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Travel Transportation Airs, Trains, Buses, and Boats, what should I do ? What´s a Eurail Pass? How to rent a car abroad ? Is it safe to take the bus?

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Old 08-28-2006, 03:58 PM   #1
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I'm thinking about getting a DL for driving in Germany. I'm a good driver and to quote a line from Top Gun, "I have the need for speed" so I would like to go on the autobahn around Frankfurt to see what it's like to go 140 mph. Is this a bad idea since I'm not from Europe and is it hard to get a overseas DL there?

Any recco's on where I could rent a quick car would also be appreciated.
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Old 08-28-2006, 04:56 PM   #2
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This isn't an answer to your question, but I figure I should say it anyway:

The autobahn in that area has speed limits now around 110 or 120 kph...and has for quite some time. That said--most people I saw were driving all the way up to 200kph or higher, but it's drive at your own risk since the speed limits could get you pinched by the cops or, in the case of an accident, would probably make for a potent argument against you with regards to insurance payments or if you took someone else out in an accident.
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:43 PM   #3
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You won't need an international DL to drive there, and only really need to get one if you plan on being there more than 3 months. Renting a car is easy, and you can do it all online.
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Old 08-29-2006, 01:14 AM   #4
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People still do fly on the Autobahn. I was over their for work a few years back and the guy that I was working with over there had a new Audi A8 that hauled ass. He would take us back to the hotel and drive around 220kph, one handed, while munching on an apple.

This was north of Nurnberg and a bit in the sticks, though, so not much worry from cops I would guess - I didn't see any. I saw quite a few people driving really, really fast - you really have to watch yourself when you pull into the far left lane because it is hard to judge speed when people are driving that fast. Someone a quarter mile behind you can be on you in a couple of seconds going that fast. Good luck!
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Old 08-29-2006, 08:38 AM   #5
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As someone who drives the autobahn more or less every day, there are a couple of points - first, as goy mentioned, in some areas there is a speed limit, in some places less than 100 kmh, and they photograph the driver of the offending vehicles (I've seen this, not been caught myself!), to prove it. The fines are pretty hefty in those areas. Outside the busier cities, the recommended speed limit is 130 kmh, though you can go faster, depending on whether the sign is a recommended or a mandatory speed limit. It's useful to learn the German road signs, as they can be quite confusing (black number in red circle, black number in red square, white number on blue circle, white number on blue square, etc.) Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, and the German Polizei are not known for their leniency...

Also, if you are going above the speed limit and are involved in an accident, the fines are extremely hefty. Also, if you run out of gas on the motorway. That's nicht gut.

In the areas where there is no limit, it is really important to stay to the right, and carefully check before changing lanes, when cars are moving that quickly, they tend to materialize on your left with little warning.

All that being said, the roads are excellent and the drivers generally follow the rules so it's pretty safe driving around, unlike some scarier European countries. Knowing something about roundabouts is also helpful, as they're not typical in North America.

You can get an int'l drivers licence for $10 from AAA, just show up with a passport photo and you'll walk out a few minutes later. It isn't essential, but isn't a bad idea, either. If you're under 26, check with the car rental agencies to see if you can rent a car...sometimes there are restrictions. You won't be able to get a German licence in country as a tourist, but you won't need one.

Have fun, and drive safely!

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Old 08-29-2006, 08:54 AM   #6
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I thought it was no speed limit as well, I had the same plan as you Wayner. Have you heard of the Nurburgring? It's a race track open to the public you can do a lap for €16 and as far as I know there are no speed limits you'll get to see some top end cars aswell.
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Old 08-29-2006, 10:19 AM   #7
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(MeTurk @ Aug 29 2006, 07:54 AM) [snapback]137208[/snapback]</div>
Quote:
I thought it was no speed limit as well, I had the same plan as you Wayner. Have you heard of the Nurburgring? It's a race track open to the public you can do a lap for €16 and as far as I know there are no speed limits you'll get to see some top end cars aswell.
[/b]

