Round trip in central Europe (travel report, long)

Hello! ------
I was on a 10 day car holiday with my wife in July. We drove about 5200 kilometers in all from Finland to central Europe and looked around some Germany,
Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg. I was keeping my eye on the ACVWs there and this post is a travel report of the Volkswagens on that trip. Our journey included also a visit to the Wolfsburg VW museum in Germany. There are some pictures included, mostly from Wolfsburg. In the end of the post there is also listed shortly the route we drove. If you are interested to know something else about the trip, please ask.
Beforehand I thought that there would be a lot of Beetles in Germany, because the car is originated from there. In the northern Germany we saw very few Beetles. There were a lot of convertible/targa Porsches though. The ones we saw, were all late -70's 1303LS convertibles (Supers with 1600cc engine). In the southern parts there were more ACVWs visible and most of them were also late -70's 1303LS convertibles. In the Mosel valley and nearby we saw a lot of Trikes though. A Trike is a Beetle motorcycle with a mc front and Beetle rear axle and engine. Those seemed to be quite common there, because we really did see quite a lot of them.
In the Netherlands there were more older and standard Beetles and vans like the ones we mostly have here in Finland. More vehicles from the -60's than in Germany. All the sightings were in parking lots. We did not see any moving ACVWs, but I think they all seemed to be in driving condition.
The Belgium had quite similar ACVW scenery as the Netherlands. More standard -60's Beetles, few vans. The thing to mention about Belgium though is its roads and traffic arrangements. Nothing good to speak of them at all. Seems that they don't know how to build roads and set up working traffic arrangements there. Absolutely terrible highway surfaces. On a german car with stiff suspension it really makes the fillings fall from your teeth. Now I know where they need those mushy suspension and seat setups that french cars tend to have.
We had no ACVW sightings in Luxemburg. We were there though only for a couple of hours and the country is quite small. One thing to mention is though that in the Luxemburg side of the Germany-Lux border there was for like a kilometer of only gas stations. The germans come to buy gasoline from Luxemburg side. There it costs around 0,7-0,8 eur/ltr and in the germany around 1,1 eur/ltr.
Overall imperssion I got was that there are more ACVWs left in the daily traffic here in Finland than there is in the central Europe. Whether it is because cars are relatively more expensive here and we have to have relatively cheap recreational cars here. I would also like to have a Porsche 911 targa, but can't really afford one ;)
In Bruxelles (Belgium) we saw a "ballnose" van modified to sell ice cream out of the side. I had to take a picture.
http://olammi.iki.fi/olammi/beetle/kuvat20030724/105-0569_IMG.JPG
The Autostadt Wolfsburg and most of its surroundings seemed to really be VW territory. All the cars around there were VWs: Passats, Tourans and Golfs mostly. I was a bit embarrased to drive an Opel there, but afterall, we had foreign plates, so I think we were forgiven this time... ;) I was looking for at least one ACVW there but I did not manage to see any. All VWs were quite new models. I bet everyone there works for VW and they get good employee discounts for factory products.
So it seemed that the VW museum was the only place that had ACVWs in the WOB area. And they have plenty. Old ones, vans, busses. Most of the Beetles there were either some special one-time modifications or first/last specimens from factories (last German made beetle for example).
I took pictures of some of the interesting ones. I was though looking for an original -61 to look at, but they did not have one.
The one car I liked best there was the Dannenhauer & Stauss made convertible modification. It looks very nice to my eye. Something Porsche-like but in a Beetle size. (all VW pictures from the trip behind the following link)
http://olammi.iki.fi/olammi/beetle/kuvia20030724_eng.shtml
We enjoyed the trip, though there could have been more ACVWs to see ;)
Trip route shortly: 1. day: Drive from home at Pirkkala (FIN) to Turku (FIN) night ferry from Turku (FIN) to Stockholm (SWE) 2. day: drive through Sweden, ferry to Denmark (Helsingborg- Helsingr), drive through Denmark, ferry to Germany (Rdby-Puttgarden), Lbeck (D) 3. day: Hamburg (D), Bremen (D), Zandwoort (NL) 4. day: Day in Amsterdam (NL), drive to Brgge (B) in the evening 5. day: Bruxelles (B), Luxemburg (L), Trier (D), Mosel valley (D), Ediger-Eller (D) 6. day: Heidelberg (D), Karlsruhe (D), Schwarzwald (D), Bblingen (D), Stuttgart (D) 7. day: Rothenburg (D), Schwebish Hall (D), Lutherstadt Wittenberg (D) 8. day: Day in Berlin (D), drive to Wolfsburg (D) in the evening 9. day: VW museum (WOB, D), drive towards north, ferry to Denmark (Puttgarden-Rdby), drive through Denmark, Kpenhagen (DK), ferry to Sweden (Helsingr-Helsingborg), drive through Sweden in the evening/night. 10. day: Day ferry from Stockholm (SWE) to Turku (FIN), drive to home at Pirkkala (FIN)
--
Olli
http://olammi.iki.fi/olammi/beetle /
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Olli wrote:

Sounds like a fun trip. Did you buy an ice cream from the guy selling it out of the bus. :o)
Bill Berckman 67 Beetle Pictures at http://community.webshots.com/album/65271125OySKDA VW/Porsche Family Reunion Show Sept 21 2003 Cincinnati OH http://www.geocities.com/billberckman/cincyshow.html
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Bill Berckman wrote:

Yes, we had good time. Lot of kilometers, but I like driving and seeing the scenery change. We did not buy ice cream from the bus.
--
Olli



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news1.kolumbus.fi:

Sounds like a great trip!
1. I hear the weather's been hot down in the continent. 2. Isn't there a bridge you can take from Sweden (Malm?) to Denmark now, instead of the ferry? Could you get to Germany by taking the ferry from Finland to Estonia? Would you want to go that way? 3. What's in Luxembourg besides gas stations? 4. It's a shame the only Beetles to be seen in Wolfsburg are in the museum. 5. I p-positively l-l-l-LUST after the Dannenhauer & Stauss. 6. If you want to attract dirty looks, try driving around Detroit in a foreign car. 7. How fast did you drive on the Autobahn?
--
Bill Merrill
Arlington, Mass.
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cloud8 wrote:

It was quite hot. Nice that we had air conditioning in the car. Mostly around 30 degrees C (86 F) and hottest we were in was 37,5 deg C (99.5 F). There are hotter places in the world, but for two Finns that is quite enough.

