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Old 19th August 2010, 19:13   #1
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Arrow YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia)

It's not easy being a man.

You try hard to do things and no matter how well you think you've done it, a woman comes and adds one finishing touch and then it turns into a we did it together.

Then you look at a woman and wonder how and why on earth are certain things more important to her than anything else. After all, men are designed to be simple creatures, simple planning, simple desires. Not so for a woman. And when you can accept that fact in peace with a smile without ever trying to completely understand it (because as a man, you simply never will!), you know that you have found TheOne®

TheOne® and I were going to go away for a long time, almost a month in Europe. A month?

Well that's how long it takes if you're going to go to France for a friend's wedding and then go Germany to plan the finishing touches your own.

WHAT? Wait a minute. The Yeti® and TheOne® are getting married? REALLY??

Yes really. At first I would like to announce our wedding. It is happening on the 28th of August 2010 in the little town of Bad Nauheim, now made famous on Team-BHP.
It is a small private affair with some very close family and friends (yes, 2 BHPians will be there on behalf of all of you) and we have decided not to share the photos and happenings of and around our wedding on the forum. I hope you, the readers - can accept and respect that.

This blog is about some beautiful travels through Europe, travels across countries by car and various anecdotes in between. It is not about our wedding, but it will be about our travels before and our honeymoon later.

So before I begin, here are 2 requests:
  • I love you and love the good wishes you offer Jenny and I. However the story will get difficult to read with all your congratulations messages and then the moderators and the server will get upset. So I've created a poll up there ^^. Instead of writing a post that says "Congratulations Sam & Jenny" please just click up there and I will read your name. If you want to send a personal message you may do so by writing me an email on my first name @team-bhp.com and I will read it.
  • You are free to comment and criticize or appreciate the blog and travelogue here - please just keep the "All the best Sam & Jenny" messages off the thread. Much as we love it, you must understand that it gets difficult on the thread.

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 19th August 2010 at 19:32.
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Old 19th August 2010, 19:29   #2
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Default YetiBlog® - 10th August 2010

We still don't have a car to drive in France.

Somehow between my colleague and I, it seems to have slipped out between our fingers. I am leaving the next night for Frankfurt and then on to Paris.

We've been invited to a good friend and colleague's wedding in central France, a beautiful rural area in and around Le Mans. Yes, THE Le Mans. The only sensible way to get to his wedding is by car.

And so that is how I came to be on Sixt.com.

It was easy to find the car, but the prices were ridiculously expensive compared to renting cars in Germany. Ah well, we need it regardless.

We didn't want a very small car as we had some luggage to carry and suits and stuff. So I chose the 4th category (meaning, there were 3 categories lower than the one I chose) - the car displayed was this

Name:  mb_b_klasse_05_07.jpg
Views: 15313
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A nice Mercedes B Class. Nice to see, nice to drive, luggage space and best of all, not available in India.
But of course, the car you see is not always the car you get. usually it is a category and there are other cars in that category. In this case, on the website was written
  • Mercedes B Class or
  • Volkswagen Passat or
  • Citroen C5
All fine by me. A request for automatic transmission was no extra charge so I clicked that too.
All in all I paid 230 euros for 3 days. About Rs. 14000/- Not cheap, but not so bad either.

That done, we finally took off for Europe and to begin our journeys.
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Old 19th August 2010, 19:44   #3
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Default Friday the 13th, August 2010

Just before I get onto the flight in India, for the first time an immigration officer asks us for our passports again.

You are going to Germany?
Yes.
Why?
He asks with a stern face.
Shaadi karne say I. Straight-faced.
He looks up at the passport and then straight at Jenny's face and unexpectedly breaks into a HUGE grin as he understands.
You like India?
Yes, yes
answers she with a smile. He smiles back.
Enjoy.

We've been flying all night. Air India as always, only this time, they gave us no hot meal. Just a sandwich before switching the lights off. Strange.

We land on time at Frankfurt. Everything goes smoothly, but I am no longer surprised by these details. The German way may be annoyingly efficient, but it works and works well.

