I have two driving licences; the one issued by Indian authorities permits me to drive cars with manual transmission and the one issued by the UAE authorities permits me to drive cars with automatic transmission. Personally, I am more confident driving automatic cars. I love SUVs. I have driven in India and continue to drive in the UAE, where I am a resident since 2008. I also had the opportunity to drive in foreign lands.
During some of my many drives around the UAE
Oman – 2010-2013
I got UAE driving licence in 2010. I like to drive and was very excited at getting the licence. In the beginning, I was happy to drive to any place at any time. However, my favourite destination is Hatta.
Hatta is characterised by mountains, valleys, brooks and pools. It is about 150 km from my then residence in south Dubai and it doesn’t take more than 1.5 hours to reach. So, when we used to get the chance, which was mostly on weekends, public holidays and on special occasions such as a nice rainy day, we used to drive to Hatta.
The area of Hatta is an exclave of the Dubai emirate. The road to Hatta passed through the Sultanate of Oman. There were security posts on both sides of the border. Expatriate residents of the UAE, such as myself were allowed to pass upon showing the resident identity card issued by the federal government. There was no need for passport and visa if we intended to stay within Hatta.That was my first cross-country drive.
Recently, that road was closed to expatriate residents. The alternate route does not go through Oman. For some reason, my visits to Hatta have decreased considerably. I think I visited Hatta last in 2015 although it still remains my favourite getaway.
Greece – 2013
We had visited the island of Santorini, also known as Thira. Tourists typically tour the island in cars or on bikes. We didn’t have an international driving permit; it’s not needed on the island. Our local driving licences were enough to rent a car. We hired a small hatchback, I think it was Nissan Micra for 70 euros for 24 hours including petrol and full insurance. We toured the whole island the whole day.
Read related post ‘Mamma mia! Island-hopping in Greece – Part 3’.
Seychelles – 2015
We had booked Hyundai i10 before leaving for Seychelles. We picked it up at the Seychelles International Airport. We had rented a car so we could explore the island on our own if we wished to. On the first day, we drove to a restaurant. On the second day, we drove to the city of Victoria. Then, on the last day of our travel, we drove back to the airport and returned the car. Driving in Seychelles was fun particularly along the coast. The only challenge was that cars are driven on the left side of the road.
Read related posts on Seychelles.
Switzerland to France and back – 2016
In 2016, we drove from Switzerland (Geneva) to France (Chamonix) and then back to Switzerland (Geneva) via St. Niklaus, Chur, Zurich and Bern. Driving in the Schengen needs an international driving permit. Vinod and I had applied for one before leaving for Europe. That was our second cross-country drive.