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Driving: Germany and the Alps

- William

You’ve ridden in a car. Almost indisputably. Pretty much everyone in America has. However, if you’re the traveling sort, you’ve most likely used this incredibly common mode of transportation extensively. But my point here is driving in Germany in general, and more specifically, the Alps.

What are the Alps? Well, I should hope you know the answer to that one. The Alps are the mountain chain that dominates southern Europe, covering about eighty thousand square miles, and home to roughly twenty million people. You may have gone skiing here.

Germany’s primary road system is the Autobahn. Ever heard of it? It’s the network that stretches all across Germany like a spider’s web. It’s mostly known for having no speed limit to speak of, although the advisory speed is about eighty miles an hour. Autobahns are great, unless there’s a traffic jam. Yep. Even on a road with no speed limit, there are still traffic jams. While most are caused by construction limiting the road to one lane, in what we call a ‘Choke Point’, or similar circumstances, more than a few are caused by accidents, although Germans tend to be a lot more careful when driving than Americans usually are.

When driving in the Alps, you’ll be on a patchwork of Autobahns and tiny, twisty side roads. It’s like running a matchbox car on a road that’s made of wide wooden board in some places, and a ribbon in others. I cannot stress it enough, a GPS is invaluable. But driving in the Alps is no dull drive. Have you ever seen the Alps? They look like this:

Often, you’ll be driving on a tiny little road between two huge mountains. It’s really quite awesome. There’s a lot to see.

 

When our family drives in the Alps, electronics and books are allowed when we’re driving on the Autobahn. It’s just about the smoothest road in Germany. However, due to a couple members sometimes being prone to motion sickness, when we’re driving on tiny, bumpy roads that twist and turn through the mountains like spaghetti twisted onto a fork, the kids are usually asked to put down their books and games for a bit. We kind of learned that the hard way, through a couple experiences I don’t particularly wish to recollect.

Just being in the Alps is quite a spectacle. Huge, jagged peaks tipped with icy teeth jut out from the green forested base of the mountain, as if rising from an ancient slumber. Many days, clouds obscure the tops of the mountains. This can lead to some pretty cool looking photos. Also, things to watch for:

Animals, like goats and bears

Paragliders (They’re very popular in Germany)

Hot air balloons

Castles or ruins

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article about driving in Germany and the Alps, and maybe gleaned something you wouldn’t if you’d just gone to wikipedia instead. Thanks for reading!

 

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