Thursday, January 20, 2011

We Drove Across Spain Before Lunch

Casa de Something, Estoril. We stayed in under $125 a night hotels. 
        For a while I had a wonderful job.

        For example I said to Tom Bryant, the editor-in-chief of Road & Track, “remember the days when there really was grand touring and you drove across Europe from one Formula One race to another in a fast, luxurious car?  How about I go to the Portuguese Grand Prix for a weekend, then drive across Europe to go to the European Grand Prix in Nurmburg, Germany the next weekend. Stay in nifty places and Road & Track will pay for everything."
    And Tom said, "Great."

                 I'd cover the races and we would stay in under $125 a night hotels so my piece would be a practical guide to great places to stay without spending a fortune as well as an up close look at the movers and shakers at the top of Formula One.  Here's some snapshots taken at the track.

World Champion Damon Hill finished 2nd
World Champion Alain Prost would later buy Ligier
World Champion Mikka Hakkinen

In the paddock.  Ron Dennis in the Middle


           After the race we drove up the coast of Portugal and stayed in a small hotel on the beach. In the morning we watched the fisherman push their boats into the sea as fisherman have done in boats like this for over a thousand years. Under the beauty of the old boats and the spectacle of challenging the ocean, there was the grit of brutally hard work, small catches, and almost no money at all.

           We drove up to Oporto, and out along the Douro Valley.
  My companion wearied of sliding around hairpin after hairpin turn.  So we drove across Spain before lunch.  At a steady 155 mph the M3 was at ease and so were we.


We stayed in San Sebastian, next to France. In several ways, I believe, San Sebastian is the most delicious city in Europe.

 And the next day drove to the Nurburgring in the Eiffel mountains.
The M3 and the Blaue Ecke in Nurmburg
Where Dario Franchitti demo'd Juan Manuel Fangio's 1955 Mercedes W196, the one that won the world championship. The next day Michael Schumacher won the European Grand Prix in front of his home crowd.
It was a good week to go to work.

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