How meeting a couple in a bar…
Led to an afternoon surrounded by automotive splendour.
It started innocently enough as we relaxed in Hausbrauerei Altstadthof in Nuremberg after a day exploring this town, and it's beautiful Christmas markets.
Janis and I pulled up two seats to the bar, ordered our drinks and settled back to enjoy the evening, and reminisce over what a fine day we'd had, and how shortly we'd be heading to our 4th Christmas destination in Germany, Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Then that thing occurred, that happens to all of us when we travel, we hear a familiar accent. We'd pulled up to another couple of Brit's. We struck up a conversation, and one of the topics was the shock retirement of Nico Rosberg and the availability of one of the hottest seats in Formula 1. When the conversation turned to our final destination, Stuttgart, the question arose.
"Are you going to the Mercedes Museum then?"
The short answer was no; the Christmas markets had been the focus of the trip.
The second reason, we drive Audis - and we have done for over 15 years. I should be heading to Ingolstadt, home of the four rings, not Stuttgart - home to not only Mercedes but also Porsche.
So in a moment we had a new item on our agenda
We decided the best idea was to head there on the day of our arrival. The run from Rothenburg ob der Tauber was only just over 90 miles/150km, and we were going to be on the autobahn 😉
Our itinerary now contained something very un-Christmassy
Would you believe it?
The Mercedes-Benz museum sits on Mercedesstraße or Mercedes Road, opposite a huge Mercedes-Benz site.
You'll also pass Mercedes-Benz Arena & the Porsche Arena on the drive to the museum - You're very much in Germany's 'Motor City'
Once discreetly parked up at the far end of the car park, which as you've probably guessed is about 70% Mercedes anyway, we head to buy our tickets.
Start at the beginning
After purchasing your tickets, you are shepherded towards an elevator, that looks like it's taken straight from Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis, that takes you to the top of the museum, and the start of the story.
The exhibits are priceless, and detail how Carl Benz & Gottlieb Daimler independently shaped the future of the motoring world.
As you follow the spiral slope downwards, you step through the timelines of the two corporations of Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft & Benz & Cie.
Exhibits detail how Gottlieb Daimler's 'Grandfather clock' engine found applications in more than just motorcars.
The journey through time
As you follow the slope between levels, the global storyline is played out, touching on the impact of the First World War, and the struggles that followed along with the merger of the two corporations in 1926.
All the while you get the opportunity to marvel at the wonderfully maintained cars that represent key moments in the timeline.
Along the timeline, the brand comes to the blip in its history - Its collaboration with Germany's National Socialist Party or Nazi's as we know them. There was going to be no avoiding these dark years in the company's history.
From the darkness comes light and I am sure you don't have to be a car lover to appreciate the beauty of some of these creations.
The beauty goes deeper than the skin - the interiors of these cars are works of art.
This timeline continues right up to present day, and Mercedes-Benz's PR department have been hard at work highlighting the work that it has been making on environmental issues and sustainability.
On several of the floors is a separate area dedicated to a collection of vehicles that detail how Mercedes-Benz has been at the forefront of innovation.
The collections range from the broad areas of motoring the brand reaches into, from the 'Gallery of Voyagers', with its buses, taxis, people carriers and the like.
Through the 'Gallery of Carriers' (Trucks & utility vehicles), 'Gallery of Helpers' to the 'Gallery of Celebrities'. Cars of the rich & famous like Princess Diana's 500SL, Ringo Starr's 190 E 2.3 AMG and even a Popemobile.
These collections punctuate the journey through time.
Then perhaps my favourite section
The section dedicated to motorsport. Here there are true legends, a gallery of some of the most notable racing machines ever built. The list of drivers that have raced for them equally impressive.
You'll find a selection of interwar racers, the original Silver Arrows. The likes of the W25, W125 & W154
The glorious 300 SLR '722' of Sir Stirling Moss that triumphed on the 1955 Mille Miglia. The number comes from the car's start time of 7:22 am.
This hall of fame takes you through its Le Mans victories with Sauber; it's truck racing exploits, the DTM battles it's waged against the likes of Audi, BMW, Opel, Alfa Romeo - to name but a few.
Before arriving bang up to date with its latest F1 Grand Prix cars
I leave the museum satisfied, a worthwhile diversion from all that gingerbread & gluhwein.
Inspired to visit the Merdedes-Benz Museum?
Are you inspired to pop in - perhaps combine it with the German Christmas markets as we did?
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