When Don and I flew from the States to Germany, we were booked on a military chartered flight. We landed at a base (now closed) called Rhein Main, which shares a runway with Frankfurt International Airport, about a 120 min drive from where we live in the Rheinland Pfalz region.
Before we left the States we were told that there would be someone from Dons’ unit, called a Sponsor, who would be there to greet us and drive us to the base and our temporary lodging. After 8 hours on an airplane filled to the max with everything from screaming babies, barking dogs, deploying troops, etc. we were starting to realize how different our life was from when we walked onto the plane. Things took a sharp turn for the worse when we arrived and discovered there was no one waiting for us at the airport, and we were basically left to find our way to Ramstein. We must have looked pretty pitiful and desperate because a couple of people who worked at the base/airport told us that if we needed a ride we could buy a seat on one of the shuttles that take you to your assigned base.
We purchased the last two seats on this small shuttle bus (it was like a rental car shuttle you see at the airport) that was packed out with tired, cranky, jet-lagged Americans. As we slowly made our way out of the city and into the German countryside I kept noticing these blue and white signs with the word “Ausfahrt” (pronounced ow-s- fahrt). Yes, it sounds like you think it sounds. I hear you snickering. Let’s face it, “fahrt” sounds funny to Americans no matter what language it is. I thought this was the name of a town so I asked Don, “Where is this Ausfahrt, Germany? I’ve seen signs for miles.” He shrugged and said that he was wondering the same thing.
The entire ride from the airport to the base it was this big mystery. Where was Ausfahrt, Germany? How big of a town was it that there were so many signs for it? Do all roads in Germany lead to Ausfahrt?
What I learned later on is that “ausfahrt” means literally to “drive out” or exit–which only makes it funnier if you think about it. You see this sign at all Autobahn exits. I discovered later that you can buy a t-shirt at the Base Exchange (store) that says “Where the heck is Ausfahrt, Germany?” which makes me feel better because it means that I wasn’t the only person who thought it was a town!
Just in case you are wondering the word for entrance is einfahrt (teehee).
Have a great weekend everybody and don’t miss your ausfahrt!