Yes there is. You can go from Malm (SWE) to Kopenhagen (D). However we took the ferry because it is a lot cheaper to go by them. The bridge is a bit more expensive on crossing from Sweden to Denmark and still you have to take a ferry from Denmark to Germany. You get some discount when you buy the both ferry tickets to both directions beforehand at the same time (the tickets are open so you don't have to know which particular time you come back).

There are ferrys directly from Germany to Finland. Then you can choose the via Baltica and drive from Germany to Estonia and then take a ferry from Tallinn (EST) to Helsinki (FIN). I hear the via Baltica has improved a lot lately and nowadays that can be considered a good option.
There have been some car robbings on the via Baltica in the past, but so there has also been in the southern Sweden this summer.

Mountains (small ones), villages, the Luxemburg city, casino, money... Kind of a small place.

Yes. I bet someone there has Beetles in their garage somewhere, but they certainly weren't visible in the streets.

It's veeeeery nice. You will have to have money though to get one. Only 135 made and 16 survived (if the web source is right).

What is the 'right' car to drive in Detroit?

Usually max about 140-150 km/h (87-93 mph). Tried twice though, during low traffic, how much our car takes. It took about 195 km/h (121 mph) true speed (meter showed little over 200 km/h). Specs promise top speed of 205 km/h, but it did not go that fast. Maybe in back wind and with more pressure in the tyres.
--
Olli




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news1.kolumbus.fi:

It is said that the Soviets did little to modernize eastern Europe. The Via Baltica could be a blast into 60 years ago...or a dismal drive through the pine trees. I'll bet that on the drive from Talinn, Estonia to the German border--four countries--there isn't a single McDonalds.
Here's a Via Baltica website http://www.viabaltica.net/engl/indexanglb.html Good info, no pix.

Like the banditos on the Panamerican Highway that Eduardo cautioned of...we can take care of 'em.

Those small countries...shown in the atlas, but I always wondered if they're a hole in the ground.

American Iron. The more horsepower, the better.

What machine were you driving? an Opel with the pedal to the floor? With the wife screaming, Slow down!!!!! I have been driven faster, but 120 mph is the fastest when I was at the wheel.
--
Bill Merrill
Arlington, Mass.
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cloud8 wrote:

... which is not necessarily a bad thing at all.

I think nowadays the road is in ok condition and there are good gas stations, that you can buy proper gas from. I hear that in the past the quality of gasoline was one problem with modern western cars with catalysators.
One should however be prepared to spend some time in the borders between the different countries there. The formalities and queueing might take hour or two.

We had an Opel Astra 1.8 Sport 5d -01 (125 hp) then (changed my daily driver after that). And the pedal was to the floor, and wife was not screaming. She kind of understood that we had to try how fast it goes. ;)
--
Olli



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news1.kolumbus.fi:

Have a Mickey D's up there in Pirkkala, do you? :-)

"Drive faster, honey" is on the list of things my wife will never say.
Oh I forgot to ask...did you see any Trabis?
--
Bill Merrill
Arlington, Mass.
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cloud8 wrote:

Not any more. There was one, but it closed up half year ago or so. Not enough customers.
Tampere, the bigger city nearby, has about 6 McD's.

She did not actually say that either, but was not complaining. Usually she thinks that I drive too fast and overtake too eagerly. I think that she just understood how I work and knew that I have to try once or twice how fast the car goes, once there is an opportunity to do it legally.

Yes. In the former East Germany area. Did not see any movieg though, just parked in the cities, but they seemed to be in condition to run.
--
Olli



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Olli Lammi wrote:

I see them in finland every now and then. Couple of times every summer.
Rare sight still.
Jan
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"Rich" wrote

Rich,
There are a couple of pictures of it here: http://public.fotki.com/vdubjim/car_shows-airwater/my_trip_to_wolfsburg/page 5.html
-- Scott
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"Scott H." wrote

http://public.fotki.com/vdubjim/car_shows-airwater/my_trip_to_wolfsburg/page
I hate it when a link wraps, here's an easier link: http://tinyurl.com/ljvj
-- Scott
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http://public.fotki.com/vdubjim/car_shows-airwater/my_trip_to_wolfsburg/page
Thanks Scott... I appreciate the link. I just have to plan a trip to Germany and visit the museum at Wolfsburg -- lotta cool stuff on display.
Rich
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Rich wrote:

More from the trip or from the museum? I have more pictures from the trip, but most of them have either me or my wife in them ruining the picture. ;) I can put them up if someone _wants_ to see them (slightly OT though).

In the last picture on my site, it is in the middle.
http://olammi.iki.fi/olammi/beetle/kuvat20030724/106-0602_IMG.JPG
More can be seen from
http://public.fotki.com/vdubjim/car_shows-airwater/my_trip_to_wolfsburg /
Page 5, pictures 65, 72 and 73.
--
Olli



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Olli Lammi wrote:

And these pictures are not mine, if someone should get that impression from my recent post.
--
Olli



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