This city does everything in two languages. It even has two names, Bruxelles for the French-speaking Walloons, and Bruselles for the Dutch-speaking Flemish. Most of the streets have two names as well. This fact, plus the tunnels that run under the city make navigation hell. Our first day we took a tunnel by mistake, and got turned around entirely. It took two hours and the help of a kind old french woman to figure out where we were.
On our second attempt we got lost one hour and were able to find our way on our own. We finally broke down and bought a GPS. Her name is geraldine. She speaks in an english accent and calmly gives directions. Leaving brus/brux-elles, Nothing can stop us now! We cruise through the tunnel exiting at the perfect moment onto the Highway. I feel invincible.
We connect flawlessly from highway to highway, racing across the german border at 120 kilometers an hour. I relax when we hit autobahn one. A long stretch of pavement that goes all the way to Hamburg, our destination. We stop at a gas station, marvel at the technological wonder of self-cleaning toilet seats, fuck up my first attempt to buy gas in german.
But soon we’re back on the road and the kilometers fly by. Then with about 20 kilometers outside of Hamburg we hit this gnarley ball of traffic that has the whole Autobahn backed up as far as the eye can see. We crawled to a halt. Molly pumped Kraftwekt “Autobahn” from the stereo of our Ford C-Max while Sean got out of the car to have a smoke by the side of the road. I hoped the cars around us appreciated the irony of this moment.
Traffic started moving again. Maybe it’s all cleared up? We get to the front and see that the whole highway is blocked off with cones and blinking signs mounted on trucks. We follow the line of cars off this ramp that would be like a detour only there are no signs telling us where to go and Geraldine started totally freaking out in German (we thought it would be cute to have her speak german in germany) wondering where the hell we are going. Sigh. We pulled the maps out of the glove compartment to tried and figure a way out of here.