Monday, June 7, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Arriving in Brussels was like coming home again and the anticipation of shopping for treasures had me dancing with glee. Well, maybe dancing in my head because after the flight, the taxi to pick up the van, the drive to the hotel to check in for the room that was not yet available, but would be available sometime later that day, was definately playing catch up this "drooping in many areas" body of mine.

So, to begin, I rented a van. Not a minivan, the seats definately get in the way and the rental companies generally frown when you remove them from the vehicle because that fabulous painted 18th century buffet won't fit in otherwise and the hotel has a problem when you use the luggage cart to tote the seats through their lobby, not to mention that they do not fit into the elevator. Therefore, I rent a utility van. A high hat, 5 speed, very large utility van. This one came with 1000 kilometers included in the rate. Sounds reasonable, that's 600 miles in less than 4 days and let's face it, Belgium is not that big.

I have a GPS system with a European chip. Shortest route, no problem.  Let's go country. One lane, irrigation ditches on both sides, curves that defy the letter "S" and did I tell you about the goats? Is the GPS, whom I have affectionately named BeBe because how can you yell at something that doesn't have a name, always correct? Well, let's just say there was a turn into a parking lot where I sweated or "dewed" profusely as I manuerved through the very creative Belgian parking. The kind where every car has pulled in their side view mirrors, where I literally inched through only to find that after all I endured... there was no exit and more importantly, no great find, antique or otherwise. Only a combination bus terminal - Pizza Hut parking lot. And the only way out was to BACK UP and not just a little bit. We're talking rows. Rows where when the spaces ran out, they just made new ones. On angles and corners. On sidewalks and crosswalks. And I in my kerchief had to back out. Not up one row or even two or three. Picture a maze. A maze with those death defying pedestrians chanting "na, na, you can't hit me".

Did I say that I'm a 50 something blond? Did I mention that the weather was absolutely gorgeous. A full sun with 80 plus degree temperatures and NO AIR CONDITIONING in this oversize white whale? Do you know what full sun and complete shut downs on the Ring Road around Brussels do to a woman used to flipping that AC switch to maximum at any hint of showing the slightest bit of "dew" as we southern women like to say?

As for that 1000 kilometers included in the rate.... blew right past that. Only 1300 kilometers, 780 miles in less than 4 days. Did I shop? Oh, yeah! Stay tuned for the highlights!



  1. I look forward to seeing the treasures you find! Thank you so much for adding my blog to your blogroll. I am honored.

    I plan a trip to Scott's either this summer or in the fall and it will be a real treat to look you up!

    All the best, Donna

  2. Lynn, how wonderful to read you were in Brussels! I am looking forward to see the things you have found!!