An American guide to European road signs

Midlife Sentence | Storebælt Bridge

Mike wasn’t super excited about renting a car for part of our trip to Denmark, and for a quick jaunt into Germany, but there were places we wanted to go where buying train tickets for the whole family was going to be super expensive, or our destination was out of the way enough, the train wouldn’t quite get us where we wanted to be.

By this point in our journey to visit the place our son had been living for a year and attend the wedding of a former exchange student, we’d experienced no real problems. None. No missed connections or lost luggage or screw ups with our Airbnb hosts.

Which made it the PERFECT time to put all marital and familial relationships to the test by having one us navigate while another drove (possibly illegally, we never really looked that up), and the rest rode in nervous silence in the back.

Or if not total silence, at least everyone tried to keep their startled screams and audible gasps to a minimum.

Saara gave Mike a quick and helpful tutorial about driving in her part of the world. It was basically pretty much the same as driving in the United States, she said, except with regard to stop signs.

“We actually stop at them,” she said. Which made us wonder what she thought we were actually doing at stop signs in our home country.

NOT stopping. Apparently.

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What to do with one day in Germany, or zwei or drei

Midlife Sentence | Lüneburg Am Sande

It has happened before: regardless of what Einstein said about the definition of insanity, we’ve done the exact same thing we’ve always done and had something totally unexpected happen. Take this trip, for example. We’ve had such good luck finding lodging with minimal knowledge about where we were going or extra wads of cash to spend. Even when we were in Copenhagen, and I’d made our airbnb reservations after reading exactly one article on how cool the Nørrebro neighborhood is, we ended up getting a hip, little flat in what turned out to be the neighborhood about which everyone we’ve talked to since has made that sucking-air-through-your-teeth-sound at, even then we had good luck.

That luck-with-the-lodging thing kind of went pfhht in Hamburg.

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On the move, mit bier ….

[From Beth] Serious travel day today, which when you’re on a train, is so much more comfortable for all involved than cramped in a little car, hopped up on Dramamine and Dr. Pepper.


First, we had a few hours this morning to tool around Amsterdam more. We looked at the line for the Anne Frank House and thought we had better things to do with our time, like visiting a few souvenir shops and ogling all the suggestive signs for tomorrow’s Gay Pride Festival through Amsterdam Central (seriously sorry to be missing out on that).

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Where they packed all the cathedrals into one place ….

[From Beth] So after a two hour flight from Tallin, Estonia, to Bremen, Germany, followed by a tram ride from the airport to the train station and a two hour train ride through the picturesque countryside, we arrived in Cologne (Koln), Germany. Mike stepped out into the sunlight and said something smart like “I wonder where they put that big cathedral that’s supposed to be here?”


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