Number of days : 4 (17th to 20th November 2006)
The Machine : Alfa Romeo 159
Distance Traveled : 2700KMS
Max Speed : 220 Kmph
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 drivers 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 hadnt driven a car since I had come to Germany and I was waiting to drive a car, should I also add the Autobahns of Germany was another factor! 😉
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, its 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 didnt come with an auto pilot 😀
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 didnt 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 Ferraris and some high end Audis! It is an understanding on the Autobahns that if you see a Ferrari, BMW or an Audi you give way! 😉
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.
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.
I think Switzerland has the most number of tunnels, may be the worlds longest tunnel the Gothard Pass.
After the halt at Brunnen, we didnt 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 didnt 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 couldnt 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.
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.
We could see a lot of walls with posters on it!
Lot of two wheelers! I also saw an LML Vespa! 😉 I was also happy to see the good old Maruthi 800 the old version.
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.
I had no idea that Vatican City was the worlds 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
They didnt let me use my tripod so I had fun using the floor, benches as tripod to click snaps! 🙂
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.
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.
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 🙂
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!
We continued loafing around on the streets to see better and better buildings around.
View of the Colosseum from outside.
View of the Colosseum from Inside.
We returned back to the Colosseum at night again to capture some night shots.
The Colosseum at Night.
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).
Leaning tower of Pisa.
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 didnt 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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