The Nordeschleife circuit of the Nurburgring is open to the public certain times but you will have to share it with anything from Ruf Porsches to tourbuses of old people. Let me put it like this: You're not gonna be able to be the Stig and post an 8-minute lap
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Old 08-30-2006, 01:29 AM   #8
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tumblezweedz @ Aug 29 2006, 04:38 PM) [snapback]137206[/snapback]</div>
Quote:
As someone who drives the autobahn more or less every day, there are a couple of points - first, as goy mentioned, in some areas there is a speed limit, in some places less than 100 kmh, and they photograph the driver of the offending vehicles (I've seen this, not been caught myself!), to prove it. The fines are pretty hefty in those areas. [/b]
Yeah its true, they photograph the front of the car, and get a great view of the person driving. Ive seen ones my mum has got, and shes clearly singing along to the radio! In fact ive been in a few of them in the passenger seat! (they have stopped doing that, they block the rest of the photo apart from the drivers head and the licence plate now because there were complaints from men who had been photographed with female passengers that werent their wife! lots of awkward questions when the wife saw it...)

they tend to hide the speed cameras, so that you only see them when its too late. they are usually green as well to blend into the surroundings! Most people know where the cameras are though, so if everyone suddenly starts slowing down for no apparent reason, then its maybe best to do the same.
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Old 08-30-2006, 01:52 AM   #9
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<rant>I fucking hate speed cameras. They're not as bad a plague here in the states, but if the pigs want to make revenue, they should do their jobs. God damn nanny state.</rant>

That said, I love speeding. My dream is to buy a BMW on European Delivery, drive it all over Europe moderately to break it in, then come back to Germany and flog it on the Nurburgring and speed over to Munich to have it shipped home. It winds up costing several thousand less than buying from a dealer here, even with the shipping.

'Course, that won't happen for years. So I'm gonna have to plan a trip to a part of Germany with the limit-free stretches of autobahn and rent a stick or SMG model for a day or two. That's the beauty of other countries. They'll let you rent a manual transmission. You won't see that in the states. <rant>God damn nanny state.</rant>
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
but you will have to share it with anything from Ruf Porsches to tourbuses of old people.[/b]
It's like that on the Irish race tracks or "public roads" as people like to call them.. The roads around here are great for driving there a bit like a rally road but with a slightly better surface. Corners are on hills you have lefts going into rights going straight into a hard left again great fun but most people around here drive awfully slow so I'm well used to the ol biddys doing 75klm. I know I have to share but just being able to mill it without worry of fines/jail/points/cars coming towards you, will be worth the trip.


Quote:
You're not gonna be able to be the Stig and post an 8-minute lap[/b]
I'll give her a lash anyhow. I seen the local expert do a 10 minute lap in a transit van so if I got under 14 minutes with my C4 I'd be happy enough.
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Old 08-31-2006, 07:55 AM   #11
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Omid, you and I are of the same mind. Perpetually in the gutter, but the same, none the less.

I make it a point to flip off speed cameras if I see them. Those and those goddamned red-light cams. God, I hate those things. I can't help it if I'm halfway in the intersection in bumper to bumper traffic when the light turns!!!

I'd kill to do a German delivery BMW program. However, the old man looked into it, and the savings is neglible (for his 645 it was a difference of $1K. And he didn't have the time to take the trip to Germany for 10 days... He and I woulda had some fun!!)

