Originally published 18 March 2012
The view from our hotel room, Berchtesgaden, Germany
We lost a day today. While zipping along on the autobahn, on the way up into the Alps to Berchtesgaden, our rental car, to use a highly technical racing and engineering term.....took a shit on us. We were zipping along on the autobahn, not even going fast. It kicked a code, gave us a warning light, and went into "limp in" mode where it reduces power. We were somewhere in the boonies in Bavaria, it was colder than shit and raining buckets, and we called the rental company.
They sent a repairman out who spoke no english. I didn't really expect him to. We are, after all, in Germany. He tried to get it to throw a code again but couldn't. I've seen this before and you can't fix what won't kick a code for you. We followed him about 10 miles on the autobahn and it didn't code again. As best we can tell, he told us it may be an intermittent problem and to turn it off and restart it if it happens again. He then bid us farewell.
We went about 5 miles and it coded again and went into limp in. We stopped at a German garage where no one spoke English. We called rental again and told them we wanted a new one. They said to drive it to Salzburg airport and they would give us another. Salzberg is not in Germany....it's in Austria. So off we go limping to Austria.
We get to the airport in Salzberg around 4 p.m......the day shot to hell. I had originally requested a small BMW 1 series and got this little SUV. Car karma has shown it's head. They asked me if I wanted an automatic, and I told them no, I wanted a standard. The woman said that all she had was a more expensive car but would give me that one. She asked if an Audi A4 would be fine....I assured her most clearly that this would suffice. I was given a black on black A4.
She then asked me why I didn't want an automatic like the other Americans. I pulled out a pic of my race car and said "this is what I like to drive". They're Europeans....they are sufficiently impressed with someone who drives a formula car. They oooo'd and ahhhhh'd sufficiently, needed no further explanation as to why I wanted a car that had a shifter, were very helpful in transferring us into a new car and we headed back towards Germany and Berchtesgaden.
We got to our hotel kinda late. The innkeeper was out, left us a note on the door how to access the hotel and our room, and we let ourselves in. He later brought us champagne. The hotel is classic Bavaria with the Bavarian looking exterior, balconies, etc. Our room was phenomenal! We have TWO balconies, jacuzzi, the room is gorgeous, and as you can see from the pic...does have a bit of a view.
Being in the cradle of the Nazi party and the master race, we thought it quite appropriate to thumb our nose at their memory and we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant. It was quite good, finished out with a warm plum wine they give the customers...which was a nice touch.
Tomorrow....Bechtesgaden in the daylight.
(By the way....before we left the states, I paid $100 dollars to download europe maps onto my personal GPS. This has been the best $100 dollars I have ever spent.)
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.