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Sightseeing Southern England { 0 }

Since the baby is due to arrive in a couple of weeks this summervacation was the last with only the two of us. Therefor we decided to take the Roadster and enjoy the English countryside for two weeks. We didn’t make any plans nor any reservation so each night we had to find a new B&B.  At least, that was the one plan we had. I had been in Southern England for a couple of times with friends, to visit the Goodwood Festival of Speed near Chichester, and always loved the scenery, the people and most of all, the roads! After a nice ferry-crossover from Calais to Folkstone we started out in Canterbury, which is truely a lovely city. I knew the place from my English Literature class (The Canterbury Tales) but for my girlfriend it was nothing more than a nice, old English town with lots of cute shops… From there we drove to Battle and Hastings and ended up in Brighton (nice!). B&B’s are not very hard to find but do start searching for it at the end of the afternoon, lots of times you’ll find the sign ‘sorry, no vacancies’. That evening we ended up in a caravan in the backyard of nice couple that had rented out their rooms to some Fijin guys for 3 months. They worked on the railways and earned in this period of time a Fijin yearsalary… The next day I wanted to go to Littlehampton because I had stayed there in a B&B called ‘the Racing Greens’ while visiting the 2005 Festival. Sadly we found it to have ‘no vacancies’ but just around the corner there was a seeside B&B where we could drop our bags. After a heavy night, because of drunk schoolgirls screaming under our window, we had coffee in Arundel (lovely) and by accident passed a sign ‘Goodwood House ->’ further up on the road. Finally I had the opportunity to show my girlfriend where those carcrazy guys were going all those years. First stop was the Circuit:

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The next stop had to be Goodwood House. Because the Festival was about to begin (in 3 days) I wondered if I could get us in. The small backroad I knew from our previous visits was still unguarded so I speeded the M through the mud and ended up at the lawns behind the House (where we once played soccer with a drunk JayKay). The next step was to get past the guards at the gate where you enter the place where The Cartier Style et Luxe is held. Those 3 guys were amazing; ‘how the hell did you get in!?’. I told them I wanted to show my girlfriend around the place I had visited for six times already with friends. ‘So why not buy tickets? It’ll start in 3 days!’ I pointed them the big pregnant belly and the started to laugh. ‘Alright my friend, I haven’t seen you!’ and they all turned around laughing even harder. That’s how we got in and could drive around the place:

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If you haven’t visit the Festival yet and you are a carnut, then shame on you! The atmosphere is great, as are the cars and the drivers!

After a good drive up the hill and back to the starting line we left Goodwood House at the entrance gate. From here on we drove all the way to Wareham in Dorset and found a horsefarm with a big room available. The owner was a 65-year old guy called Tom and he was great.  Because the weather (and the farm) was so nice we stayed here for 4 days of which 2 days we spend at the beach at Lulworth Cove (amazing scenery!).

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The last day we went to Monkeyworld, the largest rescuecenter for primates and apes in the world. Dorset is beautiful, simple. The last home of Harry Patch in Wells was the next stop. That meant we had to drive north. Not much of a problem with the BMW. Since my girl was now a bit used to the power and speeds I could drive it harder every day! Wells and the nearby city of Batch are both characterstic English towns, very nice. 

The next stop was Porlock in Exmoor Somerset. I once read a Colin Forbes novelle which played partly in this area. It’s a cute little village with a small harbour at the Bristol Channel from where you can see the contours of the Welsh Coast. Even better is drive up to Dunkery Beacon, the highest point of Exmoor, from where you have a great view over the Moore and the Channel.

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The next stop was Croyde with it’s giant wide beaches. You have to see it in real to believe how overwhelming wide the beach is. There’s a narrow road starting in Braunton that leads you high up alongside the beach to Croyde.

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There we found a B&B farm again of which the lady of the house rented rooms for over more then 55 years! We had a very good meal in the local pub (unlike all the prejudices I must say that in general the pubs serve very good meals) and the most quiet night ever. From the north we then drove to the south, the next Moore, Dartmoore, home of the Hound! This area must be the one with the most narrow roads in Southern England, miles for miles singletraffic lanes with high hedges on both sides. At least we had the roads almost entirely for ourselves. Again we found a beautiful farmhouse with again a lovely old couple that gave us a warm welcome. From our room we could see the English Channel, what a view. The next two days were our last and we decided to take the central route passing Stonehenge on our way to Folkstone again. After exactly fourteen days we arrived in Haarlem tuesday july 6th at 20.00 Hours, just in time to watch the semi-final Holland vs Uruguay!

The Z4 M Roadster was fantastic. We could drive it with the top down every day, luggage space was sufficient, we even came home with a lot more then we started our trip (we now have a decorated babyroom and well-filled drawers full of baby cloths!) and it is made for trips like this. Even fuel economics were not too bad! On top of this it is absolutely very exclusive. Since I have it I never saw another one, only two Coupe’s. I don’t know if I want to sell the car, only if somebody will pay a normal price I will let it go. It is just too good fun to sell it at a bargainprice!

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