I recently returned from a 10 day whirlwind trip to Europe, visiting London, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Duesseldorf, Cologne, Fuessen, Liechtenstein, Varenna and passing through Koblenz, Frankfurt, Munich, Switzerland and Austria. The trip was centered around a wedding in Tel Aviv, and another in Varenna (a town on Lake Como, Italy).
I flew into Cologne, took a train to Duesseldorf and stayed with a friend there. I have always wanted to drive in Germany, so I rented a nice car in Duesseldorf (a diesel which gave me about 900km on one tank of petrol!) As luck would have it, my friend needed to be in Frankfurt for business on the day I was leaving Duesseldorf, so we drove down together, stopping at the Deutsches Eck along the way. I dropped him off in Frankfurt and continued south.
When there’s no traffic jam, German autobahns are fun to drive. They are famed for having lengthy stretches with no speed limits. Despite this, German drivers are incredibly well behaved and predictable. Almost religiously, they keep left except when overtaking. The result is that you pretty much can drive as fast as you want. People in the right lane tend to travel at about 100-130kph, and people in the left lane can go anywhere from 120 to well over 200kph. At those velocities, you need to concentrate and put a bit of thought into driving (lest you rear-end someone at catastrophic speeds), so it keeps things interesting. That, and a great soundtrack, made for a memorable road trip.
The highlight of the drive was not in Germany, however. I drove all the way down to Italy, and on the return journey decided to cross over into Austria via the Stelvio Pass. It’s a pretty spectacular road which snakes between snow-capped Alpine mountain peaks through over 60 hairpin turns. Cars share the road with suicidal motorcyclists and hard core bicyclists (respect). I’ll let this video I took do the rest of the talking: