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Old 16th September 2011, 00:30   #76
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

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Originally Posted by bluevolt View Post
Very nice write up and pictures tanveer; rating five stars. To be honest this is first TL of yours which I am reading and this has urged me to read all your previous TLs as well. Pardon me for that.

Please don't let us wait for long and pour in the beautiful pics of your tour.
Thanks bluevolt! I hope you will like the other tlogs also
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Originally Posted by rlakhanpal View Post
Excellent write up Tanveer. Europe is THE place to drive around. Have been planning a driving-vacation for many years now, but hasn't worked out yet.

Gearing up to spend hours reading through this travelogue as it unfolds. Thanks for sharing all your experiences. As I mentioned in one of your earlier threads - consider writing a book. Better yet, plan a coffee table book with the amazing pictures you have from all your travels.

Now some OT -

@Team - I have a valid Schengen multiple entry visa for the next 3 years, issued by the Dutch embassy for my official trip last month. Now, if I travel to Europe as a tourist, say in December this year, would I still need to start my journey from Holland? I would rather "do" just Italy for a week - do I need a fresh visa?

@TSK - Did you feel the need for an IDP there? I drove just once in Switzerland back in 2003 without the IDP and our office driver mentioned it wasn't necessary till the time I had my Indian DL.

Looking forward to travelling Europe through your experience in the coming days. Cheers!
Yes, you will need to get a new schengen visa if you want to make italy your first destination.
As for IDP, the Austrian rental company just asked for my Indian license.
But I am told italian cops give you grief for IDP
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Old 16th September 2011, 00:52   #77
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Default Re: An Evening in Wein

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As you can see, car population of Europe is very different from what we have in USA. Cars here are smart, Mini, Fiat 500, Fabia and various other small cars. Even the BMW 1 series is popular. SUVs are extremly rare, and so are large cars like the big mercs and VWs.
.. and no white pregnant buffalos..

Must have felt jeolous about choices available for diesel hatches..
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Old 16th September 2011, 09:06   #78
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Default Re: An Evening in Wein

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.. and no white pregnant buffalos..

Must have felt jeolous about choices available for diesel hatches..
Yes, you are right... but there are some really horrendous things available there, which will make our "PWB" look like a supermodel
As for diesel hatches, If I had been living there, it would have taken me a decade to chose a budget diesel hatch, because I would have needed to take atleast 150 test drives!
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Old 16th September 2011, 17:32   #79
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

The most amazing thread for sure!! The pics are just... Don't have words to describe!! @tsk1979: AWESOME!! Thank you for this wonderful and lovely treat!!
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Old 17th September 2011, 00:48   #80
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Tanveer,at the outset I must say that you have taken some real good pics,it must have been quite a whirlwind trip,considering that you did 4 countries in 9 days.You have a unique writing style and it is a pleasure to go through your TL.Keep it up.
Ever thought of travelling to Europe by car? Would love to do that some day.
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Old 17th September 2011, 15:08   #81
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Amazing travellogue Tanveer sir. And a great decision to 'do' Europe. Considering you completed your trip with such reasonable expenses, I can sense a lot many Team BHPians gearing up for the same, me included

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramanjit View Post
Ever thought of travelling to Europe by car? Would love to do that some day.
OT: Know a relative who did the same in the 70's. Flew to Kabul and went by road the rest of the way, via Iran. But since it was not a road trip (he wanted to migrate to Europe), the tales he narrated are so harrowing they still send a shudder down my spine everytime I recall them.
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Old 17th September 2011, 17:05   #82
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Wonderful TSK. The photos are amazing. Waiting for more esp Autobahn stories...
Some of the friends tell that signages are in local languages and you need an English GPS.
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Old 17th September 2011, 17:50   #83
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

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Wonderful TSK. The photos are amazing. Waiting for more esp Autobahn stories...
Some of the friends tell that signages are in local languages and you need an English GPS.
As per EU Norm, all signages need to be in Local Language and English IIRC. Also the colour and the specification of the signages is same across EU.
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Old 17th September 2011, 18:04   #84
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

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As per EU Norm, all signages need to be in Local Language and English IIRC. Also the colour and the specification of the signages is same across EU.
Actually, switzerland is different in color coding from rest of EU (Autobahn signs are in green background instead of blue).
Other than that, there is no question of signage language.
Countries which are signatories of some international traffic agreement or something, follow common "signs".
As for writing, most of Austria/Switzerland has Not parking ends and begins sign in german.
So its Ende at many places.
Moreover, exists are written in german as Ausfahrt

So you have to know a little bit of german to drive

So when you have a sign with no parking and anfang you know that no parking begins here.
Same sign with Ende writtens means that no parking ends here.

