May 132011

It isn’t the cars climbing on the sidewalks that worry me- or even the folks dashing into oncoming traffic to avoid a too-large truck on the narrow, Roman-built roads.  No, those things are annoying, dangerous, and maybe just a little charming in their own way.  But, what is really going to set my brain spinning and keep it spinning is: the directions.

Germans like words.  And they like numbers.  And they seem to see no need to bother limiting their usage.  Signposts in Germany often read like the history of the area, with little authoritarian reminders thrown in. 

“This way to Mülhausen/Thüringen by way of Badfrankenhausen/Kyffhäuser, where the Battle of Frankenhausen was fought in 1525- Stay to the right, and make sure you go between 70-100 km/hour as you pass through town!” The “or else” is implied.  Go over 20 KPH over the speed limit and you can lose your license- instantly.

They also have narrow roads, bizarrely laid out to avoid crop lands and, presumably, to maximize the efficiency of Herr Johan getting to markt without running into his mortal enemy Herr Gertz who once stole wood from his meticulously stacked woodpile (or was it a dirty French guy who did that instead?).

Even that doesn’t really explain the roundabouts, though.  Ah, the roundabouts.   I actually rather like the roundabouts as a traffic construction.  There is something reassuring about knowing that even if you miss your turn, you can just grab it on the next trip around!  But, be that as it may, they really don’t make for simple directions.  “Take the 4th exit veering to the S/SW onto E35”

Today David told me about a larger electronics/appliance store in the next town.  They might have better prices on some of the items we will need to purchase.  So, I decided I might like to pay it a visit.  Here are the directions googlemaps gave me, verbatim:

Driving directions to Media Markt Offenburg
Gutenbergstraße 1
77694 Kehl, Germany
    1. Head south on Gutenbergstraße toward Neudorfstraße    59 m  
Easy enough start.

    2. Turn left onto Neudorfstraße    230 m
    3. Turn right onto Freiburger Str./K5373 I am sorry, K-what?
            Continue to follow K5373   2.4 km Got it, thanks.
    4. Slight left to stay on K5373    8 m Yeah, thanks again.
    5. Turn right onto B36    700 m 
    6. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for B28/A5/Karlsruhe/Basel/Freudenstadt/Offenburg and merge onto B28 9.4 km  ??!!?
    7. Take the exit onto A5 toward Offenburg/Basel   7.3 km
    8. Take exit 55-Offenburg toward Villingen-Schwenningen/Gengenbach/Kinzigtal 270 m  Whatever you say….
    9. Turn right toward B33a    75 m
    10. Slight left toward B33a (signs for Villingen-Schwenningen/B33/Gengenbach/Kinzigtal/Offenburg/B33a/Basel/A5)      400 m  Ah crud.
    11. Keep right at the fork      1.8 km 
    12. Continue onto B3/B33 (signs for Offenburg/Zentrum)   600 m B3 AND B33?
    13. Make a U-turn at Freiburger Str.   170 m Of course.  Should have seen that coming.
    14. Take the exit toward Neuried/Schutterwald    150 m
    15. Slight right onto Marlener Str.    120 m
    16. Enter the roundabout.Yay!
          Destination will be on the right.   34 m Um, wait guys.  We are still in the roundabout.  Did you forget a step?  EVERYTHING is on the right!  Nothing has its address *on* a roundabout, does it?  Does it?  Wouldn’t that break some law of physics?  Won’t we be stuck forever in some sort of roundabout time space continuum wormhole singularity or something?  Guys?  guys?

Ach… Well, at least we will be stuck forever in:

Media Markt Offenburg
Heinrich-Hertz-Straße 6
77656 Offenburg, Deutschland

What does that look like on a map, by the way?  Lots easier, actually!  Maybe I will try this out tomorrow…..  If you don’t hear from me again, send an away team into the Roundabout!

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