Monday, August 24, 2009

Bruges and the Drive to Germany

Oof. It's hot in Germany. It was hot in Belgium. Weeks like these make me miss living in the States where everyone has A/C. our stinking cars don't even have working A/C, and lemme tell ya, that has made for some miserable long drives. Sleeping at night with no A/C can get pretty uncomfortable, too.

The ferry ride to Dover was quick and easy. Caleb enjoyed going to the top deck and looking out as we watched the cliffs of Dover grow smaller and smaller. The other two decks we were allowed on had a couple of coffee shops, a restaurant, a bar, some shops and some general seating areas. We spent most of our hour and a half trip chasing after Caleb who has no concept of sitting still.

The drive through France was unremarkable and fast. We had no problems finding Belgium, but got a bit lost trying to find the B & B we had reserved. I have to say, the lesson for this trip is that no amount of planning can adequately prepare you for the actual trip. Both the GPS and the printed sets of directions have led us astray on many occasions so far. The nice thing about the GPS, though, is that you can get SOME sense of orientation after you've driven through a town four times. Fortunately, the owner of the B & B was able to find us and we followed him to his gorgeous home.

We ventured into Bruges next. What a beautiful city! We only had a few hours to spend and managed to squeeze in a boat tour of the canals and a half of a horse and carraige tour. We also managed to eat too much chocolate and some waffles.

I guess I was confused about what half a horse and carraige tour meant. I thought we'd take a mini-tour and end up back in the same spot. Instead, we were dropped off way on the other side of town in an area we hadn't been to yet. Now the nice thing about this is that you get to see another side of Bruges that we might have otherwise missed. The not-so-nice thing is that I was so engrossed in eating my waffle that I didn't pay any attention to where we were headed and became completely lost. We hadn't gone far, but we got so turned around on the tour that it took us ages getting back to our car. We passed the same church three times. By the end we were just ready to get back to the B & B.

This morning, we ate breakfast at the B&B before setting off to German. The four hour drive ended up taking almost six due to a severe traffic accident and stops necessary for maintaining toddler sanity. We did have to fuel up for the first time since leaving base, and it was painful! €80 to fill our tank. OUCH! That's $114 on that day's rate. And we Americans complain about high gas prices!

While driving through France was unremarkable, the drive through Belgium and Germany were beautiful. The hills and country side were very picturesque. I wanted to take pictures, but as I was driving, it wasn't feasible. There must have been hundreds of windmills, though! I am so distracted by windmills. I find myself wondering how on earth they were erected, what would happen if those giant blades suddenly fell, how much power they really generate, and all kinds of entertaining ideas while I drove up and down the hills of Belgium.

We got to our TLFs (temporary living facility - complete with our own kitchenette and living room) by about 3 pm. Tommy's first pre-op appointment is tomorrow, and we'll know for sure if his corrective eye surgery is a go. In the mean time, we're trying to make the best of this hot weather and the lack A/C.

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