to getting my Norwegian drivers’ license is taking a lesson……… that was this morning. One and a half hours behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Polo. Nifty little car, with a few really cool bells and whistles – like automatic parking. It’s really weird. You put it in auto-park, the car finds the parking spot, and all you do is use the gas and brake, and it maneuvers in backwards. It tells you when to shift gears, and you keep your hands OFF the steering wheel. Fortunately, we didn’t play with that until we returned to the traffic school, or I may have just cut and run.
David had the first 1 1/2 hour lesson. He’s driven here already – for the three months we had on our old licenses. Now, we are in the appeal stage, awaiting the verdict as to whether they will treat us like Canadians, or Omanis. In the mean time, we imagined the worst-case scenario, in which we take the whole course of lessons, as if we were 17 and new drivers. If the decision goes in our favour, we will only have to take the driving test. We’ll see, but we are in the loop, anyway.
We drove all over Sandnes, along main roads, freeways, back roads, country road by lovely lakes and parks, in the old part of town where everything is on a hill and the side streets are barely wide enough for two cars. Learned the rules about speed zones here – if it’s not clearly marked at EVERY intersection, it is 50 km/h in build-up areas, and 80 otherwise. Learned how you are REALLY supposed to drive a traffic circle. Gave way at every zebra crossing, and everyone to the right of me in an uncontrolled intersection. Those are really the big three.
In a couple of weeks or so, we’ll be out again – this time into Stavanger where there is more traffic, and the crazy, narrow old section by the port where I would rather NOT drive. In the meantime, I’ll be very conscious of every intersection and speed change and sign that I see, even while on my bike. And hopefully next time, I’ll keep my foot off the clutch more, and my hand off the inside of the steering wheel.
This afternoon, I need to begin checking out the used car dealerships. Once we are legal (if we win the appeal, we will get a three month temporary license so we can drive and practice while we wait our turn for the test – it’s a 10-12 week wait.
Interesting country – Norway. They have some funny rules, but, if the sun is shining, you can’t find a more beautiful place. Helge, the instructor, old me that they have a special word for the break in the weather when it isn’t raining. so I’m not the only one watching for it.