Normally we avoid the autobahn's at all costs - in fact our Google Maps and GPS are permanently set to 'avoid motorways', but we needed to get from Hamburg in the far north back down to Steph at Schwäbisch Gmünd within the day.
Google Earth says it is 733 kms and will take 7 hrs and 7 minutes - but it does not compensate for the roadworks and their associated crawls.
We left Hamburg at 9:20 am and hit roadworks almost straight away. Once we were through the other side, the traffic thinned and knowing how many lots of roadworks that we hot going north and travelling across the north, when I get the chance, I let the Ford Focus have its head and open the speedup. Not too many opportunities to hit 160 kph at home! 😉
Still, with the plentiful roadworks it takes us until 6:15 pm to get back to Schwäbisch Gmünd - a trip of 9 hours with two stops totalling less than an hour combined.
And today was the day that I had the camera in my handbag when I went to the loo and could get a photo of the self-cleaning toilets! When you flush, this mechanism comes out from the unit and the toilet seat rotates as it washes and squeegees 'dry' the seat. If there is a queue and you go straight in, you need to remember to wipe the seat dry or you can end up with wet britches!!
The scenery changes from the flat north through the rolling hills and soon we are again travelling in the hillier areas of central to southern Germany. We traverse areas of crops and then of course the vineyards with their crops hatching up and down the hillsides to make the most of the sun in their growing season.
The farmers are rushing to harvest and store their crops - the further south we get, the more has been reaped. And with planned bad weather this weekend, I guess that they are also trying to beat the predicted rain from Thursday.
We are constantly amazed at the number of trucks that move cargo across Europe - given their great rail systems. And as we have experienced before, most of them are from Eastern Europe - they undercut the western Europe rates and still make a better living than in the east. Thankfully, the worst of the traffic is travelling in the other direction for the entire journey.
There are walking paths a-plenty and good parking facilities provided also. Every 10 kms there are rest areas complete with toilets and picnic tables. Basic, but there. And at least every 50 kms there is a fuel station complete with eating house AND self-cleaning toilets that you pay 70€ cents. You get a voucher for 50 € cents back to redeem on a purchase in the shop!
Closer to home we pass through tunnels through the hills, rather than winding roads over - a nice change.
And close to Schwäbisch Gmünd there is the tell-tale sign for the Besen - where the local vineyards can operate a restaurant on site for a couple of weeks so long as they sell food only that they grow on their property.
Not too much else to see as the autobahn has higher guard rails - can only imagine the carnage that would happen in a crash - and if you think that I was going fast, some traffic passed me doing twice my speed. Didn't drive more than about 140 kph for most of the trip because at speeds higher than that, you can almost hear the car guzzling the fuel!
Totally done by the time we reach Steph and Felix.
We went back down the hill to the Hotel Krone for dinner last night. We go here because we can get traditional Schwäbian food.
Was delicious. Steph and I chose schnitzels, Felix had roast and Michael had the venison. All with potatoes or Spätzle - 'little sparrow' pasta.
Not a late night - we are tired and Steph is booked in for a medical procedure and must be at the hospital by 7:30 am.