The best bet would be to get the drivers handbook, and see what do all signs mean.
Only for parking and exits you need to know how to read german, for other stuff, if you know the signs(like for no entry), you are good!
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Old 17th September 2011, 18:43   #85
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Hurry up dude.. post up! This isn't ladakh that I would have ten other backup travelogues to fall back when you are slowing down.
Please get on with the story.. my wife has already opened a new bank account where we will (means she will) save for a tour like this.
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Old 18th September 2011, 00:17   #86
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Good going Tanveer!!! Exquisite pictures. Please do some watermarking. These pics inspire plagiarism.

A trip of this scale and detail requires good prep. And sometimes it is so engrossing. To read about the places and then form an opinion. Deciding what to skip and what is surely not to be missed.

Good point you mentioned - Tap water is drinkable in most of Western Europe. But it never hurts to confirm. Even the taps in the bathroom have drinking grade water. In fact many a times I've used the plastic tumblers, in bathroom sinks for rinsing mouth, as a glass for drinking water from the sink tap, when I had no bottle around.

Punching the ticket on a Metro/Tram/Bus is something that is a non supervised activity in many a countries in europe. I personally know of Germany, Holland, Austria where I've seen this.

I visited many countries when I was in Europe for a long term assignment but never got around to see Hungary and Switzerland. Hungary Wasnt a part of Schengen then and I didnt see the point in visiting switzerland while I was single.

I have visited Austria but not Vienna. Which is the other city you visited in Austria?

Waiting for the driving part to surface soon.
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Old 18th September 2011, 10:02   #87
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Tanveer,
This is a superlative TL. As always the pictures and the narration are simply superb. In the 90's I had seen glimpses of Europe thru the lens of Indian filmakers like B. R Chopra and others in movies like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and others. Now it is thru your TL.

It has whetted my appetite and added one more item on the list of "things to do". Surely I gotta do Europe, but first will have to do Ladakh and Rajasthan.

Keep it coming mate and power to your camera and keyboard.
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Old 18th September 2011, 23:21   #88
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Default Day 2 #1: Guten Morgan Wein

Its 6am, which, frankly speaking is quiet an ungodly time to get up.
Good mornings are those when you get up at 10am. Even better ones are those, when you get up after noon.
That said, today it was not really a problem. Reason number one. It really costs a lot to go to Europe, as opposed to say, Narkanda. Or even Kalpa, or even Ladakh(which is quite expensive in its own right, when you compare it to Narkanda). Anyways, as I was saying, due to the expense involved, every single second spent sleeping feels a second wasted.
Second reason of 6am being okay was that it was not really 6am. IT was 9:30am IST, and our clocks were still on India time, and we hoped to keep it like that on weekend India time. I.e. wake up on or before 10:30am IST.

So we got ready, and made tea. How? You may ask. Well its simple. The golden rule of any travel is never forget your towel, and your kettle.
And sugar, and tea bags and milk powder, unless you like it black. Tea and coffee is very expensive in hotels. Not just in Europe, but all over the world. Finer hotels give you free kettle and tea and sugar, but remember, on a budget trip, you cannot assume that your hotel will give you a kettle.
And since I am mentioning kettle, let me also tell you that our 2 pin plug fits the Europe 2 pin plug perfectly, but due to the weird shape of the plugs, you need an adapter if you need to fit in something with 3 pins.

So a universal travel adapter is also a must have.

After our tea break, it was time to head for the "Free Breakfast".

The dining room was pretty full, and there was a big bus parked outside. These were our fellow inmates. A gaggle of European toursits, most probably from some college. There were some older people, which I presumed to be doctoral or post doctoral students.

And this meant, that breakfast would take time.

Now, when you say continental breakfast, you have to remember that its very different from what you have here.
First of all, if you are a vegetarian, it means cheese, cornflakes and milk for you, with bread of course. If you are Maneka Gandhi, you cannot have the milk, you will have to eat cornflakes, with dry bread. You cannot have cheese

If you are a non-vegetarian, you have more choice, esp if you do not bother which animal the meat came from. But everything is cold. The salami is cold, the cheese is cold, the bread is cold and so are the fruits and the juice. But the latter two being cold is a good thing, because I am sure apple fry or juice tea wouldn't interest anyone.

