My Belgian birthday! Part six

We got up early yesterday morning, had breakfast, and did some basic cleaning up of the house.  I’m usually awake by 5:30am because Bill wakes me on his way to work.  This time of year, waking up is effortless because we get so much daylight.  The sun is up by five o’clock in the morning and sets at around ten in the evening.  I could have used a few more minutes of sleep to prepare me for the odyssey that was getting back to Germany.

I had suggested to Bill that he might want to consider driving through France.  That’s what we did the last time we drove home from Belgium.  We did have to pay tolls, but we ran into less traffic.  Bill was eyeing the projected eight or nine hour haul and decided it would be quicker to come back via Germany (as opposed to Germany and Luxembourg, which was yet another route we took last fall).  Since Bill was driving, I demurred to his wishes.

We set off at about eight o’clock, not having said goodbye to Marianne because we didn’t know if she was up yet.  About two hours into our drive, I got a message from her expressing sorrow that we hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye in person.  I immediately felt badly about that.  She had shown us the spot to put the keys and I thought that meant she was expecting us to just go.

Anyway, I sent her a message thanking her profusely for her hospitality and promising that I’d write a good review.  She really is a nice lady and we enjoyed her very unusual and old house.

As we progressed east, Bill was nervously watching the GPS.  We had already hit several traffic jams and he was getting tired.  I was already hungry by 10:30am, plus I’ve been ragging for several days.  Bill was in a hurry to get home and we had the dogs with us, so he kept driving… and driving…  And then, when we crossed over into Germany, we entered an area with a dearth of rest areas.  Besides being hungry, I also needed to pee.

I got grouchier and grouchier and started fantasizing about biergartens.  Then Bill noticed that there was a huge delay on our route.  It would take 162 minutes to get through it.  Quickly, he consulted the GPS for another route…  one that would take us through France.  (sigh– why doesn’t he listen to his hangry wife?)

Zane was camped out on our cooler, trying to get as close to up front as his harness would allow.  Arran, being an unusually calm traveler, was passed out on the back seat.  I wish he was that chill in all situations.

Finally, we reached the town of Zweibruecken, which appeared to be a relatively nice little city.  He pulled into a McDonald’s and got us some of Ronald’s cooking…  It filled a purpose, although I couldn’t help wishing we could have found a nice local place where we could dine with the pooches.  Maybe next time.  It was about 1:30pm, so I was pretty cranky when we stopped.

The rest of the drive back was equally distressing, especially when we stopped for gas at the horrible Pforzheim rest stop.  That place is always a madhouse.  I have never not seen the parking lots full.  Add in the obnoxious truckers who were driving down the parking lot against the slanted parking spaces and you have a recipe for gratuitous swearing.

This was Pforzheim yesterday.  It was a mob scene.


I think we finally arrived home at 5:30pm.  I went to the mailbox to see if there were any instructions as to how to pick up our coffee.  There weren’t.  I checked Deutsche Post to see if we could track down where the coffee ended up.  Their Web site crashed on me.  I was expecting to get a visit from the postal person today, but Bill just emailed me to say that the coffee ended up in our CMR mailbox.  Although we had sent it to our German address, my billing address was the CMR box.  So it went through customs, but ended up in the APO system.  Apparently, Bill was able to pick it up without any nastygrams or big duty bills.  Happy birthday to me, indeed!

Although yesterday’s drive home was exhausting, Bill did find the energy to go to Real and pick up some food for dinner… and a little slice of cake for me.  I got myself a keeper!  Which only goes to show you that it’s not a total waste of time to troll porn sites.  😉


We had a great time in Belgium.  I always have fun there.  Maybe we could have done more with our time, but we find that when we travel with our dogs, we just like to chill out and enjoy the local scene, eat local food, drink local beers and wines, and just simply enjoy being out of Germany for a few days.  Alveringem was a bit further away than we were expecting, but we had a great time there. Maybe if we go back, we’ll schedule two days of driving or fly.  One place I was expecting to visit on the way out was the Westvleterin Brewery.  We passed the town on the way to Alveringem.  But, since we left the area a different way, we didn’t get the chance to stop.  Oh well… given how long it took to get there and back, maybe it’s a blessing.

Maybe this weekend, we’ll make up for my birthday dinner with a trip to a nice restaurant or two.


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