visited the castle, they have introduced a replica of the glider built by English POWs and located in the loft.  A remarkable tour not to be missed by anyone interested in this period of history.
Day 6  Spandau to Hotel Waldraush, Goslar = 164 miles
Once out of Berlin, we passed through Potsdam, a truly delightful town surrounded by lakes, we headed to the ancient town of Goslar in the Hartz National Park, again another location for future ride outs.  Hotel Waldraush is a small 4 star hotel complete with indoor swimming pool and sauna , providing accommodation in summer and winter for the skiing fraternity,to be recommended .
Day 7 Goslar to Meschede Hotel, Meschede = 174 miles 
Most enjoyable ride through the Hartz National Park with the GS contingent taking the twisty routes. This hotel has the longest name, “Meschede Tip Top Landhotel Hutter”, and certainly was “Tip top”, with excellent service, and food served in a garden atmosphere, making it well deserved its 4 stars.
Day 8  Meschede back to Vine Cottage, Pirzenthal = 160 miles 
Starting our journey home via the three dams famed of the Dambuster raid, The Mohne, Sorpe, and Eder, all en route, more or less. Some said “When you have seen 1 dam, you have seen them all”, so it may have been a longer, twisty route, for them. 
Arrived at Vine Cottage and much required beer after another hot ride, together with Bob’s chicken curry, thankfully, not too hot.

Day 9 Vine Cottage Pirzenthal to Hotel Waldhotel, Hurgenwald = 102 Miles 
En route, a second visit to the Nurbugring and taking the opportunity to purchase the obligatory tee shirt. We attempted, unsuccessfully, to find a viewing point around the circuit, but an interesting visit, none the less.  Great riding the Eiffel region.
 
Day 10 Hurgenwald to Calais, Euro Tunnel - 240 miles 
Most riders rose early and were riding by 8.30 to complete the final thrash, across Belgium to the Tunnel. Due to road works before Liege, my satnav diverted us through the back streets of Liege; could have done without this confusion, though, before arriving at the Tunnel terminal a little ahead of schedule.  My departure was 16.20 but somehow managed to blag my way onto an earlier train, arriving in Folkestone around 16.00 pm
 
HOME RUN REFLECTIONS 
Even same brand satnavs select different routes 
Typical average speed was 45 mph, so riding time is expanded 
It was B…. hot 
BMW visit well worthwhile 
Colditz Castle: Every time I visit, I learn new facts - POWs amazing men 
Total distance travelled 2050 miles from Haywards Heath, used 500 ml of oil 
Wasserchloss Castle Hotel outstanding location and £31 inc breakfast , must return. 
Our thanks go to David for arranging this entertaining and informative adventur, and for his excellent report..

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