Sunday, January 14, 2007

Road Trip Version 1

On what would have been a lazy saturday here in AL, the presence of our guest. Tim, the brother of Gary, inspired a hastily put together trip to Dresden. Dresden is a two hour drive from here, and is a city that has been on my ‚to go’ list for quite some time. Dresden is featured in Kurt Vonnegut’s most well known book: Slaughterhouse 5. Some of you may know that Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors, which is at least part of my desire to visit the city of Dresden, also it is a city pretty close to where I live. We spent the day walking around the city, seeing the former King’s Palace, and talking. We didn’t really feel like spending money, so entertainment options were limited. Dresden was a pretty cool city, though. One thing we have noticed about German cities is that they don’t seem crowded, at least not the cities here in the East. A city the size of Berlin in USA would have lots of people out and about pretty much all the time. But in Berlin there aren’t alot of people walking around, there are quite a few, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t crowded in the sense of crowded I think of New York City being crowded.
For dinner we decided to drive across the German-Czech Republic border. Going up the Czech hills surround by the haunted Czech forest, we experienced a fog so thick that you could only see three inches in front of you, just enough to stay on the road, but not nessisarly on the correct side. It was spooky. So now I have been to Germany, France, Spain and The Czech Republic. On the way back I drove for about two hours. The clever among you may be wondering, if the total drive is two hours, why I just didn’t say I drove home. The answer is simple, we got lost. Maybe it was the thrill of driving on the Autobahn, where I got to push our version of Edgar to the limits of 140 Km/h. Or perhaps the conversation I was having with Tim. Whatever the reason, I missed the sign and exit for the Berlin Autobahn, and made it about a quarter of the way to Leipzig (which is 1.5 hours from home) before I realized it. I decided to stop at a gas station and ask directions. Wanting to get the directions correct, I decided to ask if they spoke English. They didn’t and tried to explain things, but thinking I was a mere tourist they gave up and a rather attractive cashier lady pushed me towards the back to a group of younger German people. They should speak English, she told me. So I asked them, and they confirmed the bad news that the only way to Berlin was to drive all the way back to Dresden and hit the correct Autobahn. Back in the car we debated and I was finally convinced to try to pull off at the next city, and find the correct road. Gary and Tim were fairly sure that the Autobahn we needed passed through that city. Also, the slower and smaller route 101 also ran through that city and that would take us home. I pulled off and we spent a good hour navigating a giant circle through the city, which served only to make me more nervous and frustrated. Finally I decided that we should just take the Autobahn because at least we knew 100% that that would get us home. So I drove up the giangatic hill for the 4th and final time and started limping back to the Autobahn. I was tired and cranky, so Tim and I tried to talk about other things to calm down. It was dark and foggy and the cars behind me were tailgating. Just when I was starting to think things were looking up, a flash of blinding red light signaled my first German speeding ticket, courtesy of a speed camera. This was particularly upseting becuase I was driving what I consided a safe speed of 50 Km/h which in most places is considered slow. After that I decided to relenquensh driving duties to someone else and try to sleep off the pain in Edgar 2’s back seat.


At 1:55 AM GMT+1, Blogger Maria said...

that is not a fun story

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