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Thread: Article: Holiday Snaps - Part 1

  1. #1

    Article: Holiday Snaps - Part 1

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    My wife Helen and I have just returned home from an epic 9 week holiday taking in England, France, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and Malaysia. Because she is from England, she holds the belief that Christmas should be in winter, not summer, and as such, we were there during the northern hemisphere winter.

    For me, being a petrolhead, I would have preferred going during the northern summer, so I could have taken in various historic racing and classic car events, but it wasn't to be. However, I was still able to get my fix.

    This is my multi-part series of motoring-related holiday snaps. Nobody likes seeing other peoples holiday photos, but these may be of some interest to a handful of you. As well as visiting four world class museums, including the BMW museum in Munich, the Le Mans museum, Cite de l'Automobile in Mulhouse, France, and Autoworld in Brussels, I also snapped various road side pics at random, of anything that interested me. The highlight was realizing a decades old goal of visiting Cite de l'Automobile,which centres around the incredible Schlumph brothers collection.

    I've broken this into four parts, because there are way too many for just one part. Here is Part 1, made up mostly of pics from the first part of the trip, including the BMW museum.

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    Our first stop was London. Its a city we know well, as we've lived there before, and its easy to use as a stepping stone to Europe. London is a great motoring melting pot, and its streets are lined with interesting vehicles. On stepping out of our hotel in Kensington, this Ferrari was parked on the side of the road, in among the various bland Vauxhalls etc. This is a common sight in London, as most people don't have off-street parking, and Porsches, Farraris, Jaguars, Aston Martins etc are everywhere.

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    From London we caught the EuroStar, and shot through to Paris. The trains in Europe are impressive, and can hit over 300 km/h, and are silky smooth. Poor planning on my part meant I missed my buddy Eric Broutin, who keeps his '67 Camaro historic race car in Paris, by a couple of days. From there we headed down to the Limousin region, before stopping in Bordeaux for a couple of days, then up to Amsterdam for Christmas. Helens brother and his family live in Amsterdam.

    We were last in Amsterdam ten years ago, and back then I was surprised by how many American cars there were. Thats still the case now, but these days the American cars are mostly Teslas, which are extremely popular. The Dutch have fully embraced electric technology. The Amsterdam streets are terrifying, many of which are made up of six lanes comprising two each for cars, trams, and pushbikes. The bikes are the most dangerous.

    Many cars in Amsterdam are electric, and range from BMWs right through to tiny one or two person town cars. As mentioned, Teslas are a common sight, including a lot of the taxis. The first ever ride I took in a Tesla was from Schiphol airport into the city centre.

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    I have a fascination with micro-cars. Most people consider micro-cars to be of the vintage variety that were popular in Europe during the 1950s, such as BMW Isetta etc. But modern day micro-cars are still popular today for inner-city commuting.

    This is a Canta LX, a car designed for people with physical problems who can't otherwise walk, rde a bike, or catch a tram etc. These cars are allowed to use the bicycle lanes. I assumed they'd be electric, but in fact are petrol powered.

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    This is a typical inner city electric commuter car, parked among the bicycles.

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    This Impala hearse looked completely out of place among the small Euros.

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    On visiting an underground car park where a lot of long-term vehicles were stored, I spotted this. I've never seen one before, and it was definitely pretty striking. Its a Fisker Karma, a short-lived high-performance electric car. I believe less than 2500 were made.

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    Helen's brother Martin owns an Alfa Romeo, and had to take his car to a dealership for a couple of quick fixes before setting off to Germany. I went with him, and snapped a pretty bad photo of this with my phone, parked in the showroom. This is the new Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio, packing 510 hp from a Ferrari V6. Price tag was 104,000 Euros. A few days later while travelling through Germany, we saw one on the side of the road that had been involved in an accident. Ouch.

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    More Teslas. During our taxi ride I spoke with the driver about these cars. He said they have a range of about 300 km. Although its now possible to re-charge to 80% in around 40 minutes, I'm still not sure this is an improvement over internal combustion power for long-term travel.

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    From Amsterdam we traveled to the beautiful village of Schwangau in southern Germany, near the Austrian border. On the way we stopped in Heidelberg for the night, where I grabbed this grainy shot from the footpath of a Maybach.

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    A two hour train ride from Schwangau brought us into Munich for a day trip. While there, we visited the BMW museum, located at the companies car assembly site and main headquarters. Unfortunately, I had less than an hour to spend at the museum, so this was a whirlwind tour in which I just snapped pics as I rushed through.

    For a one-make museum, it was interesting, with a large variety of exhibits, as you'd expect from a company which such a rich history.

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  19. #19
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Los Olivos, California, 93441
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    Welcome home Mr. Holmes, it is good to have you back.
    Ken H

  20. #20
    Thank you Ken, sorry I missed you at Taupo.

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