Soon we are at German immigration. As usual, there are 2 officers (a man and a woman) that are looking down at their computers or books. Rarely do they look up until you approach their counter.
We go separately to the 2 officers, one to the left and one to the right.

As they accept our passports (note that we are both handing over our passports separately to 2 different people) one of them says in German

Are you together?
We say yes, but frankly I am taken aback. What do these guys have eyes on top of their heads? Besides we weren't even holding hands or even talking to each other.
They're trained to read body language says Jenny.
Of course.

Soon we're waiting for our flight to Charles De Gaulle, an airport I DREAD for it's complete haphazardness.YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia)-dsc_7568_l.jpg

YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia)-dsc_7569_l.jpg
I get my camera out at Frankfurt and take a few photos while we wait.
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Old 19th August 2010, 20:39   #4
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Default Friday the 13th, August 2010

We have landed in CDG.

Of course the bags come out at an unexpected place. Of course we now have no idea where the car rental agencies are. Of course nobody can really help.

The instructions from Sixt say:
Between 2D and 2E or in 2F or in 1D.

That's amazing.

And every sign we see points to any other alphanumeric symbol but 2D, 2E, 2F or 1D. Typical.

We walk around for a bit until we start of on a walkalator towards the place.

YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia)-dsc_7574_l.jpg

YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia)-dsc_7575_l.jpg

Then we find it.

YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia)-dsc_7576_l.jpg

One young lady at the counter.
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Old 19th August 2010, 20:59   #5
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Default Of car rentals in Paris

On the ground level at CDG, between 2D and 2E is an entire floor of car rentals. Apart from the usual suspects (Avis, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt) you find some local french car rentals and more. All in all about 6 to 7 different counters where you can walk up to them and say "What do you have for me to rent?"

Of course we didn't do that as I had booked the car online. Usually, in Germany a pre-paid car is much cheaper than one you pay for on-the-spot. Also you get unlimited miles (or kilometres, lol) on the car if you book it online?

Unlimited miles? No the car does not include fuel. But despite the fact that you drive yourself and pay for your own fuel many agencies will put a limit on how many kilometres you can drive. The car we pre-paid for is only good for 750kms. Beyond this we have to pay a ridiculous 60 cents per kilometre.

Coming back to my situation.

The one young lady represents the overall inefficiency of things. Things start to go wrong right at the start.

Hello Meester Kapazi, yes we have your reservation and a car for you.
Excellent.
You requested for automatique.
Yes.
There will be an additional charge of 50 euros for thees.
No. The website said no charge if available.
I show her my print out.
Yes, but thees is a request. If you get it it is 50 euros extra.

OK. I'm confused.
A request means if it is available, you get it, if not, not. Right?
Right.
So you're saying now that because it is available I must pay extra.
Right.

So do you have the car in manual transmission?
The Mercedes, no.

I turn to look at Jenny, tired and equally confused.

OK fine, give me the car. I'll pay the stupid 50 euros.
You are weeling to pay 50 euro additional for automatique.
Yes.

She looks at her computer.
Sorry we don't have the car.
No?
No.


I give up and sigh. OK miss what car am I getting?
A Khenault Laguna.
Say what?
Khenault Laguna
she says. Gargling the R in a way only the french can.
What about the Passat?
There is no Passat.
What about the...
I forget.
There are 5 cars in this category meester. The Laguna is one of them.
I sigh. Who the hell even knows what this car looks like.

Is there no other car?
Not in this category.
What about a better category?


We have a BMW 3-series.
Ah. This sounds familiar. Far more familiar than a Laguna. I'll take it.
You have to pay 360 euros for 3 days.
Ouch. That's a lot of money for a car rent for 3 days. Is it automatic?
No.
OK.
What is a Renault Laguna anyway? Is it a hatchback?

She looks at me. Eet is a good cakh.

I turn to Jenny and talk to her. I make my decision.

I'll pay for the BMW then.
Oh you weel?
She looks pleased.
May I have your credit card?
I give it to her.
I am going to swipe it for 2000 euros.
Say what?
For thees kind of car we take a 2000 euro deposeet.

