I’ve just returned from a week long trip from Germany, and experienced something that makes me even crankier than driving—flying through Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport in Paris. It’s a large airport, so you’ll probably have to walk pretty far for your connection. Being big isn’t extraordinary, but CDG adds a couple of twists to make it annoying. There’s no shuttle between terminals, of course, but to go between terminals, you leave the security area so that you have to re-enter security every time you go between terminals. This adds 15-30 minutes to your time to catch your connection.

Then there’s always that added element of danger that the roof can collapse again.

If you go through Paris internationally, hopefully you have at least 2 hours to catch your connection.

My future wife showing me the sights of Paris (1999)
I would like to re-locate this tower somewhere up Charles de Gaulle airport’s way

I’ve mentioned my thoughts on the autobahn before, and I don’t have too much more to add except this: why are there so many Geisterfahrer (ghost drivers) on the autobahn? A Geisterfahrer is someone driving the wrong way on the autobahn. As you may expect, this is not good.

“Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a fly-by”

“Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.”

If there’s a Geisterfahrer somewhere, they usually announce this on the radio warning you about it. I heard a report for one every day I drove while in Germany. I have a theory about this. First, the entrance and exit on the autobahns are right next to each other, separated by just a white line. That’s it. It would seem pretty easy to drift into the other lane and wind up going in through the out door.

Another problem is that the line separating traffic going in the other direction is white. So if the you are driving next to dashed white lines, you may not know if the other lane has traffic going in the same or opposite direction. I like the method used in the U.S., where a yellow line indicates that traffic is going in the other direction. Germany will never change this, of course, because they have no yellow paint.

I think the sky is definitely bigger out West
Yellow lines of Wyoming

Although I drove over 1,300 km on the autobahn last week, I didn’t see as much of the craziness as I’ve seen in the past. The worst was a guy in a SEAT station wagon from the Czech Republic. A truck with a double trailer filled with cement road barriers went in this guy’s lane while the guy was still in it. This infuriated the SEAT driver, and when the truck moved back to the right lane, the SEAT driver drove next to the truck driver for a while, yelling. Then the SEAT driver got in front of the truck pulling two trailers of heavy stuff, and slammed on his brakes. Somehow the semi was able to keep from completely flattening the SEAT. I steered away as far as I could from this situation. I don’t know if German rental cars are equipped with spatulas.

Of course, I had the typical problems Americans have driving in Germany: “Why does that sign say I can only go straight? They must have forgotten to paint a right-turn arrow. I’ll go ahead with my turn now;” “This car is supposed to fit in that parking space?!” “Wait—what’s the speed rating on this rental car’s tires?”

Stau on the A9 to Munich
I’m recycling this picture because I didn’t have a camera with me on this trip.