Monday, 14 January 2013

European Road Trip Day 1 (Wednesday 30th May 2012)

Well one of my new year resolutions is to catch up on my blog, so I'd better make a start! I'm actually quite looking forwards to reminiscing over our trip round Europe last May Half-Term...

The kids missed the last couple of days of school before the half-term holiday, and we set off from home at 7am on the Wednesday morning. We had blue skies and a clear run to the Euro Tunnel, and managed to get on an earlier train than booked, at 9.50am.
We spent the grand total of 34 minutes in France! (As timed by Lucy!)
Then through Belgium...
We didn't quite manage to find a ring road round Brussels, so ended up driving right through the centre! We put on the satnav, and just followed it blindly through the city streets - it was a really nice detour actually - the kids liked seeing all the embassy buildings with the different flags on.
After Brussels, we stopped off at what we thought was a toilet stop, which just ended up being the world's scabbiest and smelliest car park. We then found a petrol station with a toilet, but you had to pay 50 cents for it, so we had to wait for Scott, who was getting diesel, who then had to go back and get some money, then I had to go and ask for change (in my amazing French), only I asked for 'quinze euro cents' (15 cents) instead of 'cinquante' (50). I then had to go back again (after I'd hurried off embarrassedly) to ask for more, when I realised she'd only given me two coins, explaining (again in my superb French) that I have four children... By that time Lucy and I were killing ourselves laughing, and I felt totally traumatised! At least nowadays I have the confidence to give my French a go, even if it is rubbish. (We realise with hindsight that no wonder Lucy needed the loo quite so often on the holiday, as her diabetes was probably getting started then...)
Back in the car, Scott summed our feelings up well by yelling 'Let's get the heck out of Belgium!'

We spent a little while in Holland, included driving through Mastericht (which was all building work),
then had a pretty uneventful drive through Germany.
We got to the Hotel Elite in Karlsruhe (which amusingly is twinned with Nottingham!) at about 7.30pm, and everything was straightforward. We liked our hotel rooms - everything was clean and nice. (Especially as we had booked pretty basic, cheap hotels for the trip.) Our first impressions of Germany were that it was very tree-ey, nice & green & clean. This was my first time in Germany. I know less than 10 words of German (and one of those is 'Camel', thanks to Lucy...), and I got to speak my first ever German to the lady in reception - 'Danke' - impressive or what?!
This is a picture which Lucy took of us going up in the mirror ceilinged elevator.
We had tea in our rooms, just made up of all our left over lunch stuff - sausages, boiled eggs, tomatoes etc, and played on our balconies, which overlooked the backs of lots of apartments. 
I shared with Tom and Harry (who had a nosebleed after going to bed.)
Tom and Harry, showing where we drove from and to on our first day! This was our longest driving day of the whole road trip, and the kids were great.

1 comment:

Jo Waters said...

Yay! I am glad you are back - I have missed your blog!!