Saturday, April 18, 2015

Euro Spring 2015 - Part 24 - If It's Saturday, It Must Be Belgium

Where Our Heroes
  • Again take on the challenge of driving the Benlux
  • Get taken advantage of by a recalcitrant GPS
  • Find a way to meet up with our kids - even when they tried to not meet up with us
  • Settle roots
  • Master recycling
  • Plunder the local grocery
  • Double our expenditure on brandy
Our kids and we had decided that it would be a good idea to go visit somewhere since it is pretty tight in their flat when we visit if it is more than a few days.  The result was our decision to drive into the Ardennes Forest in Belgium and get a rental house for a week.  This means our picking up rental cars in Amsterdam and making the journey through the Netherlands and Belgium.  Where we're going is almost the opposite end of the the countries from where Amsterdam is.  Of course the worse part of this is driving in Amsterdam as that requires not wiping out a few hundred bicyclists at each intersection.

We're using (what has been) our trusty Tom Tom GPS.  There had been a panic before we left for this trip getting the new map uploaded as there was a software update that the MAC security settings were keeping Tom Tom from being uploaded.  Anyway it picked out where we were and found were we were going so all was good.  Except that about 45 minutes into the drive the Tom Tom just stops giving directions.  We took a wrong turn and it was clear we were no longer getting directions.  After stopping and resetting it, we found our car has a GPS also so we set that and ended up having two devices giving us directions.  They agreed by the way.

Our detour with the GPS error meant that we were behind the kids in our scheduling.  They made this big to do about we'd just meet at the rental and didn't need to coordinate our driving together.  Guess they get embarrassed by the old folks.  We'd called the kids one more time to see if they wanted to meet with us but hey insisted they had snacks and were driving through.  After a couple of hours we needed to stop for lunch and a pit stop. So we walk into the restaurant at the rest stop and whose sitting there, desperately trying to avoid being noticed by us - The Kids.  So we had lunch with them anyway.

It was another hour of driving and we got to the small town, got our one hour briefing with post briefing test of the rules of the rental, and got everyone unpacked and settled in.  You laugh about the briefing but the recycling rules alone were enough to drive everyone to drink.

As with all trips to rentals, it is necessary to stock up on all kinds of food stuffs and cleaning materials so we could make sue of it.  This mean heading out and doing a full shopping.  You always say you're going to pick up just a few things but it ends up being a big load because you have to supply all your paper and grocery products.   At least here though we were able to get a decent bottle of Cognac as opposed to the 9 Euro stuff we were getting in Malta.

No comments: