Our first trip to Germany was truly memorable and a big success — we’re already planning the second for 2020!
“IN THE BEGINNING I looked around but couldn’t find the car I dreamt of, so I decided to build it myself,” said Ferry Porsche, famously, all those decades ago, thus giving birth to the famous sports car company we all know and love.
I can empathize with Ferry. When I looked for a trip to see his remarkable achievements and explore beautiful Germany — taking in the automaker’s factory and museum in Stuttgart, the big Frankfurt auto show, the also-big Oktoberfest in Munich, with some castles, schnitzels and beer thrown in for good measure — I couldn’t find it, so I decided to build it myself. After some research, EF Go Ahead Tours, a professional travel company with operations around the globe, was selected to assist, taking advantage of its vast economies of scale to make the price affordable and the logistics seamless.
And so PCA UCR set off from Sept. 11 to 23 and the trip went exceptionally well. The weather could not have been more spectacular — sunshine every single day, a couple days even touched 30 degrees. On the final morning, as we prepared to head to the airport to go back home, we awoke to pouring rain, which really made us appreciate how good we had it.
The highlight was, unequivocally, the full day at Porsche headquarters in Stuttgart — complete with custom private tours of the factory for the 911, Cayman and Boxster, as well as the museum, lunch at Boxenstopp restaurant, free time to explore the museum and gift shop, magnificently topped by a multi-course gourmet dinner at Christophorus Restaurant with sparkling wine to celebrate this landmark club trip, overlooking Porscheplatz and the soaring 911 sculpture.
Think the Detroit and Toronto auto shows are big? Think again. My iPhone logged the most kilometres of the entire trip navigating around the sprawling Frankfurt Auto Show.
Think the Detroit and Toronto auto shows are big? Think again. My iPhone logged the most kilometres of the entire trip — and there were many significant walking days — navigating around the sprawling Frankfurt Auto Show. It was here where Porsche’s first all-electric Taycan sports car made its official worldwide debut and we were part of the action.
I had pictured Oktoberfest as a couple of flimsy beer tents with jolly old men drinking big steins of Germany’s tastiest suds, boisterously shouting songs and, perhaps, dancing on tables. Think again. This event was massive! Like a rock concert. People of all ages, families. All dressed up in lederhosen and dirndls. An estimated 100,000 revelers on the day we went. Truly memorable. Beer halls, and other attractions, a veritable amusement park to be sure, as far as the eye can see.
Another big highlight was the Rhine river cruise, an option that some of us ventured out on the first day. Imagine relaxing on the top deck of a boat, gently plying the waters, with a delicious cold beer or glass of wine, taking in a panoramic landscape slideshow of castles, hillside vineyards and stunning centuries-old towns. Paradise!
Other attractions we enjoyed included the photogenic old town of Heidelberg and its impressive large partially ruined castle, Nuremberg, the quaint walled town of Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, as well as other towns, castles and museums.
Destined for the record books just like Neil Aldrin and Buzz Armstrong, the 28 now-famous travelers on PCA UCR’s inaugural Porsche Germany trip were Alan Lomax, Peter Wassmer, Laurel Ward, Kevin Anderson, Kent Mascotto and Michelle Hancock, Eugene Peycha and Andrew Peycha, Paul Buttinger and Lorraine Buttinger, James Mann and Wesley Mann, John Agar and Mary Simpson, John Shaw and Susan Shaw, Dave Gartside and Judy Willan, Jackie Metcalfe and Mary Metcalfe, Tom Tanner and Donna Tanner, David Garriock and Roberta Garriock, Ian Garriock and Darlene Hanley, Marlene Walther (my mom and mastermind of the trip) and yours truly.
I shared a sauna with three naked German men. The Frankfurt auto show was epic and I spent two hours at the Porsche exhibit getting to know everything about the Taycan. I want one.
Laurel Ward reminisces, “I shared a sauna with three naked German men. The Frankfurt auto show was epic and I spent two hours at the Porsche exhibit getting to know everything about the Taycan. I want one. Stuttgart and the Porsche factory tour were beyond fabulous though I did this before with European delivery so I knew it would be. I ate and drank everything German and it was delicious — especially the spaghetti ice cream! I got to know Germany better and I admire the country’s focus on healthy lifestyle and wellness. I had more fun than I ever imagined and I laughed continuously for 13 nights and 12 days with our group. Yup, it’s not just about the cars but the people too!”
Alan Lomax: “We began as strangers, left as friends. We had great companionship as we shared our little adventures and saw some wonderful history and scenery. It goes almost without saying that the cars we saw were simply amazing. Of course, even though we all have our own personal favourite it was still great to see everyone so passionate about theirs and I thank everyone for sharing the enthusiasm. As a side benefit, I for one also studiously expanded my German vocabulary by just a few words, ‘Ein Dunkel Bier bitte!’ seemed to work every time for me!”Peter Wassmer: “The trip to Germany was simply fantastic!”
Gene Peycha, who came along on the ultimate family bonding experience with his son Andrew: “The Germany trip was great! The tour through the Porsche assembly line was very informative and made it very tempting to run out and buy a new one. Overall, it was very enjoyable but I needed rest when we returned home. Meeting the other club members was great and made me want to attend more club events in the future and learn more about my vehicle.”
Dave Gartside: “Schnitzel, beer, castles, love it!”
“Thanks for the memories!” Susan and John Shaw sum it all up simply.
So how does PCA UCR follow up and top such an extraordinary first effort? How about adding the brand-new Porsche Experience Centre at Hockenheimring (which was not yet open for the first trip) and driving various models, the incredible Neuschwanstein castle and a couple of days in the German Alps, plus a few other new attractions.
These are, of course, in addition to the must-sees — Porsche factory and museum, gourmet Christophorus Restaurant meal, Oktoberfest in Munich, Heidelberg town and castle sightseeing, Rhine river cruise. The Frankfurt auto show is biannual so 2020 is an off-year.
Schnitzel, beer, castles, love it!
All hotels will be top-of-the-line luxury. We will once again have a deluxe motor coach, expert tour director, local guides. Return flight from Toronto will once again be Star Alliance (Air Canada, Lufthansa) or similar.
Like the cars themselves, you cannot find such a custom Porsche Germany trip anywhere else. Special thanks go to EF Go Ahead Tours and Porsche AG in Germany, which graciously hosts our club and rolls out the red carpet for our members. The support and community that the company Porsche itself fosters with its owners and enthusiasts are truly exceptional — it is no wonder how the Porsche Club Of America has thrived so tremendously for over 60 years!
If you are interested in this second trip that will happen in just nine months, September 2020, do not delay. By the time you read this, registration has already opened, promotion is well underway via our monthly socials, the club website and social media, travel spots are limited. Several from the first trip want to go again and there seems to be lots of interest from others. So head to the PCA UCR website or call EF Go Ahead Tours today at 1-800-742-1731.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! </>
Photos by the PCA UCR Trip Travellers