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Old 29th September 2009, 14:54   #1
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Default Unplanned Road trip covering Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany

18 Sep – 25 Sep 09

My wife and I decided on a planned but last minute changes made it an unplanned and adventurous drive in the Alps covering Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany. 1666.8 Km, a Mazda 6, a Navigator, Alps, Churches, Castles, Mountains, Apples, Pears, Peaches, grapes, cows, horses, sheep’s, bikers, narrow lanes, cobbled streets, rivers, streams, waterfalls, trams, cyclists and more Alps and the feel at home fresh and intoxicating cow dung on the roads in Switzerland, what a feeling! A Swiss farm stay with a Swiss family in a house built in 1648. 75 percent of country side driving and 25% on the Autobahn

Its going to take me a couple of days to complete this travelogue and more pics, not by design but due to professional commitments.

Lets start with a few pics
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Old 29th September 2009, 16:13   #2
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Superb pics there babupaul - all pics look straight out of some fairytale story.

The irony of life is most "Unplanned" events lead to some of the best moments in life and you cherish them for rest of your life. Your pics came as a fresh breath of life (especially today is a bit stressful day@work).
Hope to see the beautiful countryside and autobahn pics soon
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Old 29th September 2009, 16:22   #3
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Mods: Could you please move this thread to Travelogues, not sure how it landed here.
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Old 29th September 2009, 17:34   #4
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Each and every pic is wallpaper material. Waiting for more...
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Old 29th September 2009, 17:43   #5
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Spell bounding pictures. Expecting more. Must have been a pleasure driving those roads.
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Old 29th September 2009, 17:45   #6
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Rental car right? Which one? Care to share how much was it? Your pictures remind me of a road trip we had from Nuremberg to Venice.

Last edited by clevermax : 29th September 2009 at 17:46.
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Old 29th September 2009, 17:50   #7
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@ arunu Superb pics there babupaul - all pics look straight out of some fairytale story.

I am glad that the pics made you feel better!

Back to the travelogue. Fortunately my wife and I love to travel, live the experience and blend with the local people understanding their daily life, customs and traditions. Our passion for travel has taken us through the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Goa and Tamil Nadu in India. Outside of India we have traveled to New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, US, UAE, Egypt, France and now the Alps.

Somehow the unplanned trips are the ones we enjoy the most coz it adds up to the adventure and takes us to places less explored, on occasions have slept in the car by the church and fuel stations.

A few of our Indian friends here in Cairo were planning for the Austrian trip and asked us if we would like to join. For travel or road trip all we look for is the place and the fellow travelers and since we were comfortable with both these aspects without any hesitation we responded in the positive and we started making the plans.

Dates were finalized, tickets booked, final 4, and documents all in order to apply for the Austrian visa.

Once we submitted all the required documents we got the visa in 4 days, quick and impressive, in a way felt good too.In the background we were working up the details, reading travelogues, checking cars, fuel prices, and weather and planning to map our journey and the places to visit.

As the planning continues we get a call from our friend and she has to travel to Japan and China on business for a fortnight starting the 9th of sep. Since we had planned to travel together we quickly decided to abandon the plans, cancel the tickets and were working on an alternate plan. For some reasons the so called alternative plans were not working out and my wife and I decided to go ahead with the Austria trip. On 15th Sep, checked the Austrian Airlines website for tickets and tickets were available in addition they were having a promotion to redeem Lufthansa miles for a free ticket at discounted miles. Redeemed 25 k miles for my ticket and booked a ticket for my wife, btw it’s cheap to fly to Europe from Cairo.

Since we had decided it to be a road trip covering the country side it was easier to decide on the mode of transport, checked a few offers from hertz and Europcar but the best was from Sixt offering a BMW 118 for 361 Euros for a week including navigation, did the online booking for the car to be picked up from Vienna Airport and return back to the airport on our departure.

18th evening we arrive in Vienna, immigration check was over in 10 secs, all the officer did was look at the visa and stamped the passport, never bothered to look for anything else, not even at our face or the picture on the passport, we were stunned but glad it was quick. Some walking and we were at the conveyer belt to retrieve our luggage and the entire place reminded me of the old HAL airport in Bangalore, chaotic, crowded and small. Picked our bags and headed for the Sixt counter, easy to locate, handed the booking receipt, Driving License and the credit card and in a few minutes she hands me the key and says that we have been given a car upgrade and a brand new Mazda 6, and the car is parked at 26, P4 and gives us directions to reach there and the ADVENTURE begins..

Last edited by babupaul : 29th September 2009 at 17:54. Reason: errors
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Old 29th September 2009, 18:19   #8
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Great!!! This is exactly the way I would've loved to do any day. Just that don't have the good company.
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Old 29th September 2009, 19:06   #9
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The weather in Vienna was pleasant, around 20 degrees, the parking lot was 5 mins walk from the counter, was a little confusing but managed to locate her @26. I like the excitement, there she is shining in the dark and looks real cool, quickly check her out and interiors are equally good, wife is impressed and we have forgotten about the BMW who is right beside her. All set, we get in, check the manual, the vignettes, and turn on the ignition and that’s when I realize it’s a Diesel car. The navigator welcomes us but we cannot respond back as we do not speak or understand German. The kid in me wakes up and I try playing around with all the possible buttons and options hoping something would miraculously turn it into English, 5 mins up, no luck and no one in sight, I am not liking it, what do we do? What if there are no options for other languages. Suddenly I hear foot steps and some voice approaching us and I look out to see another couple heading to their car. I quickly get out, walk up to them and ask the guy if he could assist me in switching the navigator to English from German, he smiles and says he is Spanish “but not to worry my wife is German and she could assist”. She sets it in English and we thank them and they leave.

