Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame once said, "Germany, the last refuge of the speed freak". He was of course talking about the German autobahns.
I got my autobahn experience when I first arrived in Germany at the age of 15 in 2003. On the taxi ride to our hotel the driver clocked over 240km/h and there I was in the passenger seat gripping the door handle firmly out of excitement and trepidation. Needless to say, that thrilling taxi ride hooked me to the drug that is speed.
A common misconception is that autobahns are a special type of road. In reality, the word translates to "motorway" and for the most bit, they are just ordinary motorways. Except for one small detail.
Only half of the German autobahns are limited either by permanent or temporary speed limits. For the other half, there's no restrictions. If you own a Bugatti Veyron, you wouldn't be penalised for driving at 407 km/h (if you can find a flat and empty enough stretch, that is!).
Unfortunately, being allowed to go flat out doesn't mean it is as simple as flooring the right pedal. It involves a great deal of concentration and discipline. Overtaking on the right for example is illegal and there are very strict rules about keeping safe distance between the cars.
Generally the left lane is supposed to be used only for overtaking, and often you might come out of a high speed corner only to see a small hatchback bang in front of you trying to overtake a slower car.
One of the reasons why the autobahn drive at speed is so exhilarating is that the road weaves along with the landscape wherever it goes. This means that you have to anticipate corners and inclines because at high speeds, even long-winded corners seem tight. It also means that you are constantly alert because of the dynamics of driving, as opposed to a perfect straight road.
It's easier to go bahnstorming at the later hours of the day, because the traffic is much lighter…
I have been told that the speed-kick also helps you keep fatigue away on long trips. I think it's just an excuse to put the pedal to the metal and do some high speed hooning!
As countries keep imposing stricter limits on our roads, it is great that places like this still exist. It's an amazing feeling when the traffic ahead eases…
And you can open up the throttle, leaving behind all of the worries of the world.