The Nordschleife at the Nürburgring is one of the most famous racetracks in the world, being twenty-two kilometers of twisted track through the forest in south-west Germany. While it is possible to drive your own car around the track, those who want to experience it at its best should consider hiring the BMW Ring-Taxi, a standard specification M3 driven by a professional driver.
The experience is more thrilling than any roller coaster. In basic terms, the driver pushes the car to the very limit; drifting around corners; slamming on the brakes from speeds of over two hundred kilometers per hour; and accelerating as fast as the 420 HP engine will allow (which is pretty damn fast). It was particularly entertaining to watch all the other cars on the track swing out of the way while our taxi screeched past. Our ride took just over nine minutes from start to end, but it seemed to go much quicker than that. I'd have loved a second lap, but at €195 per ticket (good for up to three people) the Ring-Taxi falls into the category of special treat rather than regular activity. I'd particularly recommend it for those with an interest in motor sport, but in all honesty I'd encourage everyone to give it a try. I'm certainly going to go back in the future when the budget allows.
3rd July 2011
An ambulance was driving through the gate as we walked into Eifelpark. We found it parked next to the Eifel Coaster, a Wiegand Alpine Slide; it seemed that a previous passenger had overdone things and come off a sled. If we'd been in a park in the United States the ride would now be closed for months while the legal action was settled, but this being Germany it was business as usual; the person who'd wiped out took responsibility for doing so. American readers take note!
As alpine slides go this was one of the better ones, other than for the staff insistence that I couldn't let the mother and child in front of me get a proper head start. It also served as a vantage point for finding the Familien-Achterbahn (#1638). Placing a coaster like this one at the top of a mountain is an act of unusual cruelty for visiting coaster enthusiasts, especially when the tram service doesn't operate continuously. It took us twenty minutes of strenuous uphill walking to reach; those on a tight schedule should take note that this park requires an absoute minimum of one hour just to do the coaster, and longer if you want to try any of the other attractions.
3rd July 2011
Our final stop of the day was to ride the recently relocated Holly's Wilde Autofahrt, a Wild Mouse that I've now ridden in three different amusement parks. At the time of writing my database doesn't support multiple relocations, so I'll just note that I'd been on it before at Dreamland and the late Loudoun Castle. Since my last visit Holiday Park has been purchased by the Plopsa family of parks, and this new ownership was easily spotted in the colourful theming on the new ride; my guess is that the Plopsa management will be tidying up this park even further over the next few years.
We also took the opportunity to do two laps on Expedition GeForce. This ride has been retrofitted with new side bars on the seats at some point over the last few years, but these don't affect the ride quality or comfort in any way. Though the tracking is not as smooth as it used to be, the overall experience is still well up there with the very best roller coasters in Europe.