Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Driving Miss Crazy

Our car is here! Cue the Steppenwolf because like a true nature's child, I was born, born to be wild in our new family friendly (you put an airbag where?) Volvo V40.  Getting to this point was a lesson in persistence.  First, convincing dear husband that we needed (whiny emphasis all mine) a car.  Next, the purchase.  This process started in October when we met with the diplomatic sales rep, only to be told that the only "buy and ride" vehicle available was a pimped out "ambassador reject" SUV at a budget busting price.  Imagine that, no cars to buy off the lot.  Think that would fly in the USA?  One special order and 8 weeks later our car arrived from Sweden, only to be buried in the paperwork associated with registering and insuring a car in Vienna.  Oh and the Holidays, where finding people at work is like finding students in the library on a Saturday night.

Please note, if you buy a car here do not expect it to be delivered with a tank of gas.  The dealership provides fumes and points you in the general direction of a gas station.  I was also expecting Volvo to fork over a Jean Claude Van Damme action figure, no such luck.  I did receive the following:

1.  Gloves-to keep delicate hands clean while changing a flat.
2.  Safety Vest-not designed by Tory Burch.
3.  Orange Triangle-which can also be used to audition for street spinner job.

Ready, Set, Get Thee to a Gas Station.

There is little that prepares you for driving in Vienna.  Perhaps driving in India, minus the sacred animals or Rome, minus the fabulous pasta at Nonna's house.  In fact, the travel guides I've read say to avoid Vienna driving, if you can.  These are my observations in a nutshell:  the city is full of aggressive drivers who pass on the left when you are turning left, tailgate for kicks and lean on the horn during that millisecond when your foot moves from brake to gas because you are obviously taking too long and they need to get to a cafe for a 4 hour melange like yesterday.  Did I mention street trams? Horse drawn carriages? Scores of pedestrians and bikes? Taxis? Way too many streets that change from two-way to one-way?  That being said, I started out yesterday with the confidence of a woman who drove in the D.C. metro area for a decade and spent another decade as a sales rep with a "road warrior" territory.  I also had a secret weapon.  A friend.  With experience.  The perfect wingman (woman).  She is very kind soul who volunteered to navigate while I took us on a white knuckled practice run across the city to pick up dear student at school.  We survived the running of the red light at the 35A bus stop.  See my post here to understand why I felt slightly vindicated.

Now we embark on adventures in city driving and city parking.  We are ready to fahrvergn├╝gen and zoom zoom.  Although, when I asked Mike where our first driving trip would take us, he said "the first available parking space near the apartment."  Alrighty.

At the Apartment (no windows were broken while taking this photo)


  1. I'm lovin' those wheels, Laurie. I'm still laughing at your post. You'll be an expert in no time. Stay safe. Living in Philly, with no garage, I can relate to finding that parking spot nearby. Looking forward to reading about your adventures in your new auto!

    1. Thanks Kathy-we just ordered our dash mount GPS system for the car after my iPhone with google maps fell off my leg and went under the seat! Searching for the perfect parking spot has become an obsession--