I switch on the Ignition put the “R” and there she goes forward, we wife smiles at my ignorance, not wanting my ego hurt I try it again a little harder and again she goes forward. I am now sweating and she does not go back, I kept trying until we are heading for a collision with the pillar ahead and then I give up as were just inches from each other. We laugh it over and I get out and wait for someone to come by.

Another man walks past our car and I approach him and tell him I have driven this car and that car and “SHE” refuses to come back, can you assist please? He gets in, pushes the lever down and to “R” and she comes back. I am a little embarrassed, I guess he would have understood we thank him and follow him to the exit, he inserts the card and out he goes. Now where is my card? We try looking in the dashboard, found some pieces of paper in german, not sure if that was it, we insert it into the machine and it comes out faster than we had inserted it, try this a couple of times, no luck. By then we realize if another car comes from behind it’s gonna be a disaster, quickly reverse her down almost 75 meters, by now I have mastered it and park her in a empty slot. We walk back to the sixt office, I was too tired to share my emotions with them otherwise I would have given them a mouthful. The guy comes along and inserts the card and there we are in Vienna.

We had done the reservations at Novotel on the outskirts of Vienna, B&B 86 Euros for the night. Typed in the address and our friend springs back to life giving us directions and a couple of times, either I was too fast or he was too slow we missed a couple of turns taking us on a city tour. I was not enjoying this, somehow we managed to reach the right place and for a few minutes I was thinking if we had made the right decision in renting the car right at the airport. Plenty of parking space at Novotel, which is one of the reasons we chose this hotel, walk up to the reception and the man at the desk looks like an Indian, we smile and its always a welcome sight to see anyone resembling us while in a foreign country especially when you are not enjoying or feel troubled. While he goes ahead with the formalities, I ask him if he is from India and he smiles back and says NO, from Nepal. We have a quick conversation, he is friendly and helpful and also gave a few suggestions and inputs for the days ahead, felt good and Nice, better days ahead!
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Old 29th September 2009, 19:23   #10
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Thats funny and at the same time familiar! When I picked up a rental for the first time in US (Dodge Intrepid, a car the size of a boat), it came with a column shifter and I had a lot of fun trying to figure out how to shift. And then while exiting, most of the rental places have this one way barb strip that lets you go out but doesn't let you come in. Not knowing it will automatically depress, went back and hauled an attended back to the car only to be told to go ahead and not reverse!
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Old 29th September 2009, 19:28   #11
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What beautiful places! No pollution & human population. Fresh Mountain air. Superb.
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Old 29th September 2009, 20:35   #12
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Day 2: Vienna – Polten – Wels – Salzburg – Bad Gastein – Innsbruck

Had breakfast at Novotel and set the destination as Innsbruck with a stopover in Salzburg. It was a cloudy day with rains at a few places, I love the rains and it was a different experience. The entire drive was through the country side as I avoided the motor way on the navigator.
Some of the pics were taken from the moving car. Driving in Europe gives you very little opportunity to capture the sights on the way coz stopping enroute is not possible except for designated parking places.
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Last edited by Rehaan : 1st October 2009 at 18:47. Reason: Images removed. Next time please report each post individually!
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Old 29th September 2009, 22:40   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babupaul View Post
– Bad Gastein -
Really? gas so bad they named a town after it??

This seems like a wonderful trip both of you went on. The way your initial plans went awry, its great you didnt cancel the whole thing.

Beautiful pics and lovely, engaging writing, you are pressing the right travelogue buttons!

I'd gone through Central/Eastern Europe this summer, but opted for trains as I was travelling alone.

Waiting to read more
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Old 30th September 2009, 12:10   #14
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@BABUBHAI,
nice pics and narration.
waiting for more.
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Old 30th September 2009, 13:09   #15
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@gomzi
Bad is quite a common name, not sure what it stands for but remember reading abt it on the Yeti blog

@mohit
Yipeee, I m not the only one, most of us go through it I guess.

More pics from day 2.

We visited a few places of historical significance at Salzburg, picked up some combo meals from mac, filled abt 20 L of Diesel at .96 Euros/L and continued the fairy tale drive to Innsbruck, the land of Swarovski Crystal. The drive was refreshing and energetic, we passed through thousands of roundabouts (circles, they seem to be the alternative for speed breakers I assume) apple orchards and farms and at some places we had the motorway on our side but separated from the country road. The navigator was perfect, somehow we managed to confuse him a couple of times with some wrong turns and then he would go blank.
We reached the beautiful town of Innsbruck after a brief halt at the Swarovski museum at around 5 PM. Now, where? Our Navigator says you have reached the destination and we do not no where to go and what to do? Nothing was p[planned for the day except the destination. That’s when I remembered the Zimmer’s, smaller hotels more like the home stays in India. Zimmers can be found all over Austria and parts of Germany we travelled to. Checked a few on the way and all were full, managed to get hold of a map of Tirol and Innsbruck and drove around the city, somehow me managed to have a city tour, a beautiful lil town. After about an hour of driving around familiar buildings we realized we have been circling around and decided to park the car. Parking the car was a problem as all signs were in German and we were not sure what it meant, the safest bet was to park the car in a residential corner and walk the city to search for an accommodation
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Last edited by babupaul : 30th September 2009 at 13:24.
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