Day 24 – Getting Started in Europe (Frankfurt, Germany)

Next to the Motorhome hire place, was a large store, kind of like a Harvey Norman, so we went in and picked out a TomTom, GPS navigator. This was a challenge in itself, as the assistant didn’t speak much English, and we had to try and communicate what we needing it for. With lots of pointing and gesturing, we managed to get one that would do the job.

When we got to the checkout, we learnt they didn’t take Mastercard or Visa.

In German, by a very emotionless and efficient check out operator, we were told they only take ICB Card (or something like that); next. No emotion – total efficiency. Ros and I were still at the head of the line and she was already serving the person behind us. We were just looking at each other trying to work out hat had just happened, and more importantly, what to do next.

Since we hadn’t been anywhere, we still didn’t have any cash.

We were standing around trying to work out what to do next and I don’t mind admitting, I was really starting to feel the pressure. Even Ros said she had never seen me that out of sorts. I think this was the first time it hit me, what we had actually committed too. We were now in a country where we didn’t speak the language, know the lay of the land or have a plan, and I wasn’t sure what to do next.

Beside the electronic store, was a “casino” or a shop full of poker machines. In a stroke of genius moment, I figured it would be just like the casinos and clubs at home, with an ATM in the foyer or somewhere. So I went in.

I was partly right. It did have an ATM, but you could only withdraw some sort of token, that you put into another machine, that changed it into coins for the poker machine. I tried to ask the girl at the counter if the tokens were tokens or Euro’s and she did her best to answer (in German of course), but still unsure I decided not to risk it, and left, still with no money, no GPS and no plan.

The guy from the hire place came over to the van, wondering why we were still there and if there was a problem. He even asked Ros if I was scared to drive the motorhome. When she told him what was happening, he gave us directions to town, where we found bank, got cash, went back to shop, purchased the GPS  and were now good to go. The question of course, was go where?

Playing around with the GPS we found under the points of interest, it had a camp ground option, so we selected the closest one and headed off.

At last, we were finally moving. (This was about 4 hours after actually arriving at the motorhome place).

Along the road, we tried to find a grocery store to do some shopping and buy food. But since we didn’t know or recognise any brands, we had no idea what we were looking for. At last we found a McDonalds, so we pulled in for dinner. Finally we felt we were making ground.

After dinner we drove by an Aldi (the first brand we recognised) and went in. Once inside, we couldn’t understand the brands or the options. We couldn’t even work out what animal the mince was from.

We did get some goods (coffee, cereal, biscuits) and then headed on to the camp ground.

By now it was well and truly dark. We followed the GPS directions to the letter, but when it told us we had arrived at our destination – there was no destination to be found. After about 30 minutes of looking, we gave up, selected the next camp ground in the GPS and drove another 30 minutes away.

This time we found it, but as it was late, reception was closed. As the motorhome is fully self contained, we just camped in the car park out the front.

We had just climbed into bed when a train went past, scaring the crap out of us all. We were parked right beside an active line. For most of the night, the trains continued to run. The ever efficient German Railway system.

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