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Nick goes to Germany

In October 1998 I hosted a German exchange student named Alex at my house for 3 weeks. In April 1999, I got to go to Germany and stay at his house for 2 weeks. I stayed in Erfurt, which is around the center of the country. We flew out of Canada, non-stop to the Frankfurt international airport, the trip was 2 hours to the airport in canada by van, 7 hours in a Boeing 737 to Frankfurt, and 2 hours by van our host school. There were 11 students from Vermont there, along with a teacher.

We visited several cities, castles, shops, schools, and also a concentration camp. While I was there I was in auto dreamland. European cars are sooo much nicer than the ones in the states, it's hard to put to words. For example, in Europe a Ford Fiesta is actually a middle-class type car, and they are totally nicer than the ones here in the states, which are econo jelly-beans. I saw VWs I had never thought of before.. tow trucks, vans, trucks, small and large... Polos, a model not brought to the US.. along with a glimpse of a jacked-up off-road model of the golf (Golf Country, a 4WD version)

The fastest I went on the Autobahn was approx 140kmh, (around 90mph) in a VW Transporter TDI which had gobs and gobs of torque. It was actually a hired van we used to get around on several occasions. While I was there in Erfurt, I took notes about "euro look" cars that were around, and here's what I came up with: Window tint: seen on 5 cars in 3 days. no so popular, I hear it's real costly. Rear window screens are the way to go.. they're pull down shades like for babys, but are for the rear window and come in different colors. They have lots of tiny holes in them so you can still see. Super big rims: not all the time, many are 14" or 15" sometimes on lowered cars, sometimes on non-lowered cars. Deep-Dish rims are real popular though, with about 2-3" between the spokes and the outter edge of the wheel. Black or shaved badges were seen.. as were color matched grille spoilers and badges. I didn't see one car with shaved door-handles. Stickers: an interesting item... they where usually in English, about a musical group or expression. Very simple. some examples are: Bon Jovi, Fun, No Time, Pink Floyd, Free Me. I saw a couple cars dropped real low and had real low spoilers made of a flexible plastic that would scrape the ground as they hit bumps or went in/out of parking lots. Racing harnesses were real popular, as were seat-belt pads. Racing seats were seen in econo cars, and lots of seat covers over stock seats were seen, black leather ones that said Recaro were on the '97 Golf I rode in. No-one had really loud exhausts, but many had peformance setups. coffee-can tips were seen, (even a 7" one on a honda, welded onto an adapter which was welded onto the stock exhaust) but single oval, dual oval, and dual round tips were more popular.

Cars I rode in
1997Transporter TDI
1993Passat Wagon
199?Renalt (clio?)
1995Golf CL
1998Mercedes E-class
1997Golf w/ supersprint exh.
1995Ford Festiva

I also sat in a Porsche 911 at a local Porsche/VW/Audi/Skoda dealership, who knew I was going to work on them in two years?


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