I picked up a rental car in Germany yesterday for our fototour-2004. About 12 of us are taking 2 extra days here to drive down the Rhein valley and take pictures of the people, countryside and castles.
Renting a car in Germany is different than what I am used to. It took a while to find the Avis office since it is tucked away in the train station but once we found it, signing up for the car was no problem. We rented 3 cars so there were 3 of us picking them up. The guy at the counter said "ok, let's go find your cars." We walked out of the train station and walked a block down the street. He handed me a key and said, "Your car is down this street and around the bend, it is at a gas station. The next car is down a different street, then left and then another block or so. The third car is about two blocks that way. Good luck!" and he left.
It turns out that he was right and I found my Mercedes station wagon waiting for me (nice car!). I unlocked the door, plugged in the keyless key and started it up. Then I stepped on the gas and was driving in Germany. Now the roads here are crazy. They don't go straight but they are often one way, it is kind of like driving in Boston, only with all of the signs in German. I was trying to get back to my hotel which on a map looks like you take a right and then a left and you're on a bridge. Here, though, I needed to take two lefts and then two rights to get on the bridge. I did the first 3 steps correctly but took the first right instead of the second one and ended up going the wrong direction. Oh no! I'm lost! The street is one way, there are no left turns, I can't even see where the traffic that wanted to go in the other direction is.
When you are going the wrong direction, the signs don't ever mention where you want to go. After a little way, I found a left turn light and then I made another left and started to see signs with the word brücke which means bridge. OOOooo... good sign! I eventually wound my way over to the correct bridge going in the right direction and I did a little celebratory dance in the car. From that point on, it was no problem getting back to the hotel.
Today we head out on our journey. Should be interesting. :)