The ballad of the Swiss vignette…

Sung to the Gilligan’s Island theme song… (although I’m sure a lot of you younguns don’t know about Gilligan’s Island…)

Just sit right back and you’ll read a tale,
A tale of a stressful jaunt.
With traffic backed up horribly,
Upon the Autobahn.

The driver was a contractor,
His wife by his side long haul.
The two passengers set off that day
For a trip to the mall. (A trip to the mall)

The traffic started getting slow,
The Mini Coop was tossed,
If not for the patience of fearless Bill
The Mini would be lost, the Mini would be lost.

The car crawled down the Autobahn, like every other schmuck
Seemed every German
near Stuttgart
Was similarly stuck.

So this is the tale of our hapless crew,
In traffic for a long, long time,
They’ll have to make the best of things,
It’s an uphill climb.

The cranky wife and her husband too,
Must do their very best,
To make themselves less miserable,
In that highway mess.

No exits, no shade, no pretty lakes
Just endless lights from brakes,
A Stau from Hell it sure was,
Obnoxious enough to cuss.

So join us here in an hour my friend,
We’re sure to still be there,
Just two unlucky motorists,
Hurrying to get nowhere!

This Stau sucked!

Today’s creative opening comes courtesy of the two hour odyssey Bill and I suffered today on our quest to buy Swiss vignettes at the ADAC store in Sindelfingen’s Brueningerland.  Ordinarily, the trip to that mall takes maybe a half hour from where we live, down here on the edge of the Black Forest (with all the other nuts).  Today, I swear to God, it took about two hours.

The trip started off innocently enough.  We had beautiful weather.  I was giving some thought to visiting somewhere pretty and/or cool, where we could walk around, have a nice lunch, take pictures, and go home.  But then I realized that in two weeks, we’ll be driving through Switzerland.  So I told Bill that maybe we should go to the ADAC store in Sindelfingen to pick up 2018 Swiss vignettes.

We really should have just gone to the damn Swiss border!  Or, barring that, we should have just ordered them and had them mailed.  These stickers are good from December 1, 2017 until January 31, 2019.

My original plan was to go to the Swiss border itself.  In retrospect, that probably would have taken us less time.  But at about noon today, we still didn’t know that there had been some kind of big accident on the Autobahn.  We were blissfully ignorant of what lie ahead on that stretch of treacherous highway.  So off we went north, the top down, Van Morrison blaring on the stereo.  We got up to just beyond the Ehningen exit when traffic slowed to a crawl.

Bill checked the GPS and didn’t see any reason why we should be held up, but we sure as hell were.  The traffic was absolutely horrible.  It turned out the police had shut down the part of the road that goes through Sindelfingen, so everyone had to detour off of exit 23.  It was a nightmare.  By the time we got to the mall, it was about 2:00.  I was decidedly cranky and hangry as we parked and went inside the surprisingly cool shopping mall, which, for once wasn’t a madhouse.

The wait at ADAC was also blessedly short.  In fact, we had no wait there at all.  We bought two vignettes at a cost of 71,50 euros.  Then, we went searching for food.  For some reason, I’m always at Breuningerland when I’m hungry.  I get very irritable when I’m hungry.  Bill was pretty funny, because he could see how tense I was.  As I eyed the menu at Nordsee, he said, “Isn’t there a restaurant up on the top floor that has wine?”

“Why?” I asked him.  “Do you think I need wine?”

“Clearly.” he said, nodding.  We made our way to the top level and went searching for a place to have a late lunch… later than I would have wanted it, anyway.

Actually, we ended up having lunch at Miyo, which is an Asian “Soul Food” place.  They have a sushi bar, which was packed today.  I didn’t have the patience for that, so we went to the main counter and ordered a chicken Satay with peanut sauce for Bill and a Mandarin sweet and sour duck dish for me.  You order at the counter and they give you your drink and bring the food out to you.

The chicken came with a rich peanut sauce, which I loved.  The vegetables were nice, too.  The rice was both dry and sticky, though.  It was stuck together in clumps, yet kind of had a dryness, as if it had been sitting awhile.  I’m not sure how they managed that.  Business was steady today.

My duck was crispy, but came with sweet and sour sauce, pineapples, bamboo, carrots, and red peppers.  Bill said that after a couple of bites, the color came back into my cheeks.  We washed this down with Erdinger weizens.


Miyo wasn’t a bad place to have lunch, although I’ve had better Asian food.  It did the trick in wiping the scowl off my face.  I felt remarkably better after I got rid of my hanger.

Then, Bill said, “Hey, do you think we should go get some tequila?”

I said sure to that, so we went to the Edeka on the first level of the mall.  We picked up bottles of gin and tequila– the gin is for Bill and the tequila is for me.  We also bought some rather sickly looking limes and some chocolate.  You know, the essentials…

Tequila, limes, gin, and chocolate…

I managed to resist the troughs of Nutella…

And the “shots” obviously meant for horny 20 year olds who want to get drunk.  They probably taste great, though.


By four o’clock, we were ready to head home.  I was relieved to see that traffic was flowing southbound.  But the northbound side was still shut down, a good three hours after we first got caught in the Stau.  Whatever happened was clearly very serious.  Bill noted that it took us a lot less time to buy the vignettes, eat lunch, do a little shopping, and go home than it did to drive up A81 to get to the mall in the first place.

Many police officers and highway crew were still clearing the scene two hours after we arrived at the mall.


That Stau was no joke!


We’re both now exhausted.  This will probably be us tonight.  Hopefully tomorrow, we’ll go somewhere a little less irritating.


There is definitely a reason the Stuttgart area is nicknamed STAUgart.

Edited to add:  Here’s a translated news story about the cause of the Stau.

It’s not that fast. After at midday a scrap truck on the A 81 – at the height Breuningerland – had tipped over, the clean-up work continues. A tip to the drivers: Sindelfingen drive around.

The reason why the scene of the accident has not yet been cleared: Many small metal parts, which were scattered by the accident on the highway, must be picked up laboriously. The sharp-edged sheet metal remnants could otherwise lead to damage to cars and possibly subsequent accidents. According to the police, the motorway in the direction of Stuttgart is therefore likely to remain closed until around 18:15 / 18:45. You may be able to temporarily open a lane. Currently, traffic is being diverted at the motorway exit Böblingen / Sindelfngen. Traffic on the highway is currently jamming back to Ehingen. Also in Sindelfingen and partly also in Böblingen the roads are heavily encumbered by the motorway closure. Best, you bypass the area spacious.


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