The Return to Europe 2010 travel blog

The Rhine from our hotel terrace

This was one of those very boring travel-catch up on chores days. The closest self-laundry was about 15 kilometers away in a slightly larger village, so we headed there, arriving to find a small, very clean laundrette located in a tiny square in town. There were 5 washers and 4 dryers, two in use; so we hastily claimed two machines by dumping assorted dirty items in each. Then Bob went to use the change machine to purchase the tokens needed to make the machines run! Enter one diminutive Belgian woman who was hell bent on helping him with this chore. Neither spoke each other's language, but the woman followed the age old rule of speaking slowly and loudly and repeating herself. At some point I think the change machine had had enough of this and just gave up the tokens! Me? I was still separating whites from darks! Having done her civic duty for the week, Bob's new friend left the place amid may "mercis". Bob headed for the post office to send another package of assorted collected stuff home and I watched the suds mingle with the clothes.

As we were finishing up folding, Bob discovered he still had the key to our room in his pocket -- now in Europe, room keys are attached to honking big chunks of metal designed to prevent you from walking off with it. Nevertheless, it was in Bob's pocket. So, we were good citizens of the world and traveled back the 15 kilometers to return the key before heading to the Netherlands.

A chunk of miles and some boring driving later, we arrived in Arnheim, only to get lost in the middle of the city (including an up close and personal encounter with a bus as we went the wrong way in a bus-only lane.) After I finally gave up pretending I was Sacajawea, we called the hotel for help, only to find ourselves two blocks away. Both of us were quite glad to pull into the parking lot!

We are in Arnheim so that we can visit the Kroller-Muller Art Museum --we're ignoring its World War II Operation Market Garden (A Bridge Too Far) connection (Bob will explain why). Our hotel, NH Netherlands , was a last minute find based on price only but turned out to be a very nice place with a decent restaurant and an odd internet policy (WiFi is free in the lobby but only for 30 minutes at a time; after that, you're timed out and have to go back to the front desk for another voucher/password). Our room and the dining room overlooked the Rhine (Rjin) River and we watched barges and the odd cruise boat go back and forth over dinner.

I think we are somewhat disappointed with the Netherlands thus far -- traffic, congested highways, construction and way too many bicycles to dodge. I guess we had anticipated a more Hans Brinker landscape. We'll see what tomorrow brings!

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