Here comes the next installment on my trip; it's taking me longer to write about it than the time we actually spent on vacation, and at this rate I won't finish until it's time for our next holiday.
We left Douai after having breakfast at our hotel (one of those great all-you-can eat buffets with lots of buttery croissants), and drove to Bruges (Belgium), which we thought was a great place for lunch and a boat tour of the canals. We found lots of old lace (no arsenic though), the Holy Blood, and a nice place to eat that wasn't a McDonald's. After lunch, we went on one of those touristic boat rides on the canals and saw the house where Nun's Story was filmed (one of the few Audrey Hepburn movies I haven't seen). It was lucky for me that I understand Dutch, because we couldn't tell if the guide was speaking in Dutch or in English. Well, okay, it was Flemish, which is as similar to Dutch as British English is to American English, so this is like saying the British and the Americans speak two different languages (well, I guess some people do say this). Anyway, I had to translate for Jesús, who got a big laugh out of the man's incredibly rolled Rs (he would make any English speaking student of Spanish drool with envy, it took me years to master rolling my Rs). I can only guess at how much the poor Japanese family that accompanied us understood.
The Holy Blood is in here. Wait a minute, isn't that...The Holy Grail! Looks like the Da Vinci Code was a little off, wasn't it?
Hey, that looks like fun!
Here we are with the amazing rolling R guide.
Now I really need a cup of coffee, and I'm not leaving Belgium until I get one.
Okay, had my caffeine fix, now we can leave.
After walking around a bit longer, we hopped back into the car, destination Nieuw Roden, which is way at the top of Holland (and still a few hundred kilometers away). We got lots of traffic (it seemed like all the truck drivers in Europe had gotten together and decided to all cross the E.U. at once) and were completely fed up by the time we stopped to have dinner somewhere near Utrecht at...McDonald's (where else?). We have seen more McDonald's on this trip than during the last two years, and we hope not to see another in a very, very long time, but with kids that'll surely be within the next month. After that we did the last bit up to the north, our butt cheeks were completely numb in the end, and we got lost just near my mom's house -the area she lives in is like a maze. Carmen and Rocío, who have spent the last two summers with my mom, kept saying,"We know how to get there. I think it's that way. No, look, there's the grocery store, now we have to go that way." And we got more and more lost. We passed the same house several times before deciding to call and ask her for directions. My phone didn't work. It worked fine in France and Belgium, but Holland was like the big black hole of phone coverage(not to be confused with the black holes found in sofas and armchairs). Luckily Jesús' phone did work, we found out we were two streets away, and we made it.
Now that we've made it (We did make it, didn't we? You are still here, right?), I'm off to have dinner and you're off to Central Snark (no, I won't take no for an answer). Now scoot!