Autobahns and all!

IMG_4702The second day of landing at Stuttgart, we made our way to the Mercedes Benz museum. This is a private museum unlike any other with cars right from the beginning of the automobile era. An auto enthusiast would be thrilled to see the evolution of cars, but I am no cars person, per se. A museum least attracts me. First of all, I like see the things in their natural places, not showcased in some glass case or a velvet podium. This applies to cars or animals or human possessions. This is just me. Anyway, it was an interesting start to our tour of Europe. Something about Europe that is different from the US is that businesses close early on weekends, much like 7 PM on Saturdays and 5 PM on Sundays. The streets were deserted except where there was that occasional restaurant open. Stores in Germany cannot sell alcohol after 10 PM – good idea given that liquor is a bit part of life in this part of Europe. Our drive from Frankfurt to Stuggart the previous afternoon had consumed nearly 3 and 1/2 hours for the 200 km distance mainly due to weekend construction work on the roads. Driving on the autobahns was something I had never imagined I would ever do even though I have driven a lot in the US. I was always thinking the idea of no speed limits is just crazy and was intimidating to me. Friends had talked about cars speeding up behind up to you at high speeds. The right lanes are meant for driving and the left lanes are used only for overtaking. So if you are not overtaking and you have space ahead of you, then you are not only an offender but you will have the honor of receiving that very rare honk. The rental car was just supremely comfortable and was loaded with safety features such as collision detection and blind-spot and lane assistance. Later on our trip, these features helped me a couple of times at least in braking fast and detecting collision not to mention helping parallel park on busy and crowded Stuttgart streets. We had considered taking the well known rail system for the entire journey but the thought of driving up to Vienna was enticing enough. Added to this, rail travel isn’t inexpensive either in addition to added time, but very convenient nonetheless.

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