The day I took my kids to the Reeperbahn…

Do you like driving in big cities? How do you navigate through all those one-way streets? Do you pay attention to street signs?  I know technology has improved and Garvin and Tomtom have eased our fear of driving and navigating through unknown parts of cities or countries. The next generation probably won’t even go on a walk without their GPS devices in hand.

Many years ago I took my kids to visit the city of Hamburg in Germany. One morning we got up early and went to the fish market. But the kids’ interest in the market didn’t last. They wanted breakfast. I asked around for a place to have breakfast and someone suggested a McDonald’s. They pointed us into the direction we were supposed to go. And so we walked… and walked…

The kids got tired and cranky. I couldn’t see any McDonald’s anywhere… It was still very early in the morning. Did I mention it was Sunday? I also didn’t pay attention to any signs we passed. Suddenly my eyes saw MANY signs. But no McDonald’s sign. No these were signs of Hamburg’s red light district, the famous Reeperbahn. That was a wake up call! Of course, there were no people around since people in this part of the city had just gone to bed merely 2 hours ago. A GPS with some help on how to find the closest McDonald’s would have been great!

We did find a McDonald’s that morning, and we did have our breakfast/lunch (=brunch). Today my kids laugh about their mother’s sense of direction.

But it wasn’t just that I lacked a sense of direction. I also hadn’t paid attention to the signs along the way that became more and more explicit, and no words were necessary to explain what area of the city we were walking into.

Sometimes I get so distracted, or I’m so occupied in my mind that I don’t pay attention to what is happening around me. This always leads to some kind of trouble. It might “just” be a faux-pas, or it might cost me some 30 min of extra driving because I missed the exit… Or I might just get soaking wet on a hike because I didn’t notice the rain (see this story here).

It always pays to be alert and to pay attention to the signs…

What signs did you miss? What signs did you follow?

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