Road trip to Rome

Trip Statistics:

Number of days : 4 (17th to 20th November 2006)
The Machine : Alfa Romeo 159
Distance Traveled : 2700KMS
Max Speed : 220 Kmph
Route :

Onward Journey: Stuttgart -> Switzerland -> Milano -> Rome
Return Journey: Rome -> Pisa -> Milano -> Switzerland -> Stuttgart

Team : Ajay Shetty, Chidananda Nagaraj, Jaffar Mohammed Shiraj, Mahesh Nagaraja and Vikram Chadaga 🙂

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Five of us had decided to go to Rome by car. I was the only driver with a valid driver’s license. Our initial plan was to cover Naples, Rome, Pisa, may be Venice. With only 4 days in hand I think this was being too optimistic. I hadn’t driven a car since I had come to Germany and I was waiting to drive a car, should I also add the “Autobahn’s” of Germany was another factor! 😉

Day 1: 17th November 2006

We had booked a compact car from Sixt car rentals, and a compact car included something like a Mercedes A-class or a VW Golf. 5 people in this compact car would have been a little to tough. We decided to upgrade the car the next segment. To our luck we got a free upgrade to an Alfa Romeo 159, it’s a diesel car and I think it has all the features one can think about, Navigation, Parking assist, Cruise control, 6 gears, almost everything! I was surprised it didn’t come with an auto pilot 😀

Alfa Romeo

We guys were totally thrilled with the car! So “She” was my babe for the next 4 days! 😉

We guys got into the car, trying to figure out how to change the navigation system from German to English. Somehow we were not too lucky with the navigation system, as it was not updated with the latest road constructions. We were in Stuttgart for more than 2 hours trying to figure out where the Autobahn starts! 😀

I didn’t care about anything; it was me, my babe and the road!

Driving on German Autobahns with a 260Bhp machine! Oh boy! For the first time in my life I hit the speed of 220 Kmph and the car was still stable. I stuck onto the fastest lane and hit the gas peddle! Everyone in front of me gave me the way! I was feeling more and more powerful with the “Alfa Romeo”! Most of them drive at 130Kmph except for the Ferrari’s and some high end Audi’s! It is an understanding on the Autobahns that if you see a Ferrari, BMW or an Audi you give way! 😉

Drive Through Swiss

When we got out of Germany we enter Switzerland. There are a lot of speed limits and I was back driving decently. 😉 It was my first time in Switzerland and it is so beautiful to drive there. With huge snow covered mountains on either side of the road.

Brunen

We stopped at Brunnen for some time and clicked a lot of photographs. Mahesh and I had half a mind to stay back in Switzerland and forget about Rome.

Tunnels in Swiss

I think Switzerland has the most number of tunnels, may be the world’s longest tunnel the Gothard Pass.

After the halt at Brunnen, we didn’t realize that we had taken the wrong route. We drove for 1.5 hours and suddenly someone sees the compass. We were going North instead of going south. Of course we didn’t regret it even a little bit because it was Switzerland. 😉

We were had lost a lot of time in the breaks and loosing way. I had decided to take a break at 1AM in the night. I had driven continuously for more than 12 hours. We guys tried to find a hostel in the middle of the night, but we couldn’t find it. Finally we drove to a petrol bunk and slept in the car for 2 hours. We continued our journey to reach Rome at 6:00AM.

Day 2: 18th November 2006

I was told by many that Italy feels like India. When I looked around I realized why! The driving style… the buildings, it was a nice experience.

Italy

We could see a lot of walls with posters on it!

Two wheelers in Italy!

Lot of two wheelers! I also saw an LML Vespa! 😉 I was also happy to see the good old Maruthi 800 the old version.

Streets of Italy

My first impression of Italy was not too good. I always had a feeling that I might get mugged anytime of the day! But it was only because we stayed at the city central where it is crowed!

We had Italian Pizza as our brunch and head towards the Vatican City.

Vatican City!

I had no idea that Vatican City was the world’s smallest country! Wow! They had their own law and police! It was very nice to know. The architecture around was beautiful. I clicked a lot of photographs, did a lot of people photography too!

We then entered the church…

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They didn’t let me use my tripod so I had fun using the floor, benches as tripod to click snaps! 🙂

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We spent most of our time in Vatican City. We also went till the top of the building and got the aerial view of Rome and Vatican City.

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From there we went to the wishing fountain. People wish and throw a penny in the pond! It is a belief that the wish would come true.

ISKON

We found a group of people from ISKON promoting “Krishna” awareness. It felt nice to hear them sing. I joined them for a small dance 🙂

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In Italy some have a very interesting way of earning money. This was the best. This man had completely painted him in silver and was acting dead in front of a trash can. It was a neat performance!

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We continued loafing around on the streets to see better and better buildings around.

Day 3: 19th November 2006

The whole day we roamed around “The Colosseum”. We had taken a guided tour where he explained every thing about “The Colosseum”, “The Imperial Fora”, “The Forum Romanum” and “The Palatine”.

The Colosseum

View of the Colosseum from outside.

Colosseum from inside

View of the Colosseum from Inside.

We returned back to the Colosseum at night again to capture some night shots.


Night view

The Colosseum at Night.

Day 4: 20th November 2006

We started our drive at 6:30AM. This was a long drive back to Stuttgart. We visited Pisa on our way back. Took all kinds of funny photos (see the complete album).

Pisa

Leaning tower of Pisa.

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Return Journey.

We reached Stuttgart at 1AM. I was completely tired. But every time I look back at the “Alfa Romeo” I felt like driving more and more!

This road trip has been the maximum driving for me. I didn’t know that I could drive so much! I guess it is all because of the adrenal rush due to the beautiful car! 😉

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4 thoughts on “Road trip to Rome”

  1. Wish U had got snaps of the car engine.. 🙂
    Now I know what it means when U say
    “All roads lead to Rome”… 🙂

  2. ha ha… nice description… may be you didnt have enough space to write abt ‘driving on Swiss autobahn without a ticket’, ‘freezing cold water bath in Rome’, ‘you gulping gallons of coke’, ‘eat junk drink junk’!! Very nice experience indeed with all you guys!!

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