Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How fast are we going anyway?

When I first planned my trip, I had decided that I just did not have it in me, to travel with the little people, drive the Autobahn and navigate all by myself! So I thought, I would take the train. I mean trains are cool, kids like trains. On the train you can read and let someone else do the driving for you. So this was my plan!

Until I had the nightmare to end all nightmares before I left. I dreamed of someone shoving pass L and pushing her onto the tracks. I dreamed of my suitcase getting stuck in the doors and then being riped from from the half opened doors as we sped down the tracks. I also dreamed of the stroller getting stuck and a whole host of other horrible things!

So I decided it might be better to try my hand at the Autobahn instead! I mean I have trekked transatlantic with the car seat, right? Who cares that people drive like demons! I mean speed is fun right? With your own car you have freedom and can go about your own business.

So, I did just that. I became a speed demon, pilot and co-pilot all rolled into one. I am a multi-talented woman! Now before you all have dreams of me winning the next Indy 500, you need to know that I rented a Renault Modus.
It is a small car and no one could accuse it of being overly peppy, but I have to say that on the way back to Muenster from Heilbronn, driving thru Hessen and Nord Rhine Westphalia, I was moving at a smooth 150 Km (100 miles per hour) and I was just keeping up with traffic. There were some serious BMWs & Mercedes doing alot-- ALOT-- faster than that. For the most part we moved along at 100 km to 120 km and took it slow and easy.

Sometimes I got lost and sometimes I managed just fine on my own. I have to say that the roads and directions are presented a bit differently that in the States. (Although, it is a bit like the Garden State Parkway in NJ.) In Ohio, we all go east, west, north or south. But in Germany, you travel in the direction of a stated city. Which is great, as long as you know where that city is, exactly! The autobahn is fairly easy, but the smaller highways are a bit more tricky. I got turned around a few times, but all in all I am so glad I rented the car!

I must also mention, that driving in European cities is a entirely different matter. I was almost killed in Kassel. In Muenster bikes rule and they are ruthless in their ownership of the roads. Also, much of the city driving rules, seem to follow what P affectionately has dubbed "local custom." I also am struggling with the concept of right before left (whose right and who has the egg?" in the 30 zone and the fried egg sign - so I am inclined to say - "Give me speed any day!"

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