Luxembourg (2011)

The Journey

Vacation at last! We load the car to the brim and we drive to Luxembourg one stop after another.

Vacation starts slightly later than planned. Although I would have easily bet money on the chance of us not being on the move at eight in the morning, loading everything into the car does take longer than estimated. We have packed pretty much everything we want to bring along, but it takes quite some time before we manage to get it all in the back of the car. And of course there are a million odds and ends that we decide to take along last minute. Two of which are the foldable chairs we figure might come in useful, at a time when the car is pretty much already full. I wonder if by now we have not just packed the entire contents of our apartment and fully expect to assemble our IKEA-bookcase in the tent later that day.

But, we do manage to get everything inside the vehicle, I have my ANWB-roadmap ready and the ideal route to Luxembourg planned (not a very difficult feat as it seems to be, as the Germans say it so succinctly, immer gerade aus), so nothing can go wrong! After Vonne misses the usual turn towards the highway and we are heading for Aalsmeer instead of Luxembourg, I decide it might be good after all to have Google Maps navigate us to the roads that are actually on the Benelux map. This works like a charm, and a few minutes later we are heading for holiday after all.

We are underway

It is about a four hour drive to the part of Luxembourg we are heading for, which is Little Switzerland on the eastern border with Germany. This means we should pass through Maastricht about halfway through the journey. That does sound fairly strange—being halfway through your vacation trip, and still being within the Netherlands. But, it is a good opportunity for lunch and a break. Because apart from that stop, we are not breaking for anything!

We somehow manage to ignore every single gas station until we have just passed it.

Well, other than perhaps the first stop on a parking near Utrecht, since Vonne has placed the cooler box on the back seat in a backwards position, so that we can not reach our travel snacks. And despite her suggestions, I am not quite comfortable climbing through the car in the middle of the highway, getting in between the seats and provide the driver in front of us with a beautiful image of my rear end through the windshield. But, a short stop later, the situation has been rectified and we are now unstoppable.

Okay, another stop right after lunch then, since the road runs off the map at Eijsden in Limburg, and the only way to continue following it is by folding the map the other way around. Vonne immediately and helpfully suggests doing so, but when I fully open it on both our laps and threaten to unfold the rest, she realises that our view of the actual road will turn into a view of a scaled-down version of West Flanders, and sighing turns into yet another parking.

And yes, alright, once in Luxembourg proper, we also have to stop because the fuel is running low. As the needle on the gas meter starts slowly but certainly dropping into the red zone, Vonne is pretty sure that the remaining gas will still take us through half of Europe, but I convince her that filling it up might be beneficial. Somehow, though, we manage to ignore every single gas station until we have just passed it. Even a giant blue neon-covered Aral station in Clairvaux manages to escape our attention until I point out that they might be in the business of selling gas as we speed past it.

Fortunately, the engine does not fail on us before we reach Little Switzerland and as we drive into Echternach, we decide that the time has come to start looking for a decent campsite. Mission ‘Reach Luxembourg’ is now officially a success!

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