Finally, when you get over the cold meat hangover, you can really stuff yourself. For example. Cheese.
Now Cheese is full of fat, salt and energy.
Fifteen slices of cheese can make you go on for the whole day. And the milk is very very tasty. So one kg of milk, 10-15 slices of salami, 10-15 slices of cheese and couple of slices of bread.
This is all you need.
However, eating so much can result stomach issues of undesirable kind, so I would advise you to eat half of this, and you are ready to survive Europe.

Now you understand why breakfast is more important than WiFi.

Breakfast done, we step out, and I click the first picture of the day.

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Its the street adjacent to our hotel.
A very interesting thing about Austria is the flowers hanging from the windows.
Almost every window. Cities still do not have so much flowers, but Vienna is somewhat of an exception.
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We decide to catch the tram, since we were not going to city center.
We were going to schonbrunn palace. A major tourist attraction of Vienna.

Its a Sunday, and tram is empty.
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The reason is simple. ITs not a working day, so the rush is less, and secondly, holiday season is over, and from tomorrow people will head to their jobs. So all we would see is old people, and really old people. And they normally travel in groups of hundreds in a big huge bus.


We get down, and I need to click something. Only thing I can click at a tram station is... a Tram
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Its barely a 10 minutes walk to the palace, and soon we are looking at a yellow colored building.
It does not look like a palace at all.
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And then it was time to wonder, is it all there is to see???

Last edited by tsk1979 : 18th September 2011 at 23:56.
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Old 19th September 2011, 11:38   #89
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

The window with flowers is gonna be my cell wallpaper....great going TSK !
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Old 19th September 2011, 11:41   #90
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramanjit View Post
Tanveer,at the outset I must say that you have taken some real good pics,it must have been quite a whirlwind trip,considering that you did 4 countries in 9 days.You have a unique writing style and it is a pleasure to go through your TL.Keep it up.
Ever thought of travelling to Europe by car? Would love to do that some day.
Quote:
Originally Posted by avisidhu View Post
Amazing travellogue Tanveer sir. And a great decision to 'do' Europe. Considering you completed your trip with such reasonable expenses, I can sense a lot many Team BHPians gearing up for the same, me included



OT: Know a relative who did the same in the 70's. Flew to Kabul and went by road the rest of the way, via Iran. But since it was not a road trip (he wanted to migrate to Europe), the tales he narrated are so harrowing they still send a shudder down my spine everytime I recall them.
thanks for your comments
I am not that adventurous! So I guess no driving "to" Europe yet
Quote:
Originally Posted by RGK View Post
Wonderful TSK. The photos are amazing. Waiting for more esp Autobahn stories...
Some of the friends tell that signages are in local languages and you need an English GPS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lsp View Post
Good going Tanveer!!! Exquisite pictures. Please do some watermarking. These pics inspire plagiarism.

A trip of this scale and detail requires good prep. And sometimes it is so engrossing. To read about the places and then form an opinion. Deciding what to skip and what is surely not to be missed.

Good point you mentioned - Tap water is drinkable in most of Western Europe. But it never hurts to confirm. Even the taps in the bathroom have drinking grade water. In fact many a times I've used the plastic tumblers, in bathroom sinks for rinsing mouth, as a glass for drinking water from the sink tap, when I had no bottle around.

Punching the ticket on a Metro/Tram/Bus is something that is a non supervised activity in many a countries in europe. I personally know of Germany, Holland, Austria where I've seen this.

I visited many countries when I was in Europe for a long term assignment but never got around to see Hungary and Switzerland. Hungary Wasnt a part of Schengen then and I didnt see the point in visiting switzerland while I was single.

I have visited Austria but not Vienna. Which is the other city you visited in Austria?

Waiting for the driving part to surface soon.
We visited two more cities in Austria, more on that later.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajneeesh View Post
Tanveer,
This is a superlative TL. As always the pictures and the narration are simply superb. In the 90's I had seen glimpses of Europe thru the lens of Indian filmakers like B. R Chopra and others in movies like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and others. Now it is thru your TL.

It has whetted my appetite and added one more item on the list of "things to do". Surely I gotta do Europe, but first will have to do Ladakh and Rajasthan.

Keep it coming mate and power to your camera and keyboard.
Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by rxpaul View Post
The window with flowers is gonna be my cell wallpaper....great going TSK !
Thanks paul!
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