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Did you know that there is an actual town in Austria which is called “Fucking”? And less than two hours’ drive to the east from Salzburg, you’ll hit the mountain named “Loser” which is also a popular ski resort.

Pit stop at Fucking, Austria.

Pit stop at Fucking, Austria. Photo taken with a Sony A7 with Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS full-frame E-mount zoom lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

Fucking is a tiny miniscule hamlet about 40km to the north of Salzburg. This Austrian town is about 40 minutes’ drive from Salzburg.

Located close to the border between Germany and Austria, the town comprises a cluster of houses on either side of the road.

I wonder what else is not allowed in this idyllic town. But seriously, that's just a sign to tell you that you're leaving Fucking behind you.

I wonder what else is not allowed in this idyllic town. But seriously, that’s just a sign to tell you that you’re leaving Fucking behind you. Photo taken with a Sony A7 with Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS full-frame E-mount zoom lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

It is so tiny that less than 200m after passing the signboard that marks your entry into the town, you see the signboard that marks your exit from the town.

I’ve driven around Europe a fair bit and passed through many one-street towns – but Fucking is one of the tiniest we have driven through.

The houses on either side of the road looked nice, and are probably residences for farmers who owned the fields around the area.

For postal fans, you might note that a ten minutes’ drive to the east of Fucking brings you to a town called “Franking”.

For postal fans, you might note that a ten minutes’ drive to the east of Fucking brings you to a town called “Franking”. Image from Google Maps which was invaluable in planning our itinerary.

We were driving from Munich to Salzburg and had decided to take to the regular roads instead of the expressway, so as to enjoy the scenery of the German and Austrian countryside along the way.

It was well worth it as we chanced upon scenic places such as Burghausen along the way.

What you need most for a self-drive vacation, apart from the car

For our self-drive vacation in Austria, we covered some 1,400km in about two weeks, chewing up autobahns, as well as single-lane bi-directional country roads and mountain passes.

Our trusty companion during our self-drive holiday, the TomTom GO 2050 World GPS navigation device, with 5-inch touch screen, magnetic mount, hands free calling and pre-loaded World Maps.

Our trusty companion during our self-drive holiday, the TomTom GO 2050 World GPS navigation device (S$399), with 5-inch touch screen, magnetic mount, hands-free calling and pre-loaded World Maps. Photo taken with Samsung GALAXY S5.

To help us find our way around, we brought along a TomTom Go 2050 World GPS navigation device, which provided us with turn-by-turn navigation wherever we wanted to go.

The Go 2050 World has the maps countries around the world pre-loaded and this was what we needed since we drove in three countries – Germany, Austria and Slovakia – during this trip.

About 90km to the east of Salzburg, about one-and-a-half hours’ drive away is a mountain and popular ski resort named “Loser”.

About 90km to the east of Salzburg, about one-and-a-half hours’ drive away is a mountain and popular ski resort named “Loser”. Photo taken by KookKat through the windscreen, using an iPhone.

There were many occasions when we drove on tiny roads that were not even named, in remote areas, but the device had these in its map database and safely navigated us to our destinations.

It’s not impossible to go without a GPS device while driving in Europe.

We’d driven in the Loire Valley in France, with its myriad tiny country roads, some years back depending on just paper maps.

It took a lot more effort pre-planning the places we wanted to visit and the routes we wanted to take, and of course the actual navigation enroute.

We had great fun though, and had a greater appreciation of the lay of the land and the routes that we had taken.

Using a GPS device, however, saves us a lot of time and effort. All you need to do is key in the destination through the easy-to-learn user interface and you’re good to go.

Austria does not have the monopoly of misrepresented place names. You won't catch me shopping for my wardrobe at this fashion house from

Austria does not have the monopoly of misrepresented place names. You won’t catch me shopping for my wardrobe at this fashion house from “hell”! This photo was taken in Munich, Germany, using a Samsung GALAXY S5.

It allows you to divert from your planned itinerary on an impromptu excursion, or change the order of places to visit on the fly, without having to worry about changes in routing etc.

This was the second time we used a TomTom GPS device on a self-drive vacation.

This was the TomTom GO 750 GPS that we used in Germany back in 2011. The windscreen behind it is obscured by rain and hail - right in the middle of a hot summer's day.  The entire windscreen was obscured by the rain and hail.

This was the TomTom GO 750 GPS that we used in Germany back in 2011. The windscreen behind it is obscured by rain and hail – right in the middle of a hot summer’s day. The entire windscreen was obscured by the rain and hail. This photo was taken with an Olympus E5.

We had used a TomTom GO 750 when we drove from Frankfurt to Prague and back three summers ago, and was totally satisfied with the device.

That was why we brought it along again this time round.

For anyone who’s considering a self-drive holiday in an unfamiliar country – and is worried about navigation and road signs in foreign languages – simply bring along (or rent one with the rental car) a GPS navigation device, and that would solve most of the problems.

Happy driving!

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