I'm in France. The card gets declined and the bank starts to furiously call me on my mobile. They are afraid of misuse.
It's not workeeng
she says.

I quickly decide this whole thing is just simply ridiculous.
Miss, please just give me the Renault.
I sigh.

Sadly I've already paid or I could have gone around to everyone. My hopes of driving a B wagon across france have been dashed.

And so it comes to pass that I am given the key of a Renault Laguna.

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 19th August 2010 at 21:06.
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Old 19th August 2010, 21:17   #6
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Default Outside

Outside in the parking lot are hundreds of cars. Hundreds. Lots that belong to Hertz and Avis and Sixt and Budget car rental and more.

Fiat 500's by the dozen, Smarts, Alfas, Mini Coopers and all sorts of small exciting cars. Big cars too, all kinds. E classes, S classes and all kinds. If I was a car enthusiast I would take a long walk in this parking lot and choose a car, then see the tag hanging inside, then go to the counter and ask how much.

YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia)-dsc_7577_l.jpg

Unfortunately, I'm looking for a car and I have no idea what it looks like! After some walking through the Sixt lot, I find it.

YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia)-dsc_7581_l.jpg

YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia)-dsc_7582_l.jpg

YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia)-dsc_7583_l.jpg

Oh dear. It's black and it isn't even completely clean on the outside. And it looks like a nothing car. You know, it is't ugly, it isn't good looking.

It's just. You know. A car.

What is even more annoying is the key. There is no key. There is an annoying card that is literally the size of a business/visiting card.
No key, because it has start/stop.

But what's with the stupid card????

YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia)-dsc_7584_l.jpg

YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia)-dsc_7586_l.jpg

Those who know me, know that I have unusually large hands and palms. I am the Yeti after all. But even then, look at the size of that horrible key card!

P.S. I would like to add that Sixt France was also perfectly happy to accept my Maharashtra state Indian driving license ka xerox along with a xerox of my passport and was happy to inform me that I was allowed to drive in France with it. No special license required.

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 19th August 2010 at 21:22.
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Old 19th August 2010, 22:02   #7
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Am already glued to this thread Sam, waiting to read and see more !
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Old 19th August 2010, 22:18   #8
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That car looks like the next generation Logan or should I say two generations down?

Well keep it coming Sam - will be following your thread.
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Old 19th August 2010, 22:35   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SafeDrive View Post
That car looks like the next generation Logan or should I say two generations down?
Weeeeelll, the Logan is not really a Renault. It is a Dacia.
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Old 19th August 2010, 22:47   #10
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The Laguna is one of Renaults follys. Previous one looked good but was problematic. This one is boring. By the way, that key has a high failure rate
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Old 19th August 2010, 23:00   #11
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The yeti is back in action.
Waiting for more.
I will type those words again.
' zindagi ek safar hai suhana.....'.
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Old 19th August 2010, 23:40   #12
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I put a congratulatory post, relevant to the thread and i dont see it.

Alright......!

That Laguna can be lightly modified and can pass off as a 4 door SUPRA

Not a bad car afterall. But sad to know about the way, your car rental was handled.
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Old 20th August 2010, 10:27   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
I'm in France. The card gets declined and the bank starts to furiously call me on my mobile. They are afraid of misuse.
It's not workeeng she says.
Sadly I've already paid or I could have gone around to everyone. My hopes of driving a B wagon across france have been dashed.
Effect of Friday, the 13th?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
If I was a car enthusiast I would take a long walk in this parking lot and choose a car.
I would have kept on walking across this parking lot, not being able to choose one!!
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Old 20th August 2010, 12:21   #14
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Hi Yeti,

Hooked on to this one. I weeeel be waiting for the next update.
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Old 20th August 2010, 12:23   #15
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Sam, Good to see you back with a YetiBlog® after a while.

The Laguna Looks really hideous. That front is absolutely shapeless and the rear Bumper reminds me of the Xylo Bumper. Opting for a Merc and getting a Renault must have been really disappointing. Were the interiors decent?
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