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  1. #1
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    Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI Andalusian Driving Experience

    Buddhist philosophers say that I should be aware of my attachments and detach the self from the the objects of desires to avoid suffering. For this time, I go against their suggestion. I buckled and accepted my weakness. I searched and rented an Audi to end my suffering. And, I picked the right place to drive this car; the Andalusian region of Spain. It has the complete package of up and down panoramic mountain and winding scenic coastal roads. To top this, Europcar rental company in Sevilla has the 5 month young, recently added to the fleet Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI with sport seats and Michellin 225/45 17 tires! I am all sorted!

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    I am driving on route A-376 leaving Sevilla, aiming towards Ronda in the Serrania de Ronda region. The road is twisty 2-lane 2-way undivided highway with ample emergency lanes on both sides. The mountain tops in this region reach around 1500 meter. When the climb is long, the climbing side has an additional 2 to 5 km, that would be my guess, passing lane, plenty of road to pass many turtles I come across. I am soaking in the mesmerizing panoramic view of the mountains and valleys before me...

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    A-372 passes the breathtaking and picturesque Sierra de Grazalema region; more so than the views I soaked this morning before the rest stop. It is 2-way 2-lane road but it has the total width that is half the width of the A-376. And there is no dividing line. Fortunately, there is a lot less traffic on this road. Practically no one is here. On the way up, I can see the road serpenting the contour of the rolling mountains. This road is full of hairpins, zig zag, switchbacks, and elevation changes. As the elevation gets higher, the views on my left and beyond blind turns are rather scary. An Empire State building would fit nicely in this abysmal cliff. On the right side is the mountain wall. No guard rail on the cliff side. They use blocks of concrete spaced evenly painted in white giving the look of the zipper teeth...

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    Marbella has the remains of the old Muslim walls, Marbella's casco antiguo. The old town has a maze of picturesque winding streets and charming little plazas, with plenty of outdoor bars where you can sample typical Andalusian cuisine. At the center of this intricate pattern of alleyways is Plaza de los Naranjos, with the 3 to 4 century old town hall and fountain. Getting lost in this maze is the best way to experience this historic town. Marbella also has the modern and opulent section called Puerto Banus, where all kinds of multi-million dollar yachts are docked along with the accompanying rows of parked Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Rolls Royces, Porsches, and Aston Martins. Elegance and glamor are everywhere in this section. The coast from Puerto Banus to Malaga is gorgous, filled with rolling hills and the long stretches of Mediterranean sandy beaches with the cobalt blue, clear ocean water. I can't swallow, breath, and soak in fast enough...

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    The most awe-inspiring, spine-tingling, and hair-raising roads of Andalusian, in my opinion, is the A-4130 in Las Alpujarras. To find this road, look for a village named Travelez in Las Alpujarras. Head east from that village on the only main road, A-4129. The A-4130 will be on the right hand side not too far from the village.If you are a roller coaster junkie, you know about the Boulder Dash, Raven, Shivering Timbers, GhostRider, and Cyclone. Those are in the top 10 best roller coasters list compiled by the junkies. I am not a roller coaster junkie, but I think the experience I have on this road is equivalent to riding those roller coasters. Every hairpin, zig zag, switchback, and blind curve on this road are G-force producing turns...

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    Another road worth driving on, in this region, is the road that leads to Sierra Nevada from Granada, A-395. I climb all the way to 2500 meter where I arrive at a rest stop with restaurants where bus loads of tourists are enjoying the 280 degree sweeping view of the pastoral beauty of rolling mountains and valleys. At 3000 m, there is an observatory and a mountain pass that would take me to the Las Alpujarras, but the pass is closed when I get there. This road is similar to the A-376 from Sevilla to Ronda and Marbella as far the beauty and the technicality...

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    Time to go back, as my train leaves the station, I can't help reflecting on my driving vacation. After 8 days driving A3 in Andalusian I feel refreshed and satisfied. It was a great way to finish my one month stay in Spain providing the frosting to my fulfilling time in Madrid and Barcelona. I met many kind and fun loving travelers and residents, drivers and non-drivers, during my last 30 days. Memories I will treasure greatly, friends I will keep in touch...

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    Last edited by Andreas_D; 20th February 2011 at 05:41.

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  3. #2
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    Great write-up, thanks for sharing it with us. Next time you are in Marbella, you might take a few minutes to explain to the Ferrari owners how to park.... Thanks again.
    French A3 Sportback 2006, 2.0L 140 TDI, DSG, RSN-E, Ambient lighting, Auto-lights/wipers, Reverse assist, Dolphin Grey, 17" wheels, Leather seats, Cruise control, Roof bars.

  4. #3
    6th Gear

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    Lmao ^ ,Yes nice write up ..now buy an Audi?

  5. #4
    NHN
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    Another great writeup mate.

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  6. #5
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    Nice write up.

    I know what you mean about the white painted teeth on the mountain roads, that is what they had the last time I drove up into the mountains on Majorca.

    They just look like they would do a nice job of taking out the cars sump on the way down.

    Paul
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