Driving the Autobahn to Beinstein

The town of Beinstein, Germany

After a few days in Prague I had to make my way to Frankfurt to complete my RTW leg of Frankfurt to Lisbon. I took an uncomfortably long overnight bus ride from Prague to Frankfurt. What I’ve learned in my travels is that, no matter how comfortable a bus may be for riding in for a few hours, it will never be comfortable for sleeping. I arrived in Frankfurt early in the A.M. and crashed in Seb’s bed, catching up on sleep, while he was at work.

I meandered around his neighborhood for a while but didn’t make it out very far. We then went to one of his friends places to watch game 1 of 2 of the Champions League semi-final between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Come the second half they wanted to play a little bit of a drinking game to make the game more interesting. All of the starting players have their names thrown into a hat, you draw one name from the hat, and each time the announcer calls their name you take a shot. Luckily for us we were playing with schnapps and low alcohol liqueurs, but if this was a game that had started in the first half I don’t think I would’ve made it through the whole game.

The next morning I was up early, all packed up and ready to roll for my ride on the Autobahn to Heidelberg, and then on to the small town of Beinstein. I rented a car from SIXT, and initially had selected a BMW 1 series for roughly $100, but when I arrived at the front desk the woman at the desk told me they didn’t have any cars available, even though I had a reservation. Channeling my inner Seinfeld, I asked to speak to the manager who miraculously found some cars available, albeit higher-end cars than the BMW 1 Series. I was happy to oblige in accepting a higher-end car, and secretly hoped it’d be a Porsche. However those go for roughly $400 a day, so I doubt they were going to release that to me. I ended up settling on an Audi A4 for another $10. All in all a good deal for me, and a commendable customer service interaction with SIXT.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T2GmGSNvaM&w=480&h=360]

Unfortunately, I had some trouble getting the car out of the garage, mostly because I was being rushed out of the garage because people were looking to pull in. Being a newer model of an A4 from the 2001 version I used to have, not everything was where I expected it to be. The parking brake was controlled by a switch, and not an actual hand break. To get into reverse I had to push the gear stick in, and then up and to the left from first gear. Finally, managing the internal GPS  was a bit of an issue, luckily it was changed to English, but still I didn’t want to have to finagle with it whilst driving. So one of the guys looking to pull into the garage, ultimately rushing me out of there helped me out, but in doing so, definitely made me feel emasculated.

On the road and ready to hit the Autobahn and drive wayyyyy tooo fast, I made my way for roughly an hour on to Heidelberg Castle. Not much to report about Heidelberg, especially after seeing Prague castle. But it did afford a beautiful view to the town below.

What may come to a shock to you is that there is actually a speed limit on the Autobahn in sections. If you see signs that show a speed limit, you should oblige and follow those limits, although if you don’t see any signs showing a speed limit, then it’s fair game. Case in point. I actually got a speeding ticket unbeknownst to me at the time, until I got an email from SIXT. I was caught going 108 in a 100 KPH zone, which is roughly 5 MPH over the limit, and a 10 Euro fine. Luckily for me, when I did decide to drive really fast, it was in zones that didn’t have a speed limit. I got the car up to 230 KPH, which equates to roughly 142 MPH, easily the fastest I’ve driven, and it ultimately didn’t feel that fast at all. The Autobahn is in impeccable shape, and having an A4 certainly made the driving experience better. It’s illegal to cruise in the left lane, and also illegal to pass on the right, so once you’re done passing, move on over! This is something most americans just don’t understand, if you’ve ever driven in South Florida on I-95 you know exactly what that chaos is like. In Germany, the vast majority of the citizens adhere to the rules, thereby making driving a much more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

After 30 minutes spent walking around Heidelberg, it was decision time. Make a visit to the town of Beinstein, or go straight for the Porsche museum. I opted for Beinstein, for obvious reasons, with the option to go to the museum if time afforded it. The town itself is really quite small, a butcher shop, a bakery, a post office, a bank and maybe a couple small shops. I did get a few photo ops with my last name on it! All in all a nice drive through the countryside, and another tick off the bucket list.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time for the Porsche museum due to rush hour traffic, but it gives me a reason to head back to Stuttgart and check out the Porsche and Mercedes Benz museum’s.

Next stop, Portugal & Dublin!