Shirley, the Hitchhiker, Saves the Day

Greg & I were soooo ready to escape by car to anywhere, since house-bound in a foreign country without my jewelry-making gizmoes had all the appeal of an expensive prison. BUT our escape was well worth the wait! Rick Steves' terrific book on touring Germany & Austria set us on a counterclockwise scenic path through much of the western half of Germany, including parts of the Romantic Road, then westward to the Mosel & Rhine rivers, then down to Baden-Baden, & back to Munich. But it was Shirley who made this itinerary work.

I had to pick just the right time to introduce Shirley to Greg. As we sat in our newly-rented car with Greg's large, clumsy maps spread across our laps, I watched his geographic frustration begin to boil, trying to read the tiny print in the clutter. It was time for Shirley's big entrance. Luckily I had pre-programmed the new Garmin Nuvi 360 to get us from the rental car agency to our first stop. Before Greg knew what hit him, Shirley's calm voice was directing us down the road toward Rothenburg. Without question, that Garmin is the best investment either of us made for this trip to Europe! $140 for the device plus about $90 for software for Europe saved us untold HOURS of wasted time each day, plus gasoline @ $7/gal in Germany & France! Let's just say that whenever Greg & his maps disagreed with Shirley, Shirley was ALWAYS right! All "errors" by Shirley were really operator error-- that's me. I'm only a little jealous when I say that by the end of driving-day-1, Greg was in love with Shirley.

His 2nd favorite item in Europe was the rental car itself & the best deal I could find in my Google research. Sixt rental agency, a very reputable European company with outlets in major cities, was very responsive to my emailed questions & quoted us a fair price for a cheap car. Greg was delighted to see our Cooper Mini One, a sporty little car redesigned by BMW. So armed with our cute rental car & Shirley, we were off!

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