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Cabriolet to hire or off we go to Germany to try beer!

Cabriolet to hire or off we go to Germany to try beer!

13.09.2015
Going to Germany and the Czech republic by a rented cabriolet to drink cold beer.When leaving the airport, we found out car rentals of the largest car rental companies. It was more expensive to hire a car at the airport than in the city.The next day I walked to the rental office of SIXT and rented a car.

It was very hot in Moscow. Very hot. Needed beer… Because there is no beer in Moscow, we decided to set off to Germany and rent and drive a cabriolet at the same time, so to say: drink beer and see the surroundings.

Said — done. On June,6 2014 the SuperJet 100 was warming up its turboprop engines on the runway at Sheremetyevo. It started to rain heavily as if it was of ill omen. Even experienced pilots of Aeroflot wouldn’t dare to take off in this weather or they wouldn’t dare to tempt fate because the pilots of the SuperJet 100 couldn’t have a lot of experience.

The plane took off smoothly and ascended quickly. The flight was pretty comfortable although it seemed to me we had been flying at an angle – when I felt an erge to go to the toilet, I stood up and my legs carried me in the tail of the plane. The feeling was strange, I must say. I asked a flight attendant if it should be like this and got the answer “Yes, it happens sometimes and depends on the wind direction”. When I recovered after that, I calmed down and started to turn over the pages of my book. The destination was Dresden, the former capital of Saxony, a city in East Germany.

When landing in Dresden, we went to customs. We were very surprised to see a German officer who was questioning every tourist where they were going, why, how long, he asked to show the money and a voucher and so on. We were asked how long we were going to stay in Germany. When he heard “for a week”, asked to show our vouchers and then tortured us asking why we had vouchers for two days, where we were going to stay, what we were going to eat and etc. Having seen our money, he calmed down and lost his interest. It didn’t look like the typical image of the Germans. When getting our luggage, we noticed that our suitcases had been opened and checked – clothes, tablets, a cosmetics bag, our pants must have been checked as well. There might have been a bomb in the seam. Then we realized that the Germans have a strange approach to everything and stopped paying attention to this.

Аренда автомобиля в Германии

When leaving the airport, we found out car rentals of the largest car rental companies. Our eyes were shone with joy. A hope to hire a long-awaited cabriolet (India, Poland, Italy) began to dawn. First, we headed to Alamo – a European discounter, which belongs to Europcar and asked if they had a convertible to hire. They didn’t. Then Avis which also didn’t have it. Our last hope was SIXT and there were even 4 models of cabriolet — VW Eos, Peugeot 308 СС, BMW 325 Convertible and MINI Cabrio. We could have hired the Volkswagen or MINI Cabrio. We chose the Volkswagen Eos, as we thought our suitcases wouldn't fit in the boot of the MINI.

We started signing the rental agreement. When we reached the cost, it turned out that it was 15-25 euros more expensive to hire a car at the airport than in the city. It is so-called an airport tax. We didn’t want to overpay and we went to Dresden by taxi. It took a little time and we checked in the hotel by sunset and went to the city centre to drink German beer.

Поездка в Дрезден

The city centre is very beautiful, but too small. During World War II everything was razed to the ground and then it took 40 years to restore everything. The Semperoper is magnificent. But we couldn’t get into it as you can’t buy tickets right in the building. And it is impossible to understand their schedule. It is impossible to get inside and ask a ticket inspector because of the queue. It was difficult to ask the people standing in the queue as they didn’t speak English. It turned out it was a typical situation. At least we drank beer. German beer with bitterness. There were a few sorts, mainly Radeberger and Paulaner. Also we would recommend to explore the area by bus. A red, open bus. The city is on the Elbe, there are beautiful bridges and steamers which sail to other European cities.

We started our next day with the Zwinger. It is a magnificent complex of buildings: the Old Masters Picture Gallery, the Dresden Porcelain Collection and the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments. We like the gallery a lot, there you can use an audio guide and spend a day looking at the pictures of Titian, Raphael, El Greco, Bosch and listening to the story of creation and the meaning of the picture. It was dusking… we were running to the museum of porcelain. There are exhibits fr om collections of German kings and Prince electors made in China, Meissen and Dresden Porcelain Manufactory. We also had time to visit the treasury of the electors of Saxony, the so-called Grunes Gevolbe (Green Vaults). There is not enough time to name all treasures. You must see them! After dinner the thought stung that it was our last night in Dresden and the next day we would have to leave the apartment, but the car was not hired yet!We went to the room to pack our things. On the website of SIXT we chose the VW Eos and paid by a bank card – everything was simple and took 15 minutes. Also there is a service to make the process faster – we needed to fill out all information:passport number and driving license so the next day we could come to the rental office and take the keys. Everything should be ready.

The next day I walked to the rental office of SIXT. It took 20 minutes. Everything was ready – there wasn’t the car I hired and a manager needed to check the documents. In 30 minutes, it turned out that they didn’t have the Volkswagen and they were about to offer something else. I was offered the Peugeout 308 CC. I didn’t argue – this car was bigger and the price was higher. Of course, the manager had to make another rental agreement. By the way, it is important to inform the rental company that you are going to travel outside of Germany. They will tell you some peculiarities of travelling in this country. As far as I understood, not all vehicles are allowed to travel outside the country.

In half an hour I was the proud owner of a cabriolet for 6 days. And I was travelling to Prague. Before going to Prague, we decided to stop in the ancient town Meissen, it is 20 km fr om Dresden.

