The Autobahn might indeed be the single most terrifying experience of my life. I say this after I spent 13 hours thinking I was going to die a victim of a terrorist attack earlier.
I landed in Frankfurt and made my way through immigration. I went to the baggage claim and found my black suitcases in the “who’s whose” revolving luggage game. I made my way through the Frankfurt maze and spotted the little car emblem. I broke free from the herd and stood in a very long line at National car rental. I picked up the keys to the most beautiful car I have ever seen. It was a brand new, shiny black Mercedes Benz. I somehow managed to contain my urge to sprawl across the hood and embrace this fine piece of machinery. I opened the door and slid into the heated leather seats. I programmed my GPS to my hotel address and put my new best friend into reverse. I drove through the parking garage following the exit signs in English and was feeling pretty confident.
Oh My GAWD! As I turned into traffic it was like I had been teleported into a Nascar race. I was sweating…Shrine Frou (I named my GPS) was giving me instructions seconds before I was to turn here or there. It was a game with her. She knew I was a tourist…she could smell the foreigner on me and was not happy about me defiling her beautiful interior.
For those of you who have not ever had the opportunity to drive in Germany, let me fill you in. The first thing that will make even the most devout Christian woman utter “What the F***!” is that two lane traffic is separated by a white line. Not always solid either…just a white line. Which means you have no idea if you will be driving into oncoming traffic or simply changing lanes. I made it a point to follow whatever slow moving semi-truck I could. I took a wrong turn at one point and Shrine Frou instructed me to make a U-Turn. Um…no…wasn’t going to happen. I drove another 5 min until I found a turnout. I got out of my car…lit a ciggaretee with a shakey hand and stood on the side of the road smoking and crying. Yes..to all those who think I am cold and heartless…I shed some serious tears. I was exhausted, I was lost and I was cold.
God and I got really close on the airplane ride over and I said another prayer. I asked God to help me find the inner strength I knew I had. The words Cowboy up popped in my head and I decided I was either going to get back in the car, or the German officials would have to scrape my cold dead body off of the Mercedes. I got back in and drove…and drove. I pushed the fear out and did it. 2 hours later I found my hotel. It was 10:00 in the morning and the very nice woman at the hotel registration desk informed me they didn’t have any rooms available.
I was sure she didn’t know I had a reservation so I pulled out my reservation and politely showed her. She said “Oh…yes…check-in time is 3:00pm.
People…I was broken at this point. I cried again…I was muttering about my day and this poor German woman looked very confused. I looked like hell and I was on the verge of hysterical. She picked up a phone called her manager and he came over as I was saying “Of course I can’t check in…why would I have a room???” He asked me to wait 20 min and he had housekeeping clean a room in record time. I smiled and said thank you repeatedly.
I walked in and saw two twin mattresses on the floor, I laid down and slept for 6 hours…in my clothes and shoes.
Tomorrow is going to be awesome I just know it! :)