The first time I ever heard of the Autobahn, I was intrigued: BMWs and Audis speeding around corners as fast as they desired. Well, today I had my first opportunity to experience the speed, the chaos and the thrill of the Autobahn. We landed in Frankfurt about on time at 7:20 a.m. (that's 1:20 a.m. for you East Coasters), where I first experienced the well-oiled machine that is Germany.
We were seated in row 59 (of 60) on the plane, so I didn't even unbuckle my seatbelt when the plane arrived at the gate. We'd been sitting for seven plus hours, what's another thirty minutes, right? Well, then I felt this huge rush of cold air at my back and lo and behold--they opened the rear door! I didn't think those doors actually opened! :) We rapidly gathered our belongings, deplaned and headed for passport control. We eventually made our way to the baggage claim and then to Hertz for our rental. Much to the dismay of several people, we didn't get a BMW or an Audi...instead we are driving around in a sporty 4-door Renault Laguna. But it does have navigation which is incredibly helpful when not one person in the car has ever driven in Europe!
The beginning of the drive was good...a little giddy from sleep deprivation, we managed to stay focused and enjoy the beautiful country that was unfolding around us. The grass seems greener here, but maybe it's just me. Rolling hills with little town nestled in their valleys lined the Autobahn and I was captivated by its magic.
Herr D had told me about the impeccable cleanliness of the rest stops along the Autobahn, and he is indeed correct. (Although he did forget to tell me it would cost me .50 euros to use said facilities!) After stopping once, we jumped back on the road and cruised at ungodly speeds toward Belgium.
Noticing a sign that said something like "Wilkommen Neiderland" I decided to take a look at the map. Yes, we had in fact crossed into the Netherlands! We were in Holland for about 50 miles or so (at this point, I was beginning to lose focus and drift in and out of sleep.) The countryside looks quite similar to that of Germany (go figure) but was beautiful nonetheless. One particular moment looked like something you'd stop to take a picture of and stick on a postcard--simply gorgeous.
We arrived into Belgium and soon thereafter entered the city of Brussels. We found our hotel instantly (thank you British speaking GPS lady) and are now settled in and ready for a quick rejeuvenating siesta. After our naps, we're headed out to see the town and eat some pomme frites--with mayo, OF COURSE!
So, in the past 17 hours, I have been in 4 countries. Weird. Cool. Exhausting! More soon!