UCR members, with friends from Rennsport and Niagara Regions, enjoyed European Porsche adventures in September, visiting Germany and Austria.
The scene: Hockenheimring, Outdoor Adventure Track. The vehicles: Porsche Cayennes. After a short instructional session on setting up our cars, moving our seats closer to our steering wheels to ensure our shoulders did not move from our seats when turning, we ventured out on to the Adventure Track. After navigating through a water feature with underwater hazards and attempting to balance our cars on a teeter totter — a lot more difficult than it looks — we were ready for the first test. A drive up an 80-degree incline. You cannot see where you are driving when looking through your windshield. All you see is sky. Using the car’s forward cameras is a necessity to stay on the course and see whether you’ve reached the crest of the hill. Foot on the brakes, foot on the gas, release the brakes and gun it up the hill.
First victim. Several tries to make it to the top. Second victim. Similar story. Third victim. Will they make it up in one try? No. Fourth victim. Amy. Like on a shopping trip, and without drama, Amy drives straight up and stops easily at the stop. Beginner’s luck? Learning from others’ mistakes? Or just listening to the instructions. The ladies win the day at Hockeanheimring Outdoor Adventure Track.
You could also talk about Keith and his missing luggage and the group buying him some clothing (Porsche wear of course) at Hockenheimring. Or Re: Octoberfest, what happens at Octoberfest stays at Octoberfest.
Don and Jennie Brown, Zone 1, Niagara Region, Rochester, NY
The best part of the PCA UCR Ultimate Porsche Germany Trip was meeting all our new Canadian friends! You often hear in PCA that it is not about the cars but the people—this is really a true statement. It was so much fun to travel with this group through Germany and Austria. We truly feel that we made some lifelong friends and hope to participate in more UCR Zone 1 events, and future travel journeys.
As we look through our trip photos, the highlights and experiences are never-ending, and we can’t believe how much we did each day. Every experience was fantastic, with a nice balance between our Porsche car addiction and sightseeing.
The fantastic weather created the backdrop for some wonderful memories and photos. We loved every moment of the planned events and the impromptu visits to the Red Bull Hanger-7, Porsche Stuttgart dealership, and the general discovery of walking the streets, castle gardens, and city squares at each stop.
We loved the architectural mix of the historic buildings and towns, and the contrasting modern architecture of the Porsche and BMW Museums, Munich Olympic Site, and Hanger-7; it was really inspiring and will influence our future garage build. The Octoberfest tents were also extremely impressive with their whimsical facades and timber frame construction. Of course, the Porsche Experience Center and spending time on the Hockenheimring was fantastic.
It is starting to convince us that there might just be something to these water-cooled Porsches over our 50-60 year old air-cooled cars. We started our trip with the Rhine River cruise and ended our trip at the Eagles Nest and in Vienna, and with each daily adventure our friendships grew tighter with all our UCR travel mates. As we were flying back to Toronto from Austria, we both commented how we felt like we have know everyone for much longer than just two weeks and how we will miss them.
Lastly, a special shout-out to tour director Jurgen, and bus drivers Eric, and Rafa. Jurgen’s informative and witty sense of humor along with Eric’s skillful driving made for a fun and safe journey.
Thank you to all our new UCR friends for your kindness and adoption of two Americans on the Ultimate Porsche Germany Trip. To all of you, and with special thanks to Stefan and EF for all their coordination efforts, we raise our steins and eat a celebratory schnitzel to living and driving well! Eins, zwei, drei, zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi hoi hoi! G’suffa! Prost!
Rob and Roxanne
This was our second trip with a few familiar faces from 2022 and many new ones. Jurgen the tour director was a welcome sight when we arrived in Frankfurt and gave us a welcoming hug. A wonderful start to an outstanding trip!
The tour itinerary was great, but the real pleasure was going to all the stops with a wonderful group of people. We had a great experience as we shared each stop with our fellow travelers. Each person added their own perspective and insights to the locations: Heidelberg Castle, Sinsheim Museum, Porsche Experience Centre Hockenheim, Hangar 7, Salsberg, Vienna and others.
Special shout out to those who could sing songs from the Sound of Music at the Salsberg filming locations like the Mirabell Palace Gardens (Do-Re-Mi) much to the annoyance of Jurgen who explained that Germans and Austrians don’t have the same affection for the film as North Americans.
With assistance from Jurgen, the group did a great job filling in the free time with something for everyone: attractions, shopping (extra special shout out to Cliff and Amy as shopping champions!), and wonderful dining locations. We had a wonderful lunch at a monastery during an unplanned stop in Melk.
When we arrived at the Eagle’s Nest/Kehlsteinhaus, the elevator built in 1937 was out of service and we had to climb the final 124m up the side of the mountain to the top. Fortunately, the elevator was working by the time we had to leave.
I am unable to include any commentary or photos from Oktoberfest due to the Oktoberfest Code of Silence vow.
We had wonderful weather on most days with temps in the mid to high 20’s allowing the group to enjoy the spectacular alpine scenery and the bustling cities.
We had a great walk in the Munich English Garden with enthusiastic sightseers Don and Jennie from Rochester where we successfully navigated to the back yard of the restaurant where we were having dinner.
Our tour of Salzburg coincided with the celebration of the local patron St. Rupert’s Day, so the town was bustling with vendors, parades, and visitors. We had to employ a high-tech method using the tour guide headsets to find one of the group who had wandered away in the vast crowd. No one was left behind.
At the end of the tour, we welcomed the chance to go home, sleep in our own bed and reflect on the many sights we got to see with our new friends.
