Whilst car-less between 2004 and 2010, I occasionally needed to drive and so I had to fall back on the option of rental cars; in particular for two big journeys to the UK and back. That gave me my first taste of newer, slightly larger cars ideal for “touring”: travelling long-distance by road with as little physical effort and as much comfort as a regular Joe could afford.
In 2006, Jo moved from Scotland to live with me and I met her halfway in the south of England. I rented an Audi A4 Avant 2.5 TDI from Auto Rüger in Meiringen and whisked into France and onward to Luxembourg before stopping overnight in Belgium. The next day saw me travel from there to my parents’ house in England: a total of around 1,100 kilometres and nary a muscle ache to show for it. Bringing Jo and all her luggage back to Switzerland was easy: the cavernous rear of the estate car swallowed the bags and boxes with no problem at all, and the powerful engine laughed at the extra load.
A year later, we chose to travel across north-western Europe by car again: this time to our wedding and back. We rented a second Audi Avant and travelled even further than during the previous excursion, arriving in eastern Scotland after only one driver-induced automotive hiccup. After our wedding, we headed back to Switzerland by an extended route: stopping off in Cumbria, Wales, Oxfordshire and France during a two-week tour before arriving home. All the way, the Audi purred along and made so much travelling simple and comfortable.
Nine years after first falling for the Audi estate, I took possession of my very own at the beginning of March this year. After searching in vain for several weeks in Bern and the Bernese Oberland, I expanded my search and immediately struck lucky at the Auto Center in Grenchen. A four-and-a-half-year old black Avant 2.0 TSFI stood amongst nearly four hundred other cars and after having it manoeuvred out and taking it for a test drive, I was hooked. A sensible part-exchange price for my Golf – and a week or so’s patience for its preparation – and it was mine. The comparative youth of the car means that it has “all the mod cons”: air conditioning, cruise control, a built-in navigation system, Bluetooth for hands-free phone use and even an automatic and economical engine stop-start ignition system. It’s also damnably good-looking, so I will most certainly be adding new photos to my Car Porn set at Flickr on a regular basis.
And all just in time for the arrival of Spring and for the start of our travelling season.