Seeing as we’re in Germany working on a project related to the automotive industry, we’d be remiss not to devote a post to the experience of driving on the autobahn. Between client visits, interviews, and weekend outings, we’ll be driving about 4,500 km all over northwest Germany.
As the only member of our team that can drive manual, I have the honor of chauffeuring the A Team car during all of our trips while Mark and Brian switch off on driving the B Team car. Upon arrival at the Frankfurt Airport, we picked up two cars to serve as our transportation for our three weeks here. Having never driven outside the US/Canada, I knew very little about German traffic laws, and the international road signs were completely incomprehensible to me. With the vague understanding that there are no speed limits on the autobahn, I proceeded to drive the entire distance to Koblenz without any regard for how fast I was going. Later we found out that there are actually speed limits in many areas on the autobahn, so hopefully I didn’t drive through any speed cameras in those first two days. We’ll find out when we return the cars…
The German countryside is full of hills and valleys dotted with small towns, making for very scenic views on our drives. You also get to see a lot of the investments Germany has made in its energy infrastructure.
As great as it’s been to see the country by car, there have been a few hiccups. Somehow, its managed to rain almost everyday while we’re driving, even when the sun is out. There is also a lot of road work with really narrow lanes and traffic jams.
One of the biggest differences between here and the US is cost of gas, which was recently at about $7.60 per gallon.
Parking spaces are also really tight. I needed help getting out of our hotel garage in Hamburg. Station wagons were not designed to be maneuvered in these tiny spaces.
Driving on the autobahn and seeing this beautiful country by car has been an awesome experience. It’s going to be hard to return to my normal driving habits when we get back to the states.