Sunday, August 7, 2011

autobahn, schmautobahn. berlin to vienna.

it was hard to leave berlin. why do we keep going there for only four or five days at a time? a very livable, visitable city in our opinion, with so much to do, see and absorb. ah well... no complaints, a trip down the autobahn over the course of a few days with vienna on the other end awaited us. you know what? we made it!

gladly in vienna

we picked up our peugeot 207 at the berlin hauptbahnhof. we're thinking, "yeah, man, we're going to push this thing up to 150 mph on the autobahn and mix it up with the locals and their bmws and audis. zoom, out the garage and away we... crap, traffic. but every stop gave us the opportunity to whip out the german-english translation book and learn a ton of new words. some like "this road is closed," and we swear, one translated to "silly american, where do you think you're going so fast." *sigh* to the right is michelle's navigation "work space," a.k.a. her lap. glasses, map and directions. our translation book was never too far away.

turns out the autobahn is, well, a freeway. albeit, a freaking amazing freeway with flawless pavement, stunning scenery (as you head south into bavaria), ZOOMING cars and some of the finest rest stops this side of georgia, us of a. the germans give you a TON of information. it's almost overwhelming just how exactly you know where you are, what lane to use, what town is next, how far the next rest stop is... it's a masterful display of highway design. luckily, we studied this handy site before hitting the road. otherwise, it would have been "what the hell was that sign?! i think it was bright red, too! that's gotta be bad."

marienbrucke, passau
three nights on the road brought us through naila (franconian hiking nirvana, spitting distance from the czech border), passau (where the danube, the inn and ilz rivers all meet and, wow, is it beautiful) and gablitz (more hiking, this time in austria). each night, after hours of driving, it was a challenge to find places to stay. we stayed in some humble yet comfortable pensions with extremely nice and charming owners. we particularly enjoyed the nice old lady in sandals and socks in gablitz who, when handing me my passport back said "new jersey," with a huge smile. NO ONE says new jersey with a huge smile. she's also the woman who, when in our stilted german said "we understand only a little german," asked "what language do you speak?" we replied "english," and she replied "and?" um.

trail system in bavaria, outside naila
man, it's good to be back in vienna. within hours of returning the car (including a wrong way turn down a one-way street and pulling a u-turn on the ringstrasse) we dropped off our bags, found free-wifi while waiting for apartment to be cleaned, met our host, bought groceries and headed out to the rathaus for vienna's free open-air film festival. hard to capture the contrast of a mega screen propped up in front of a huge gothic building showing a modern dance performance from the netherlands to thousands of people. we rented an apartment for three weeks from barbara lenz, from whom we've rented in the past. we knew we could trust her, that her spaces were clean and safe and comfortable. it's tiny, but it's home.

ok, one more thing, but check this out. this may be the coolest feature of a car we've ever seen. well, butt warmers aside, of course. it's purely european-centric, with their tiny, tiny medieval streets. one admission, in the video i mistakenly referred to german engineering but this is a french car. sorry french people. like we said, driving all day and then searching for lodging is a tiring affair!

next up, the esperanto museum (and the museum of planned languages). that's right, we typed that. some secessionist architecture and some otto wagner and koloman moser history lessons and, over the next few weeks, some hiking in the wienerwald, some wine drinking in some heurigen and some more free movies in front of the rathaus.


  1. my niederblogger has been satisfied. thanks for the post! i'm joining your ee cummings no caps campaign for the moment. off to nm today.

  2. Wow...sounds great. Thanks for the write-ups...keep 'em coming...we're reading.

  3. Schweet! i want to see more about the one way street...wish you had taken video with the droid, for example.

  4. ramon! hope you're well, my friend.

  5. jayne, i only WISH we had video for that. it was the last turn of the entire drive from berlin. literally the last turn, and i got it wrong. i was winging it by then, we had 30 min to return the car without incurring another day's fee.

    i think you've been to vienna, the ringstrasse is THE street, right? it encircles the whole inner-stadt and if there's one place you wouldn't want to do a u-turn, it's the ringstrasse. lucky us!

  6. still hate you guys. well, not really. i love you guys. i just hate your freedom. wait, that's what the "terrorists" do. no wait, that's just a bullshit RWNJ talking point. hell, i can't remember why i was making a comment here. oh yes! i miss you guys.

  7. john, miss you too, brother.

    but just so that you know, it's not all fun and games out here. it's really hard work... eh, i couldn't even make it through that sentence! it really IS all fun and games out here.

    still, we miss all y'all. that may be the hardest part.


  8. Russ, I was going to share one of your photos and received:

    Unable to process request.

    Tell the truth--you miss work; don't you?