Wednesday, August 30, 2006

My Car

Okay, so as some of you might know, I do have a car here while I am in Germany. I was originally suppose to have a manual gear shift, but it took my friendly colleague about 10 minutes to realize I wasn’t going to survive with a manual vehicle. It is unfortunate I wasn’t able to get up to snuff with the manual gear prior to my departure to Germany. I think it is understandable though, given my 3.5 hours of driving each day to and from work. It was hard to convince myself to go behind the wheel again for another hour and struggle to make the car go up hill. Although I have not giving up learning how to drive a manual gear shift, I hope to continue to practicing when I get back to Canada (Note to Steve and Dad: Please hold me to this statement!)

So the car I am driving now is an automatic silver Open Astra. This car feels much larger then Mr. SMART. My car is equipped with a navigation system, which I have come to love! (Even though for the first three weeks it was all in German, but I did figure out how to use it) Now I think most people who know me, know I have no sense of direction or the memory capacity to remember how I got to a location in the first place. So this navigation system is priceless, I am considering looking into models that are offered at home! (Christmas present idea maybe…) The navigation system also lets me explore farther out of my comfort zone knowing that no matter where I get myself the system can always lead me home. Here are a few other little neat things my car has…

- The windows go automatically down as well as UP! (it is illegal in Canada to have a window go up automatically since it may hurt a young child)

- When the radio plays the traffic report the volume is increased so you don’t miss it (You can program the volume to go up at any desired instant such as traffic or weather)

- If you have a CD playing and the traffic or weather is playing on you favourite station, it will stop playing the CD and switch to the traffic/weather, and then it will switch back when it is done

- The navigation system, radio and HVAC system are all controlled on the small computer screen located between the passenger and driver.

- This computer screen can also display your distance travelled, speed, mileage, weather, and maybe more that I have yet to discover.

- The car has a remoter starter, although its not needed during the warmer months

- The license plate has JE on it which is also the initials of the company founder of Eberspaecher

- When the car is driven in reverse there is a sensor which reads how far away the driver is from obstacles from the rear and will beep to let the driver know when he is in close range.

Besides all the gadgets and gizmos the car does drive quite well and I have driven it on the Autobahn!! The German highways (the autobahn) is built to handle quite high speeds and I am convince that the cars are as well. When you follow the flow of traffic, it’s amazing how fast you go without realizing it, I have gone as fast as 150 km/hr and it really doesn’t feel that fast at all, its always a smooth ride. (Mom, don’t worry on a normal basis I am not driving that fast)

While being in Germany I have met Mr. SMART’s large family. The Stuttgart area has quite a lot if SMART models since a lot of the population works for Mercedes (Much like how most of Oshawa works for GM). The employees here are given huge discounts on SMARTS since the SMART brand doesn’t sell as well as Mercedes would like it to. So I do miss Mr. SMART but I can always get my fix by just walking outside my apartment since there is always a fortwo and a forfour right outside my door.
Below I have attached some pictures of my car, just in case someone is not familiar with the Astra model (I hadn’t seen it before coming to Germany) Enjoy!


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