FWIW, der Autobahn still has those no-speed zones, but the Germans have an interesting way of assessing fines for speeding. Its based upon your income or net worth IIRC... Therefore, my ticket would be about $10 for going 100 mph over


As for doing my impression of the Stig, I've done it a Summit Point Raceway in WVa on the Jefferson Circuit in a 911 Turbo, 1989 vintage. Fun is an understatement. Oversteer is... well, shit-your-pants-scary-fun! :D
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Old 08-31-2006, 07:56 PM   #12
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I lived in Duisburg, Germany last year. I drove almost everyday on either the A40 or the A3. Once outside of the big cities you will get the all clear sign saying there is no longer a speed limit. White round sign with 3 black strips. While there is an advisory speed limit of 130km/h, most do hover around that speed. Germans love their cars. And they have STRICT driving laws and rules. Not to mention Rechts vor Links!! Which means right before left. In a town, and as you are approaching an intersection on smaller roads, and there is no yellow diamond sign, the driver entering the intersection from your right as the right of way to roll on through without stopping. There is no other hint to you, and its when there is no sign posted which seems backwards. Tailgaiting is a big no, no and so is passing to the right. On the Autobahn fast moving cars flash their lights as they are approaching from behind to indicate they are traveling fast and get out of their way. NEVER hog the left lane. I took a trip once from Duisburg to Frankfurt on the A3, and outside of the towns it was all open highway with no limit. Except for baustau, or construction. I drove often from Amsterdam to Duisburg, and once you hit the German border you see a big puff of smoke coming out of everyones tailpipes as they floor it. The fastest I had a car up to was 220km/h or about 137MPH, it was a new Opel Astra. Although my personal car a 1990 Renault R19, I had up to 120MPH. You don't need an international license, it doesn't mean anything anyway.
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Old 09-01-2006, 01:43 AM   #13
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I really wish people would understand the whole "left lane is for passing" concept here in the US. Of course, in the states where that actually is law, it's rarely enforced. GrrRrrrRR.

I thought flashing the lights to tell someone you want to pass was illegal in Germany. The funny story I heard in regards to that is that people coming up on someone will turn on their left turn signal, indicating "I'd pass you if I could, dumkopf"
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:57 AM   #14
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The funny story I heard in regards to that is that people coming up on someone will turn on their left turn signal, indicating "I'd pass you if I could, dumkopf" [/b]
I do that here. We only have ordinary roads instead of motorway but they have a hard shoulder, good drivers pull in and let you pass but some pricks think they have the right to dictate what speed everyone else should be doing. The Galway road is always extremely busy so regular passing is hard. If they won't get out of the way when I do get to pass I indicate and move into the hard shoulder give em the finger and put the boot down.

I turn into a right prick when I'm driving especially when people are driving too slow.
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:14 AM   #15
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One of my dreams is to "race" the autobahn. Now I find out they have speed limits and secret cameras. Well, I thought about getting a BMW just as Omisan said. Perhaps by 2013.
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Old 09-02-2006, 09:54 AM   #16
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Well, there is no speed limit where it counts. Only going through cities, and afterall do you expect to be able to drive 120MPH in rush hour traffic in congested zones?? The speed limit is probably there to limit the stupid Americans that still try to drive as fast as possible. Where there are no limits, there are no cameras. And I have passed the Police at 120+MPH and they don't even look. And thats while cars are passing me at 150 or so. Damn Prosches. Flashing your headlights is a courtesy, and isn't illegal. While insulting someone while driving or giving them the finger, or pointing to your head is illegal. Oh, and trucks, vehicles with trailers and slow moving vechiles must always keep right and are usually prohibited from passing. So the left lane is always open to pass slow pokes. They don't really have high speed pursuits because the Autobahn Polizei have black BMWs, just with a little blue light on top. And then the BMW motorcycles, so your not getting away......
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:51 PM   #17
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That's funny about the left turn signal, because in Italy we were told that if you're in the left lane and someone comes up and tailgates you (not terribly uncommon in Italy), you put on your left turn signal (oddly) to indicate that you will pull back into the right lane at the earliest opportunity (like when you get a break between the convoy of seven hundred semis and gas trucks that you just happen to be passing at the moment). We tried it, and noticed that it really does work, the tailgating cars back right off and give you your space, satisfied that you realize the inconvenience you're creating by driving 150 kms in a 130 zone. Given the way people drive in southern Italy, I was flabbergasted that it worked.

Obviously it isn't a Europe wide convention.

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