Spellchecker wants to change “Bruges” to “Brutes” so I can already tell this will be a fun post to write.
Have you ever embarked on a 300+ mile road trip in a car of questionable reliability? Spanning 3 foreign countries? Spoiler alert: we made it there and back. Barely.
An hour and a half into the drive we stopped at the “services” (aka rest stop) and promptly locked the keys in the car. This was just terrible luck since I only discovered the convoluted way to successfully lock the car about 2 days prior to the trip. We looked really awesome in this bank-holiday crowded parking lot trying to force the finicky window to roll down as it so often and randomly does. Fail. 45 minutes and a significant chunk of change later we were on our way. Can I mention that when I asked someone inside the service station if they had a number we could call or any suggestions, the man said, “there is nothing you can do” and finally suggested breaking the window. I’m sorry, but what?? Not helpful. I gave him the you-know-what look and said something patriotic about this happening all the time in America with no broken windows and then exited the building.
A little while later, the car engine or something under the hood gave one of those ka-chunk ka-chunk I can’t make it up this hill announcements. A split second after we exchanged horrified looks we saw a tow truck on the side of the motorway with our EXACT car on his tow bed. Silver, 2-door, VW Polo circa 1998. SO MANY BAD OMENS. Are we in a movie? Is someone filming all this? I thought we were doomed.
The rest of the drive was uneventful, thank heaven. We arrived in Folkestone in time to make our Eurotunnel train (nobody over here refers to it as the chunnel, by the way). We drove our car onto the train and 30 minutes later emerged in Calais, France. Bruges was an hour and a half away. Except we were exhausted and needed to sleep.
Some of you know that we planned to sleep in the car that first night. Yes, I know. So classy. You would think that experiencing Europe would lend us a bit more sophistication, but we seem to be regressing. The car was packed with necessities… blankets, pillows, a down comforter, a cooler, a ton of food… we ran out of food in Barcelona and had a flight delay and so we basically didn’t eat for an entire day. That will never happen again.
The finishing touch was a stack of custom, fancy window coverings that I fashioned out of cardboard. Yeah! I can’t think of anything worse than waking up to some stranger’s face peering in at me, can you? So we were set, as far as I was concerned. We pulled off the road and parked in the middle of some farmland. Quiet. Dark. If a stranger was wandering the fields at 2am it would probably be the bad guy from Dennis the Menace and I could just give him a can of beans and send him on his way. Perfectly safe.
When we woke up we found that we had parked in a flower field! How cute!
Before anyone could discover us on their land we drove the final 25 minutes to Bruges at around 5am, since the sun was already up and at ’em. Nothing in the little town opens before 9:30am and we were still exhausted, so we parked outside of our Airbnb and slept some more. In hindsight, this was sort of dumb. I’m sure the Airbnb host noticed the junkie UK car right outside his front door, parked in front of his own car (we saw him in it later), with two weirdos fast asleep inside. We had the down comforter on our laps so it looked like the airbags had exploded. No cardboard this time since I was too exhausted to even care.
We woke up a few hours later feeling much better, brushed our teeth in the street (yeah!), ate a breakfast cookie, and went out in search of a coffee.
Check back tomorrow for more pictures and fun times exploring the little city! My posts are generally much longer than I read on other blogs, so I’m breaking up this trip report into 2 posts. Is that annoying? Do you prefer to read everything all at once? Or am I deterring some of you from reading because I’m so wordy and therefore multiple posts are better? Feedback is always welcome, and rest assured I am not offended either way.