Friday, January 05, 2007

Overdue Saab trip wrap-up (Germany)

I ordered a new Saab car thru their European Delivery Program, whereby at a tremendous discount, I was able to pick-up the car in Sweden, and along with my friend Kevin, explore parts of Sweden and Germany, especially the autobahn. As you can see from this and previous posts, it was an amazing experience.

Previous episodes:
The Ultimate Souvenir: pick your car up in Europe
Ferry from Sweden to Germany
Greetings from Hannover
Hannover to Wurzburg

From Wurzburg, we made a day trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a walled city that hasn't changed much since the medieval period . It's existence today is based on tourism, so it is a bit of a tourist trap, but still memorable, especially via the Nightwatchman Tour - an hour tour of the city led by a person in the character of a watchman who guarded the city overnight. Also in Rothenburg, I enjoyed a schneeballen (local pastry in the shape of a softball) and Franconian wine.

The trip wrapped with a night in Schloss Colmberg (a castle hotel) and a frenetic trip up to Frankfurt to fly out. Bad traffic and imprecise Mapquest directions left me finishing the drop-off of the car at noon, while my flight was 1:20pm. I thought I had no chance to make it, but the efficiency of Lufthansa and the Frankfurt airport allowed me to make the flight with enough time to grab one last pretzel.

USAir managed to make my connection in Philadelphia back to Charlottesville a 22 hour endeavour (and for a while my car was beating me and my luggage home), but in spite of that, the trip was awesome. The car was (and is) excellent, the Saab experience was absolutely first class, and the touring was excellent, especially seeing the local Christmas festivities. I highly, highly recommend the car (Saab 9-3 convertible) and the European delivery experience even without the significant financial incentive. (The only negative was handing over my car for shipment!)

We put a total of 920 miles on the car over 5 days of driving, so you can imagine that the drives were enjoyable and the autobahn is FAST! I found out that my car is electronically limited to just above 135 miles per hour, as I tried to keep up with a VW Passat wagon doing at least 150.

I'm now 3 weeks and 2 days post-trip. Delivery is estimated at 5-7 weeks, and I can't wait. In the meantime, check out my car pictures here, and even more trip pictures here.

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With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
Click to go to my online photography

World sun clock

Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous