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September 10th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Rack of ribs I ate in Amsterdam, Holland

Following the relative peace and calm of day one of our trip to Europe, where I had time to blog about my day, have a nap and change my shirt before going out for dinner, today has been rather more busy. After consuming a rather charming full English breakfast for a modest fee, we left the sights and sounds of Amsterdam behind us and hit the road for day two of out trip.

It is probably worth mentioning here that I was the designated driver to kick start today’s proceedings, which meant navigating us through the streets of inner city Amsterdam and getting us safe and sound onto the motorway heading for Eindhoven. I have never driven in Europe in my life, never mind city centre driving, so it was all a bit of an experience. Luckily, Kieran has a VW Golf which is very similar to my old polo so I picked up the driving mechanics pretty quickly. The difficult bit wasn’t the driving on the right, or the fact the car was pretty much dead weight with all the gear we had packed in, but the fact I just couldn’t get my lane positioning right due to the driving position relative to the other road users. It took me the few kilometres of Amsterdam’s arterial routes to really get to grips with and then perhaps the next twenty or so kilometres of the motorway to put that into practice. However, after a little over an hour after setting off, I reckon I have the hang of this whole driving thing again. Although, we won’t mention the few near misses we encountered when negotiating a roundabout in Luxembourg!

Bar Cat, found on a bar on a coffee shop in Amsterdam, Holland

The drive to Eindhoven was pretty unremarkable in all fairness, although we knew that from the outset as we had consciously decided to try and make it pretty much to Belgium on the motorway then head off the beaten track for the rest of the day.

My driving stint ended a few kilometres north of Eindhoven when I swapped with Chris after filling the tank. Chris then took us into Belgium (where we posed for the obligatory photo) and through the Flemish region, again fairly uneventfully, until we hit the French region around Huy. We lunched at a Belgian supermarket before setting off again towards Luxembourg.

Arty picture I took in Luxembourg, Luxembourg

It was my turn again to drive when we set the sat-nav to Bastogne and headed for the national park. We had a few navigational hiccups involving filter lanes, 4-leaf clover junctions and an off piste search for a bathroom, but we made it to the Belgian/Luxembourg border pretty much unscathed. t was here that I decided to not see the car coming from our left when I pulled out onto a mini-roundabout. Luckily nothing happened apart from maybe turning a few of all our hairs grey and we could chalk it down to a experience and a few tweets at my expense.

The last stage of the journey was through mountainous north Luxembourg, which Kieran piloted without incident, where we took one of the most scenic routes I have had the pleasure of driving along. Definitely one of the high points of the trip so far.

We made it into Luxembourg a little after seven and by the time we were all checked in and had quaffed a beer or two the city was starting to be cloaked in darkness. I managed to get aa couple of snaps in of Notre Dame Cathedral and of the road leading up to the cathedral from our hotel, but the light was pretty bad by then and my Blackberry’s camera isn’t that great at night anyway.

The part of the city that overlooks the canal and leads down the rather steep cliff faces towards the canal itself is really rather something. Irt was beautifully eerie and romantic. The atmosphere, architecture and road layouts really made it something to behold. Definitely somewhere I would visit again with a special some one. Very, very romantic indeed! Pity I had to share the moment with Chris, George and Kieran!

Chris, George anf Kieran all trying to take a photo of a dark bridge at night. Luxembourg, Luxembourg

By 9pm we were all starving so started to look for somewhere to eat. it seems that Luxembourg is not a weekend city as almost every restaurant was shut or shutting. We eventually found a nice little Chinese place still serving where we ate heartily before heading back to the hotel.

Driving is tiring work, so we are all pretty shattered right now. It is after midnight local time at the moment and everyone else hit the sack a while ago. I am determined to try and get a post up every night of the trip, so please read and comment as it means I am more motivated to burn the candles at both ends to bring you my thoughts and experiences from the trip.

Tomorrow we are making the 500km trip to Munich via the Black Forest and we are planning to have left Luxembourg by around 9am, so not long for me to sleep now!

As always you can follow my thought and progress via my homepage or Twitter account, or the live tracking of our trip at Kieran’s site.

  1. September 10th, 2010 at 23:38 | #1

    Sounds a great trip so far mate, if you see any Bayern Munich stuff, would love a scarf or something, will pay you back!

    You need to get some Gateau during your drive tomorrow!

  2. Liz
    September 11th, 2010 at 00:17 | #2

    Hey dude, sounds like your having a really awesome time :-) Now, will someone tell me what bloody country Luxembourg is in .. and when you were in Belgium did you goto Ypres? Its really fantastical and awesome to see :-)

  3. sarann
    September 11th, 2010 at 09:05 | #3

    Keep up the good blog posts! I like the cat :-) I think you’re all very brave driving through Europe! I’ve no idea how you do a roundabout the wrong way round!

  4. September 11th, 2010 at 22:07 | #4

    Andrew – In Munich now, but got here after most of the shops shut. Will try again in the morning.

    Liz – Luxembourg is the capitol of Luxembourg. A little weird, but that’s Luxembourgers for you! Didn’t go to Ypres as it’s the wrong side of Belgium to us. Did cross part of the Somme valley and went through Bastogne instead though. Also passed Dachau on the way into Munich.

    Sarann – Thanks for the kind words about the blog :) makes the late nights worthwhile! The cat was awesome, pretty sure it’s the highlight of Kieran’s trip so far, lol. The roundabouts are fine unless you pull out in front of a car (like I did yesterday, but not today).

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