corders in the hague

It's like having the Corders round for dinner - except the kids don't smash stuff and Mike doesn't drink all your booze. And when you're bored you can get rid of us with a mouse click rather than having to start tidying up the house.

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Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hols I

In the clouds in the Vosges.

So, we’re back from France after tooling around the country visiting my mother and brother, getting wet, sunburned, frozen and windswept, being treated like royalty and like shit by the French.
Getting to France from The Hague is an entertaining process Australians on your island continent can only dream about.
If you leave early and don’t get held up every two miles by a Dutch sleurhut (see earlier post for translation) attempting to overtake a truck doing 80kmh uphill (good luck avoiding that happening to you), you can hit France for lunch and rack up your fourth country in as many hours after the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. I’ve spent longer than that in queues to check in at Sydney airport.
We lunched at a roadside service station in Luxembourg where thousands of penny-pinching Dutch drivers were queuing up for hours to save a few euros on their fuel bills thanks to low Luxembourg tax. My guess is that if you leave your engine running while sitting in the pre-petrol pump traffic jam your idling engine wastes more money than you earn from the cheap fuel.
For our first ever trip with pooch, those helpful Luxemburgers had fenced off a dog dunny and even more helpfully, they put the picnic tables right next to it, so we could watch dogs crapping and smell the turds while we ate.
As well as our first trip with dog, it was also the first European excursion for our satellite navigation system nicknamed Rob in honor of AP Sydney photographer Rob Griffith, a lover of all gadgets and early advocate of the technology. We even managed to program the thing to talk to us in an Australian accent.

I know we pitched the tent around here somewhere...

I don’t want this to sound like an advert (unless somebody at Tom Tom wants to pay me wads of cash), but the thing was a small miracle. To get to our first stop, a tiny campsite near the mountain village of Gerardmer in the Vosges, it directed us across country and up roads that were barely more than goat tracks, bringing us unerringly to the forest clearing and its bustling population of Dutch campers (if you are having trouble being plagued by Dutch people all over the world and want to escape, I suggest you visit the Netherlands in July or August. The place is empty).Let’s draw a veil over the Vosges (pretty though it is in a pine-clad, rolling hills kind of way). It rained. We left the tent windows rolled up. Our stuff got wet.We packed up the tent the following morning in pouring rain with kids steaming in the car. The rain stopped the very second we closed the door to drive away but Esther and Julia still had their first experience of driving through clouds rather than under them.We then plowed south under gray skies – even the sunflowers in fields along the way seemed embarrassed and gazed at the shoes in the absence of any sun to turn their faces towards.
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Blogger Hong Kong Merretts said...

Back in Hong Kong for a week where the local government seems unthreatened by your holiday news and allows me to view your blog. The same cannot be said for the Central Government which steadfastly refuses to let me to catch up on your seditious tales of swimming in the Ibie. Lovely to catch up on your news. Love Becky x

4:46 AM  

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