blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sunday evening, getting to Ingolstadt

Munich airport was buzzing, with its famous Christmas market already in full swing in the space between Terminals 1 and 2. Too preoccupied for shopping, we walked round the edge with our luggage, seeking the car rental offices, eventually finding them in Terminal 1, and on the way catching a glimpse of the hotel where we’ll be on Wednesday. The AVIS girl, who was charming, spoke to us only in German, which was flattering. My attention wandered while Chris was filling in the forms so I didn’t catch the fact that she was giving us an automatic car, even though we’d been assigned a manual, originally. Chris didn’t quite catch this either. The car was waiting for us at spot 410 on Level 4 of Zone 6, at the western end. When we emerged from the “Lift” (they no longer use the German word Aufzug) there was no indication as to which way was west; we just kept walking to find the number. Parking spots in Europe are a lot tighter than in N. America; I couldn’t get into my side of the car, so was waiting outside as Chris turned on the ignition. A horrible scrunching noise from the engine; it was pretty clear to me that the brakes were still on. He said they weren’t. The car rolled forward fine when in neutral, but still refused to move when the drive gear was engaged. About five goes later Chris realised that it was indeed an automatic vehicle, with two pedals only, and that he’d been pressing both the accel and the brake pedal (not the clutch after all!) simultaneously. When you’re jet-lagged …

So we moved forward and, once we realised we needed the card she’d given us to open the barrier, out of the garage. The next challenge was working out how to input the destination address into the GPS gadget, but all it seemed to be giving us was a map of where we were, not where we had to go. We gave up and decided to follow the Google directions on my laptop instead, which I’d left at the correct page, but when I picked up that machine, the screen went blank. This meant that I had to try to remember what I’d read, back in London. I did well: apart from the distances I could remember all of the essentials, therefore we did head away from the airport in the right direction! First though, we were beeped at, because our headlights weren’t on, and it was already night. We had to pull over and try to get them working. This took a good five minutes, as tension levels rose. Then, with some difficulty, we pulled out into the traffic, following the signs for Alle Richtungen. The crucial turn from the airport highway was the one onto the A9 towards Nürnberg, some 15 minutes later. I was still trying to get the GPS to work to the accompaniment of distracting exclamations from Chris when we reached it; fortunately he spotted the slipway sign just in time. Once on the Autobahn, the navigation was self-evident; this was when we finally got the hang of the GPS, now that we didn’t really need it any more. The exit for Ingolstadt along the Maichingerstraße was clearly marked. There was only one turn to make once in the town, and the hotel was straight ahead.

We did a complete circumnavigation of the hotel before we found its rather small entrance. It is the Classic Oldtimer, built around a showroom of classic oldtimer cars. There’s a motorbike on our floor as well, and an alarming set of cymbals and drums, which I hope are just for show. On the walls, including bedroom walls, are pictures of girls from the past, all posing with cars.

In the evening, we had an Italian supper perched at one of the tall tables in the bar of an hotel diagonally across the road from ours, with a row of four large screens over the counter, each broadcasting a different TV channel, overstimulating for the eyes and brain, not healthy. The food and beer was good, though. After that we needed some fresh air, so we walked into the Klenzepark through a cyclists’ tunnel, the lamplight very dim, as is typical for Germany after dark, with mist rising from the lawns, passing what I now know is the Exerzierhaus and Reithalle that belonged to an old military fort, then the Reduit Tilly and the Turm Trivia, the German equivalent of Kingston’s Murney Towers in Ontario, now a Police Museum. Then we came upon the River Danube (die Donau) flowing swiftly along and reflecting the lights. The most impressive of these were the floodlights illuminating the Neues Schloss across the river. I snapped it from the bridge.

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