A couple of days ago I wrote about a Bundesliga game I attended in Munich. One poorly researched team name later and this little blog experienced more traffic in a single day than it received in my first year – in fact it blew the doors off the most recent monthly totals as well. Yowza!
Cars are getting too damn smart for their own good; unfortunately Junior is going in the opposite direction. Thinking I might save a few shekels – because the car rental agencies gouge on everything – I declined snow tires at the hire car station at Munich airport.
Being an experienced Canuck, I surveyed the piddling amount of snow in the fields nearby, noted the otherwise dry roads and calculated the odds of encountering more snow during this trip – which given past trends should have been low to non-existent. As it turns out, rather the opposite has occurred, snowing about two inches every night since arriving last week. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a cause for concern, except for the following:
- The rental variant of this vehicle is not all wheel drive;
- It does have a very clever traction control computer that denies power to any wheel which might encounter ice, thus for instance making it a little challenging to get moving from a stop. Yes, one can turn off the traction control, but then you are faced with the option of spinning the tires. Oh, and did I mention it is an automatic? Don’t ask, I drive stick, but it was all they had left;
- While the autobahn benefits from the snow clearing attentions of the highway authorities, local roads not so much;
So lets review: a slightly tired traveller thinking to save money declines snow tires on a powerful saloon car without all wheel drive = 2 ton sled.
02 Feb 2010: Upperdate – apparently if one refers to a football club incorrectly, watch for the sudden spike in traffic. Apologies to those who follow TSV 1860 Bayern, and thanks to those who corrected me.
Undoubtedly there are sports writers much more eloquent than I who could provide a readable summary of the game, say for instance on goal.com, or bundesliga.de – instead here are my thoughts about the entire experience.
We ( a US colleague and I) departed Greding just after noon on a motor coach filled with semi drunk German soccer fans for what would normally be only an hour long trip. Unfortunately just 5km down the autobahn we came up against the back end of a colossal weather induced ‘stau’ (traffic jam – which we later learned was stopped for at least three hours). Fortunately the parade of brake lights in front alerted the driver and tour leader to the lengthening jam ahead and our driver wisely dived off the motorway onto snow covered local roads where we continued on at a somewhat slower pace south towards Ingolstadt and then back onto the autobahn. However while this slowed us considerably, we succeeded in avoiding the jam. For the remainder of the inbound trip, traffic on the autobahn consisted of nearly equal parts soccer fans, Polish upper middle class families heading south to ski the alps and long suffering locals just trying to get home from Saturday shopping. Consequently we arrived about an hour later than planned, but still with plenty of time to find beer and pretzels. As an aside, staying in a little town at a family owned hotel, where the staff knows you by name pays off in little things, such as the hotel owner’s son making all the arrangements for us to obtain tickets and transportation, – all paid through the front desk – and introductions with our tour host. They made us very welcome, treating us to beer on the bus and asking kindly when we might be back. It turns out that at home vs Hannover 96 could fit very nicely with my next trip. Continue reading