(c)Tero Virta, 1995-2009

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quick trip to Germany

Booked cheap flights for a quick trip to Metzingen - Stuttgart - Hockenheim. The trip turned out in the end little bit different than we planned, but good trip like most of trips are, and lot of fun anyway :)

Our hotel in Stuttgart was located on the old race track called Solitude. The whole track is a public road which local motorcyclists have taken a liking. That track tower was really cool sight, sadly that kind of a preserved motorsport heritage is missing from Finland.

Cheapest available rental car (booked on a short notice), had luck with the weather for top down driving.

As the flights got canceled due to the volcano in Iceland we had to figure out plan-B for return. I could have worked from Germany but there was too much uncertainty about when the flights would start to take place and where. Call to Lufthansa's hotline showed only how clueless/unprepared they were so decided act quickly. Trains or other means of public transportation didn't really appeal with all the transfers with luggage and traveling through night etc, and they probably would have been fully booked anyway. Browsed quickly few different type of options of buying a car and driving it home and selling it or finding a keeper, decided that it's too risky on a short notice..

Luckily Hertz at Frankfurt airport had a Norwegian rental car that could be returned to Sweden, I guess the Hertz's personnell's lack of geographical knowledge paid off (considering it's 600 kms from Stockholm to Oslo where the car originated). So 1600 kilometers to Stockholm and off we went. I've driven similar route a few times but never had a deadline, like the 24h rental agreement, so felt little like the guy in Vanishing Point. But speaking about Vanishing Point, don't do drugs, didn't have a cool car, didn't crash in the end, so what's left.. not much.

20+ degrees didn't really suit the studless winter tyres on the car, not even after checking the tyre pressure which were totally messed up to start with, anything beyond 140km/h was scary, just like a Beetle with lowered front without caster shims :) That "start of the price list" type of Merc behaved like a Beetle or Type II in the winds too. During the drive North the temperature dropped and the car/tyres started to behave. I had really hoped to cover some mileage on the open speeds in Germany but no luck.

The Mr K's Fiat returned to haunt us!

Forgot to reset the trip-speedo when we picked the car up, so don't exactly know the mileage but pretty good drive starting in Frankfurt just before noon with normal stops for food/coffee/gasoline.

Return "flight" from last hotel in Heidelberg with changing cars in Frankfurt.

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