Finally I got a chance to take on the autobahns of Germany. And it was a lot of fun! With a bit of coaxing Mathewji, finally agreed to trust me on my driving and we set off in a rented Toyota Avensis. It didn’t start off too well, with me being not very comfortable with driving on the “wrong side” and with the might and size of the 178 bhp Avensis compared to my poor old Maruthi 800 that I became too used to in India. But it all took just a little bit of time to get used to. Once I was in the autobahn, it all came back to me… I touched my personal land speed record of 120kmph in less than 60 seconds and rewrote history to go up to 218kmph. That is a number that I am not going to forget for quite a long time.. woohoo! :)
Our first destination was a place called Obersalzberg. We intended to go to a place called Eagle’s Nest up the mountains, but unfortunately too much snowfall meant that we couldn’t go. We headed towards the next place in the list Berchtesgaden. The main attraction was a visit to a salt mine that was constructed in 1518 and still in operation. We had to wait for 3 hours to get in, but it was well worth it. We had a great time going deep underground and seeing how stuff works inside. It was excellent with a roller coaster like ride down a shaft and a lake inside (yes an underground lake!) complete with a boat ride through it! It was so much fun.
By evening we headed towards Salzburg and crossed over into Austria. We had some trouble finding the hotel we were staying in despite excellent help from our navigation system. Anyway once we were there we decided to explore the city in the night. It was truly an enchanting place. No wonder it produced a musician like Mozart. Very peaceful and serene and well preserved too. Next morning again we had bad news. The famous ice caves were also closed because of the snow. So we decided to spend the morning in the Hohensalzburg, the castle overlooking the city. It was nice, and had excellent views of the city from above. There was also a nice Museum inside.
By afternoon since we had nothing else to do, we decided to do some road not taken trips. We drove to a place called Kaprun. The drive was excellent through small beautiful country roads of Austria. But even there we were unlucky as the treks were closed due to avalanche. Sigh! Spirits were a bit dampened, but we anyways headed back to Plochingen, and I also got a chance to drive in the city. It almost ended up in a disaster with me not judging a kerb properly, but luckily nothing happened except that my confidence was dented a little bit. Kind of like god’s way of saying – don’t get too comfortable son, you are driving in Germany! hehe.
All in all I did enjoy the trip a lot despite not being able to visit all the places. For me it was the journey that was important, not the destination.. I got to drive!! :)