Немецкое пиво

Meissen is a very beautiful town. There is a castle and a church on the mountain. There is an excellent excursion around the castle, which includes seeing all the rooms inside. The audio guide tells you in details about decoration and paintings on the walls, mentions some interesting moments fr om the history. It’s a must-see! After the cultural programme we went to have lunch. The restaurant was great, it amazed us with its excellent cuisine and “live” music performed by a brass band. They surprised us with German marches, “classic”, and soundtrack fr om one of the James Bond films. After lunch we got to the famous porcelain factory. The porcelain costs a fortune. A tureen can cost 10 000 euros, a tea cup – 500 euros! I seeds like everything is made of pure gold.

And finally we started our journey to the Czech republic. Meadows, woods, farms, grazing cows stretch along all the way through to Prague. A practical tip to a traveller: If you travel to Prague by car, you should book a parking lot for your rented car in advance through your hotel. You should have a navigator as even if you have a lot of driving experience, you will never find the way in the old city of Prague. Many streets are one-way, and others look scary – you can tear off a mirror or find an old lady from France on the bonnet. Also you need to buy a permit to use toll roads, they are called toll stickers. Toll stickers are sold at petrol stations, they usually have special stickers on the window or doors. It costs about 500 roubles per week. It is not recommended to drive without it, the fine is high – 5 000 roubles or 8 000.

Then two days of beer. It flowed cheerfully for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was very hot in Prague, probably 40 degrees in the shade. It was impossible to be in the sun more than 15 minutes and we needed a cooling beer system. Two days in Prague flew by.

Чешское пиво

We woke up (sobered) on the way to Karlstejn. The navigator failed here. On the one hand,our navigator failed. On the other hand, it saved the Italians’ lives. we were driving up to Karlstejn, there were just 5 or 7 km left. And the navigator showed that we missed the right road and showed to go back. We returned, the road led to the field. We were driving on the field, the grass became higher, the rut – deeper. The road ended on the edge of the cliff wh ere I stopped, but the navigator showed to continue the route to Karlstejn! We drove back to the road. When driving slowly looking for local people, who as if were hiding somewh ere. We saw a picture – on the edge (the road, we were driving on 15 minutes ago, goes straight and there was a road on the left which leads back to 180 degrees and up the hill) the Ford Galaxy was hanging (literally hanging) and balancing. There were two people bustling, we thought they might have been the owners, and 5 cyclists. I headed to the driver’s seat and look inside. There was an Italian sitting scared to move … on the passenger seat – his wife. And two 15-year-old kids or so at the rear.

An interesting stalemate – if the driver leaves the car, the car will fall into a ditch. The wife can’t get off from her side, it’s scary to jump from a 2-metre height and she can’t open the door – when opening it, the door will outweigh and the car will fall. The kids are nearly in the same position. How could they find themselves in this situation? – it was not clear, but it was a fact. The two guys turned out to be from Ukraine, which was good as we could discuss the situation in Russian and started to think over a rescue plan. The cyclists called the police and left. First,my friend offered to pull them out by a rope. We suggested this idea. But the Italian said that he tried to drive forward but the front-wheel drive car was rubbing the tyres and the rear part was slowly falling into a ditch. Also, if you pull it out this way, then not only the Ford but also another car could fall.

In fact, the rescue plan was invented by me and offered initially – open both left doors, stand on the footstep to put the car on the wheels and then to start an ignition and drive forward. But helping someone in Europe is dangerous, you start helping, the car will fall and you are to blame. After 10 minutes of walking around the rescued, we heard the Italian’s voice… The Italian said in a quavering voice « guys, help… my car is going slowly down, make something, please…» Of course, he never said what to do but the plan had been invented half an hour ago. I ran to the car, opened the front left door and stood on the footstep clinging to the roof racks and bending back. Then I cried to my friend – Stand under the rear right arch and rest against! The car stood on the front wheels. I told the Italian to start the car and drive forward (then followed swearing in Russian, Italian and Ukrainian). The tyres were whistling, burning, smoking, and the car started to drag out little by little. The rescued Italians cried, laughed, hugged us, offered money, danced around. Russians never surrender. Never take money. We continued our journey, and it was nice to remember.

The guys from Ukraine, as it turned out, live nearby and showed us the way to Karlstejn. There we had an evening of beer and a walk to the castle. There was one hotel with a terrace on the roof.the view was amazing! We spent the next day in the castle. You must see it! The views from the walls were stunning, the interiors of chapels and churches were beautiful and interesting.

Путешествие по Чехии на арендованном кабриолете

We bought a few things in an antique shop. As usual, the girl bought a kerosene lamp, a pint and silverware, the boy bought a German helmet and a knife. There was a cool museum of weapon and military equipment. The excursion was guided by the owner. When we got to our cabriolet with bags, we saw a huge “bulldog” – it’s a special lock which is hung by the police if you violate the parking law. I didn’t understand what I had done wrong because there wasn’t any space for parking apart from this small area so I had parked it there. The pain in the butt was secured for an hour or two and it wasn’t clear wh ere to look for that police officer with the keys for our iron Cerberus. I went back to the antique shop and told them about my problem. It turned out that the antique shop had a small area to park. They called the police and they arrived in 5 minutes. When the police came, the shop owners confirmed that we had missed the place and parked on the nearby lot. After that the police officer tore the report to pieces, unlocked the wheel and wished us a good journey.

A good journey to Marianske lazne, which is a great resort with mineral water like Karlovy Vary. This town is not so popular that is why it is so nice. The mineral water gushed out of the ground – drink as much as you want! The water from each pump had different taste, smell and healing effect. The owner of the hotel said - « Becher in the evening, mineral water in the morning, Becher in the evening, mineral water in the morning».

Our holiday came to an end but we wanted to steal one more day. The flight was in the evening so we decided to drive to dresden in the morning, return the car at the airport. The SuperJet 100 landed in Sheremetyevo.

Travel more and longer distances as Pankratov says.

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