Warning: Excuse my bad writing skills
The week after the TAI
meet in Bangalore, I left for my deputation to Vienna, Austria. It has been three months now and I had been only to Bratislava for a short trip. There is nothing much to write about. It is a small city and I didn’t cover much places.
My colleagues were planning for a trip to Chiemsee and I joined in. Including their families we were 15 of us so initially we had decided to take the train because the plan was to return on the same day. But since it was a weekend, after a few discussions, it was decided to stay back in Munich after visiting Chiemsee. After some more discussions, it was decided to rent cars. Finally three Hyundai i30’s were booked. On Saturday morning, we all assembled at the Europcar office to pick our cars. We had to under go a lot of formalities and finally we were told that the Hyundai i30’s are not available though we had booked it as there was some shortage due to the peak season. They gave us one VW cross polo diesel, one normal diesel polo and one Seat petrol hatch. Though I have good driving experience, I refrained from driving one since my friends were already behind the wheels and also the fact that it was a LHD. We set our GPS and left for Chiemsee. Soon we were on the beautiful highway. The route was very scenic and as you all know, the German highways are automobile enthusiasts delight. The highways are full of Audi’s, BMW, Porsche, Range rovers, RR etc… you name it and the highways have them speeding at 200+ on the autobahn. The legal speed limit is 130kmph but there are some stretches were there is no speed limit. I sat in one of the polo’s in which my colleague was driving and his driving was pathetic (hope he doesn’t come across this thread). The other two cars were maintaining a good speed.
For some reason there was a slow moving traffic and we decided to pull over for a short break. In the parking lot I was having a closer look at the car and sat in the driver’s seat thinking, is it so difficult to handle a LHD?
I got the car keys of the polo and started the car just to feel it. Then I thought I will quickly take a small spin across the parking lot and tried to engage the reverse gear. This is the first time I am driving polo so I was unable to engage the reverse gear though my friend guided me to press down the gear knob and engage the reverse gear. Finally he changed the gears for me and I took a small spin around the parking lot. I had a grin on my face, as I was comfortable with the car. I decided to give it a try and requested my friend and he immediately agreed. So there I am, on the highway on the last lane studying the car for a minute and then switched to the middle lane. Increased the speed to 100-120 and drove it for 5 minutes. Now I was confident enough and increased the speed and switched over to the fast lane and soon I was driving between 140-160 kmph. The roads are so good that I didn’t feel like I am driving in that speed. So from then on, I completely took over the driving of that car for the entire trip.
People don’t honk in Europe(my experience). The moment we see a car approaching in the rear view mirror, we need to switch the lane and give way. If we don’t give, they are allowed to flash once. Flashing more than once is considered an offence.
We reached Chiemsee at noon and parked our cars. The lake is very huge and the locals also call it as ‘Bavarian sea’. There is a beautiful castle on the island and we took a ferry to reach the island. The fountains were very beautiful outside the castle and after spending some time on the island, we returned back to the banks and we had a swim in the lake and then left for Munich.
The sun sets at around 8.30pm so we were able to cover the major distance during the daylight and reached our booked hotels by 11pm. It was raining and after spending some time in the hotel we went to burger king and had dinner after which we dozed of for the day.
The next day we left for the BMW museum (I will open a separate thread). We had to fill fuel to our cars and we reached a bunk. My friend took the nozzle and was about to fill the diesel and to our shock, on the fuel lid it was mentioned as ‘unleaded fuel only’! So we had 2 petrol cars and only the cross polo was a diesel.
About the car – it was then I realized the polo is a bit noisy for a petrol hatch. I drive a K10 back home so it is just based on my experience. Also, I felt the leg room is less for me while driving especially for my right leg due to the dash board (I am 5’10) or may be it is a new experience because of the LHD. I was quite comfortable at the rear seat except for the thigh support. Over all the comfort and highway stability was good. I really enjoyed the drive.
We visited the BMW museum, Olympic tower, and Marienplatz. The view from Olympic tower has a very good view of Munich. It was very windy though but we enjoyed it since the climate here these days is high (33-38c). There are some figures in the tower of Marienplatz which performs some dance to commemorate the end of plague thrice a day (11, 12 and 17 o’clock). Luckily we were there at 17.
Finally, we left for Vienna at around 6 pm. After we reached half way, it started raining heavily and the roads were not visible due to the rains but thanks to the German highways, still we were able to drive at 120-130 kmph. We finally reached Vienna around 11 pm.
We covered a total of around 1000 kms. It was a memorable trip and for me the driving was an awesome experience.
PS: I was driving for the whole trip so couldn't click the 'right' kind of pics so please excuse me guys as I was excited to drive. However, I will open a new thread shortly and flood the pics of BMW museum