Autobahn. No Limits. No Fear

Trip Start Aug 01, 2005
Trip End Nov 22, 2005

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Flag of Austria  ,
Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Autobahn. No Limit. No Fear

The good thing about being overseas for an extended period of time is that you can change your itinerary and go to places on a whim. (Or if a whim is not available, perhaps a car). And so we decided to detour from our planned route and head down into the Austrian Alps to the beautiful city of Innsbruck. We gave Lizzie our instructions and bade farewell to Natalie, Frida and Rolf.

Again a heavy cloud sat over Munich but as we headed towards the Austrian border there was brief glimpses of a blue sky. Or at least I think there was as I was so concentrating on driving I couldn't take in the beautiful scenery. We had hired a manual car and as I was sitting on the wrong side of the car, changing gears with my wrong hand and driving on the wrong side of the road it was a difficult experience. This coupled with the fact we driving on the Autobahn made it an adrenaline experience like no other. The autobahn has no speed limits and many drivers try and see how fast they can go. I was doing 150kph and was being overtaken by everyone; it was like I had a handbrake on. As my confidence grew I drove faster and even ventured into the fast lane to overtake, but still most cars would pass me.

Germans make good cars- BMW, Mercedes, Audi and VW and so they all have new and fast cars. We would be driving along approaching 180kph and all of a sudden in my rear view mirror would be a new Merc that appeared out of nowhere and wanted to move ASAP. Occasionally we would get to a built up area and the speed limit would be 80kph but these cars would do twice that. Rolf told me that Germany actually has a comparatively low death rate on the roads, which I find very surprising. I must however give credit where it is due- the roads in Germany are fantastic as is the signage. We might have even been able to manage without Lizzie. Actually I doubt that.

Fee told me the scenery was spectacular; we were driving through the Alps. As we are coming out of summer there was only snow at the very top but the lower regions were a lush green and there some fast flowing rivers running beside them at times. In winter it must look fantastic. During our trip we have experienced some terrible border crossings but today's was the easiest- all of a sudden there was a sign saying Welcome to Austria, so we guessed we had crossed the border. God bless the EU.

Travelling at great speeds, we got to the picturesque town of Innsbruck very quickly. We drove around for a bit before we found a pretty little pension that had a free room where we could rest our weary heads for the night. Leaving Lizzie to mind the car we wandered around the old town of Innsbruck. It really is a stunning city. Surrounded on three sides by the Alps the town itself is full of colourful Bavarian (or Northern Austrian houses) and cobblestone streets. As you know I am a fan of cobblestone. Again only the very top of the Alps had snow so we can only imagine what winter would like here. Well we don't have to imagine we just looked at the postcards they had. Fee was disappointed that it wasn't snowing (it was cold and wet but that isn't the same) as it really would have been lovely (and she needed an excuse to wear her beanie).

For lunch we drove as far up the mountain as we could to sit and eat wiener schnitzels overlooking Innsbruck. We could have gone to the very top of the mountain by taking a gondola but at 20Euros each (almost $40 each) for a five minute ride it was to expensive. Damn the EU. So we ate near the top and imagined what the view would be like from the top. (Well we didn't need to imagine -we just looked at the postcards).

As we sat on the balcony outside our pension overlooking the city lights we were both glad that we made the spontaneous decision to come to Innsbruck, Austria.
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