When making my plans for my European Road Trip No. 2, I had scheduled to pick up a rental car in Vienna with a drop off in Paris. As most people know, if you rent a car and you don’t pick up and drop off at the same location, the fee is quite a bit more expensive. In this case, I had to pay an extra 500 euro because I was dropping it off in Paris.
About a week before the trip, I had a brilliant (so I thought) idea. Since my husband and I were currently renting two cars in France, I thought that I would drive “my” car to Vienna. This was a huge step for me because I dislike driving. I much prefer my husband to drive. I think it has to do with my impatience for bad drivers. Well, I started to map it out on Google Maps and thought, “I could do this.” The whole trip would be about 14 hours. EEEeeek!! I have never driven such a distance before ALONE and on a whole different continent! In my mind I was thinking that it was definitely worth driving 14 hours and saving about $1200 on renting an additional car. I also was very use to my car so I was confident in driving it (plus had full insurance coverage), and I was worried about what type of rental car I would get in Vienna.
I decided to take the route that would have me drive the Autobahn 6 and 3 across Germany since I had already driven most of Autobahn 8 on our earlier road trip in May.
I set out at 3:30am on Monday morning. I took the A4 Tollway toward Saarbruken, Germany to get out of France. When I paid the last Toll on the tollway, I couldn’t believe I spent almost 50 euro to get out of France!! But it was much faster than country roads, and I felt much safer since the roads were well lit so early in the morning.
I felt some accomplishment when I crossed in the Germany. It always surprises me that I don’t get stopped when crossing borders in Europe. (So different from Asia!) I love driving on the autobahn in Germany. No speed limit, unless posted. I am shocked at how fast some people drive on the autobahn!! I stayed at about 75mph where I was comfortable.
I passed the hours of driving with a Steve Berry audio book. I am surprised at how much it occupied me and didn’t make me tired. I had to stop for gas. I pulled up to a station along the autobahn, and parked next to a pump. I got out of the car, and looked at the pump. I was so not sure what to do! Jacob was always the one who pumped the gas. Thankfully there was a guy two pumps away from me who spoke some broken English and he came over to help me. It ended up that I had to go inside and pay for the gas first, then I could start pumping. Once filled up, I set out on the road again.
When I was approaching the border of Austria, I knew I had to get a toll sticker (or vignette) for the car. Thankfully Austria has a 10-day vignette that was perfect for the amount of time my car would be in Austria. As I was crossing the border, there was a big sign overhead that said VIGNETTE. I followed it and it lead me to a shack next to the freeway. The shack had a big sign VIGNETTE on it. When I walked in, there was a woman at the window. The three options of vignette were listed on the window: 10-day, 2 month, or annual. I told the woman I needed a 10-day. It was 8.90 euro.
The vignette has some instruction on how to adhere it to your vehicle on the back side of the vignette.
I found this website useful when preparing to drive in Austria. Austrian Driving Regulations Website. You can also purchase vignettes at gas stations near the border of Austria.
The drive was very pleasant and extremely beautiful, until I got to St. Valentin, Austria. Once I got there, it started pouring rain!!! It was such a down pour! The cars were only driving at about 20 mph because we could not see far in front of us because it was coming down so hard and fast. It finally started to lighten up when I was approaching Vienna. I was thankful for that because driving in the new cities gets me worried!
My destination was the P+R Erdberg parking garage. I had read online that I could park my car there for a week for only about 20 euro. I had a German speaking friend call them and confirm this was the case, and they said it was. On their website, it said you are suppose to reserve a spot prior to arriving, but that wasn’t the case. The garage was exactly like any parking garage in the US–I drove up, pulled a ticket, and parked. Since I am over concerned, I also found the parking garage office and confirmed that it was okay to park my car for a week, and he said, “Yes, it was okay.” Confident my car would be okay, I set off to the Erdberg Metro station.
I did a bit of research on short-term parking garages near/in Vienna, and the P+R Erdberg garage had the most information I could find on it. The location is fantastic since it is just across the street from the Erdberg Metro stop, and the fee was not nearly as much as I thought it was going to be parking so close to the center of Vienna.