Lakmini & Brian Ebbinghaus
It’s easy to talk about the big “highlights” of a trip like this which seemed to have one scheduled every day! For us, it’s often the smaller moments beyond the itinerary that make a journey truly extraordinary and resonate personally. We’ve always been lovers of art, design, food and drink. It was wonderful wandering the streets, exploring and having the chance to meet locals to discover what they love about their cities. The many photos we took reflect what we loved and are passionate about. This trip allowed us many such moments, a few of which we are happy to share with you in the following series of memories.
Our Rhine River Cruise took us through an idyllic landscape full of castles, villages and vineyards, concluding at the village of Rudesheim am Rhein. We had heard about a Vinothek Georg Breuer, a short walk away from the busy tourist spots of the village. After a chat with our host Tim, he poured us a glass of wine and allowed us to take our time exploring their ancient stone wine cellar located below. The beautifully lit cellar caves were full of the history of the company. Our tasting experience included their Reisling portfolio along with the rest of their current wines. It truly was an exceptional opportunity in a winery with such an iconic heritage, more than worth the walk for the experience.
An evening walk searching for a late-night bite in Mannheim led us to a beautiful part of the city with a stunning fountain and lovely porticoed courtyard. We found a very cool café that had just what we needed that night. An amazing Parisian-influenced interior, yummy entrées and a great bartender made our evening worth remembering.
A Disney fairytale with its incredible architecture and striking red-stone schloss on the hill is the best way to describe Heidelburg. You truly could just wander the streets for hours exploring what is a beautiful place. We stumbled on a gelato shop that was extraordinary. The charming guys behind the counter provided amazing recommendations with the assistance of Google Translate and some creative sign language. Their ‘Lemon Basil’ and ‘Forest Berry’ flavours provided wonderful taste experiences! They also recommended a local boutique distiller that used their fruit supplier. Again, Google Translate and helpful staff guided us through a fun tasting that felt like a tour of German flavours. A gorgeous bottle of Forest Berry liquor was added to our collection.
Track Day at the Porsche Experience Centre at Hockenheim was all about cars. Drivers were very excited as they got trained and ready to run while the rest of our crew explored, shopped and photographed. It was great fun to be on the trackside balcony with Ellie as the cars raced through their paces.
The best moment was watching the Porches return and the drivers disembark with a massive smile on their faces. The Porsche Team at Hockenheim went out of their way to make each part of the experience special. For Brian it was absolutely a dream come true. Every Porsche member signed his 1/18th scale 911 to create a one-of-a-kind souvenir of the day. The base of the model was further personalized by the signatures of the entire UCR tour on our last day.
Walking distance from our historic hotel was downtown Stuttgart. We explored for hours an incredible collection of public art, museums, galleries, churches and boutiques. Our evening was capped off sitting on a restaurant patio near the city centre, watching the sunset and enjoying a great glass of German wine. It was magical to see the striking architecture evolve as the city lights came on. As we wandered back, the hotel atrium was gorgeously lit with vivid purple light.
Not being beer drinkers, we weren’t sure about what to expect from the planned Oktoberfest adventure. No worries, it was a blast from start to finish! We made friends with the tables around us, and the time flew by. Highlights included: trading our chicken dinner vouchers for an ‘Schottenhamel Platter’ – which was a massive, elevated board full of German meats, cheeses, breads and condiments, supplemented by giant pretzels was a feast for our eight-person table! There was singing and dancing on benches and in the aisles to an amazing band. Being adopted by a crew of Brits celebrating a friend’s 40th birthday added to the spirit of the day. A great time was had by all 6,000 guests in the tent that day.
The Residenz München provided a spectacular day off the tour itinerary for Aman and Lakmini in downtown Munich. This royal palace was a series of opulent and breathtaking rooms in a building a city block in size. It was overwhelming in scale and beauty from the throne rooms to private chapels.
An incredible experience not to be missed! The day was further elevated by performances of classical music in the public square outside. The afternoon concluded with a fab lunch in a historic library converted into a café. Thanks to Dale for the museum recommendation and Juergen for directions to safely navigate the subway with ease. Munich had been identified as our best chance for some nightlife by our back of the bus team. Jai and Aman had been referred to a restaurant/bar by the bartender in our hotel, so off we went. A great dinner in a beautiful spot which ended in the subterranean ‘Nightclub X’ below. Surreal moment of the night… we are all in ‘Toronto evening attire of black, black and black’, the lightshow started, and the DJ got going, we realized that we were not up on the night’s dress code… most of the place was fully attired for Oktoberfest regardless of age; in dirndls, sneakers and lederhosen. It was like being in a club full of extras from the Hobbit! Totally worth it for the fun photos taken in the sparkly gold photo booth onsite. Please Note: we ‘did’ make our early morning departure the next day for Salzburg, but we may have napped a little on the bus.
Salzburg Cathedral was simply breathtaking, the art and Baroque architecture were stunning. We were fortunate to receive a container of locally mined salt blessed by the Bishop of Salzburg to commemorate the celebration of the city and church. Our day finished with dining at the rooftop Imlauer Sky Lounge, watching the sunset and the lights on the hilltop fortress. A gourmet meal, a great glass of wine and a scenic view of the city could not be beaten. Our PCA quotes the line “It’s not just the cars, it’s the people”, that was very true on this trip. Some of our favourite people moments included: chatting over breakfast with Dale and John; exploring a shared love of wine and travel with Juergen; enjoying anevening in Stuttgart with Ellie and Peter; helping Amy and Clifford climb up Kehlsteinhaus; and the many adventures with our back of the bus crew Jai and Aman. </>
Stories Compiled by Rob West | Photography by the Travellers