Monday, June 09, 2008

Garmin you're on

We’re at Frankfurt Hahn, Germany and it’s time for Garmin to do its thing! The first task was a simple one, “Take us to Koblenz”, but we made a bad start on that one with Garmin giving directions that took us the opposite direction we believed should have been the case. We arrived at that decision based on signs we decided meant cars shouldn’t be there.

We seemed to be the only car going in the direction but we dutifully followed the instructions and we eventually found ourselves travelling through some of the most beautiful countryside imaginable; fields of every shade of green you could think of; trees of every type, some we see at home but others seemed new. Although a secondary road most of us would be pleased to have to drive over it each day.

Three times Garmin told us to take turns that were one-way streets, no passage allowed due to road works or made calls too late for me to act on. We didn’t have a very good middle game I’m afraid. It seems we were trying to connect with a main arterial route but just couldn’t make it. After ‘recalculating’ each time we missed a turning we seemed to take some obscure pathway to get us back on track.

While we were having these teething problems we got to see a lot of places that weren’t on our ‘detailed’ map of Germany but not many of those that were! We visited some delightful villages along the Rhine and nearby valleys; grapes seemed to be growing everywhere and all villages were very neatly ordered and in strong contrast to many we had seen in Turkey and Greece.

However, we kept missing Koblenz by about 10 km until we decided that even if we did get there we had somehow to get back to our hotel in Frankfurt – which we hadn’t yet booked into – so decided to reset Garmin on a course for the city. In this area Garmin performed creditably ensuring we stayed left or right or whatever was required and that we took the correct exits at the right time.

It was a different story though when we asked him to find the street our hotel was in. We seemed to get locked into a circular route we couldn’t break out of. Garmin couldn’t see the one way streets or those with temporary road works, thus requiring us to decline the choice he had given us.

Eventually we pulled into a parking building, called the hotel and asked how to find them; we did that on foot since it was not far from where we had parked. Once we established where we should have been and had a good look at the neighbourhood, we picked up the car and parked it in the grounds of the hotel across the road – 8 euros per night!

We now have a detailed map of Frankfurt to use while Garmin and I develop a better working relationship. He earned enough points to ensure he stays on the show for another day.

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