Monday 17th July - Das ist gut
Cedric had left early in the morning for work so we fortunately had the house to ourselves. Time to scrub all the Goodwood grime off our bodies and present as decent and clean ralliers! So incredibly lucky that Cedric let us park in his driveway, he said if we'd parked on the street a lot of the locals would have stolen stuff off our car. Our Panda would have been bare naked by sunrise! We packed up the car and were out by 9am for our drive to a town called Kirchanshöring in Germany. We had another couchsurfing home booked there for the night with a bloke called Chris. It was going to be a big day of driving, nearly 8hrs all up. We were quickly realising though that our little Panda's lawn mower engine meant we'd need to add another two or even three hours to that estimation.
Our first stop for the day would be Luxembourg. A tiny country of roughly 580,000 people. We arrived in Luxembourg around 12pm ready for a big lunch. It was quite hard to find parking, there was plenty of undercover parking lots but the height of our Panda meant we'd never be able to get in. We pulled over to have a think about where we could go and found some parking officers who were checking cars. Natalie and Haylee went to have a chat to them and get directions to a nearby parking lot. Patrick and James stayed with the car and happened to meet an Italian family who wanted to take photos of our Panda. They explained that it's their ten year old son's dream to do the Mongol Rally, what a little legend! Hopefully in ten years time he'll book his spot on the rally and look back on his photo of our car for inspiration.
We managed to find a park in a big lot just ten minutes walk from the city centre. Luxembourg was full of locals and tourists, we suspected it must have been a public holiday because there was barely anyone at work and restaurants were full. We filled our stomachs with a delicious meal, however, were pestered by a bunch of bees that were keen on landing in Natalie's coke and James' lamb chops. Following lunch we all grabbed a little trinket from a souvenir store to mark our time in Luxembourg then walked back to the car. Another glorious rally car had parked a few spots up from us! What are the chances? We walked over and saw their team name, Team Turbo Snail. They must have been in the town eating lunch. We managed to post a 'spotted' photo on the official Facebook page, they returned the favour and posted one of our car too.
It was around 2pm when we left Luxembourg to continue our journey into Germany. We pulled over in another 2 hours to fill up on petrol, our poor little Panda proved to be a very thirsty little car and was constantly requiring a top up. James and Pat also checked the tyres and oil. Onward we drove for another three hours, it was creeping into the evening and we discussed stopping for dinner. Haylee found a town called Leiphaim that was an hour away with a Bavarian restaurant supposedly next to a castle. We aimed to get there around 8pm, everyone was getting quite tired, it had been a very long day. Our fuel was running super low on the way to Leipheim but fortunately Miss Panda got us there. We filled up and drove 1 min down the road to the restaurant which was also part of a hotel. As we were parking we could see the locals looking at our car and commenting on it with awe. They waved as we walked into the restaurant.
The restaurant ended up being an awesome little find. Service was a little slow but that's because the owner didn't speak English and needed the young waiter to look after us. We all ordered traditional German food; they were ridiculously big servings. None of us even managed to finish despite being half starved when we arrived. The manager came over to have a chat with his broken English, he sussed us out first though. "American? Britannia?" "No we are from Australia" we replied. "Ahhh Australia?" His attitude completely changed after that. We suspect we'll constantly be mistaken for Americans on this trip, which is why our car is covered in Aussie stickers. He started telling us the restaurant/hotel we were in is over 400 years old! He then said (yada is to be replaced by actual German words) "yada yada yada Schnapps?? Yada yada house, yes?!" We understood schnapps so said "yes of course" He ran over to the bar and got us four shots of schnapps, we figured out later on that when he said house he was giving us the schnapps for free. Legend! It pays to not be American or British! The younger waiter explained to us as we were leaving that the restaurant has been in his family for over three generations. They showed us a super old painting on the wall depicting the restaurant in the 18th century in front of the castle within Leipheim. Such an awesome find! Very glad we ate there.
On our way out the locals waved again while they were eating and wished us luck on our trip. We pulled into the nearby servo to see if we could buy stickers for our headlights. As we have a British car that's a right hand drive our headlights point to the left instead of the right. There are stickers that you buy point the light in the correct direction, however, our left one decided to bugger off leaving only the right one on. It's illegal not to have them so we looked at the servo for some. They didn't have any unfortunately. Two coppas were filling up their car at the same servo, they smiled at us as Pat was walking back to the car then walked over to us! We tried to act innocent and not let on what we were looking for in the shop. They wanted to ask us about the rally and wish us luck. We quickly drove away and passed a group of five coppas sitting at their car, luckily they didn't notice our lights. We pulled into another servo three mins away but they didn't have the stickers either. We decided we'd need to do our own work on the headlights to at least get them pointing downward. James pulled out his spanner and started redirecting the light on the left. This seemed to do the trick and would (fingers crossed) not get us pulled over.
Onward we drove until we hit Dachau in two hours. It was getting very late. Haylee had looked up a Hostel which might be able to take the four of us, it looked like we weren't going to make it to our couchsurfing home. It was going to be tough getting there before 11pm which is when we thought the reception closed. If they couldn't take us for the night we'd have to drive around town looking for a hotel or campground which would be tiring. Dachau was a sleepy city by the time we arrived. Haylee ran up to the front door at 11:10pm and knocked, it was all locked up. She knocked again, some people staying there let the staff member in the back room know about her and she came to Haylee for a chat. Haylee explained we'd been driving for over ten hours, really needed some beds and were from Australia. That seemed to do the trick! The women was incredibly nice and understanding. She said we were very lucky because she was about to go home. She explained she wouldn't even be able to process our payments due to how late it was, but regardless gave us a four person room and key. She'd get her colleague to collect our fees in the morning. She waited ten minutes while we all went to get our bags and then went home, we gave her a little koala for being so awesome. She really saved our bacon!