Roland: 11 weeks after our first encounter with the drivers registry in Leverkusen and over 8 weeks after we finally were allowed to apply for German Driver's licenses we thought it would be about time that we would actually RECEIVE our licenses. So last week on Tuesday I gave them a call to get an update on the status.
The Lady on the phone was very nice, but regretted telling me that the License Department was closed for two days due to being understaffed! So she asked me to try again on Thursday...
Imagine my surprise when I called again on Thursday, not only did I get somebody on the phone after only three rings, but that person was also able to find out within a few minutes that our licenses were indeed there! I could not believe my ears! We anyway had planned a weekend in Leverkusen, so we decided that I would take a day of vacation and we would pick up our licenses on Monday morning.
We arrived at the registry at 8:40 and were right away greeted by a sign saying "today only online appointments!". We did not have such, but we decided to try our luck anyway. When we entered the waiting area we found out that no appointment was necessary for picking up licenses (in fact someone had just "forgotten" to take off the sign from last week), but that we would have to stand in line in front of room 14 and we would be called in. Well, the problem was that the line was quite long already and nobody showed up to call anybody in for a long time.
Shortly after nine the door of room 14 opened, a guy came out and asked "Is there anybody who wants to pick up a driver's license?". Like a perfectly rehearsed choir the whole line answered "Yes that's why we are standing here!" The guy looked a little bit confused, and after a few seconds of reflecting on the situation he said "OK, the first one can come in!".
A few minutes nothing happened, then the door of room 15(!) opened, and a Lady came out asking "Is there anybody who want to pick up a driver's license?" Crowd: "Yes that's why we are standing here!" a startled expression, then "OK, the next one, please come in".
This game repeated a few times (variation: "Are REALLY all of you waiting for their license?"), and then we were finally asked in. The Lady explained to us that she actually is semi-retired already, but was asked to help out due to the staff shortage. So we gave her our Canadian licenses, and she went looking for our German ones. Of course, she found mine, but did not have such luck with Sonja's. She asked here colleague, but he could not help her either. Then she decided to check the other offices and finally came back with Sonja's license. Hallelujah!!!!
At around 10 AM we finally took possession of our German Driver's licenses, and now we are allowed to drive or ride vehicles of the classes AM, A1, A2, A, B, C1, BE, C1E, CE and L. This translates roughly into anything from a 25cc Moped over a Tractor to a 7.5 ton semi trailer...
As long as we ride
Readin' the road
Doesn't even matter
Where we're gonna go
And we'll all be doin' fine
As long as we ride
From Spock's Beard: As Long As We Ride