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Published: August 18th 2009
I am convinced that Europeans enjoy scaring the bejesus out of me whilst I am driving. So far I have driven a grand total of three times in this lovely country and each time I seem to learn something new about the locals driving techniques or lack there of. Granted I cannot really judge them too harshly because my own skills would fall far below of what most would consider fantastic abilities behind the wheel but at least I can stay in my own lane without causing near panic attacks to my passengers... anymore (I swear Jezl that I will never again pass so many cars on the freeway, promise). Most of the near accidents have involved bikers and their right to the road. Now I understand that they should be given certain privileges when it comes to the right of way. I get that part. What I don't seem to be able to grasp is why the roads here in the land of fondue should make the roadways so narrow that two cars cannot pass each other when a bike is on the same road. Even though that road has a designated bike lane. Oh wait, maybe it is because the designers of said roads placed decorative potted plants in the middle, parting both sides as a way to keep the lanes separate and slow traffic down at the same time. Which makes it near impossible to drive around either the car or the bike. So I have to pick my battles, no matter which path I choose to take I lose. I don't like losing at all, but I'm taking it with a grain of salt and hopefully in my near future a tequila shot to go with it, possibly a lime as while but those are a rarity of sorts here, lemons are more common.
Another thing about the roads here are that every few kilometers that you drive there will inevitably be a radar in order to make sure that drivers are going no more than a few km over the limit. If, for example, a driver were to go 15km over the limit their license will be taken away for three months. Now in the states that would mean that any person caught going over 9 mph over the limit would no longer have the ability to drive for three solid months legally. That is nothing! Whenever I drive anywhere in the states I usually go at least 5 miles over. Over here though I don't dare, because the example I gave is from my boss, who in fact had that happen to him driving back from Italy over the Alps. Granted it was a complete speed trap and he was unfamiliar with the area, but still it made taking the kids to their activities that much more difficult.
The narrow roadways are even more fun to drive on when it has hairpin turns thrown in for good measure. There is a reason why people love driving fast cars here in Switzerland and I can say with very good certainty that it is to drive on the mountain roads. The road that I take to go to the tennis court for the kids lessons has about 10 very tight turns, in the space of 1.5 km. Did I mention that I drive an SUV here, well let me tell you these cars are not by any stretch of the imagination meant for tight turns. Since the oncoming traffic here likes to play chicken around the twists and turns while driving full speed and not even tapping the brakes once. I do have a feeling in a month or two I'll be taking those same corners like a pro but for right now I'm not going to pretend to enjoy the feeling I get in my stomach when I see a large truck barreling down the road at me, when the road is barely wide enough for my car as it is. Its like an awful roller coaster ride that I can't get off, but I want to very very badly because I know it is going to break down while it is upside down. Leaving me literally hanging there for an hour until the fire department comes to get me off that godforsaken ride that I didn't really want to go on in the first place, but my family peer pressured me into.
End of rant.
p.s. my new favorite German phrases are as follows:
Ich fühle mich fantastisch!
Der Dachdecker deckt dein Dach, drum dank dem Dachdecker, der dein Dach Deckt. (note this is supposed to be a tongue twister)
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