Mike Strachan’s e-mail journal — Entry #26, from Netherlands
Received 21 May 2008
Travels for May 16/08 — To Nijmegan
I have gotten behind in doing e-mails for a variety of reasons, so this is a catch-up.
What a shock I got when I returned the rental car! The bill was twice as much as I was quoted for the daily rate, since I was given only 150 free km and drove 465 km. Live and learn. And we think we pay a lot for gas in Vancouver. Last night I paid €1.59, or about CDN $2.55/l. At least the agent drove me to the train station. My ticket to Nijmegen was only €13, and the train left 18 minutes later.
It rained a lot over night, and this morning it is cool, a nice relief from the heat of the last two weeks. The graffiti artists have been busy: it is on everything — walls, buildings, and railcars. The inter-city train stops at Tilburg, s'Hertogenbosch, Oss, and then into Nijmegen. I notice I am tired, no doubt due to extensive driving in the heat, and a disturbed sleep at nights due to heat also.
At the train station I find that the VVV — the tourist information office — is three blocks away. Outside the station a student demonstration is going on, with the police watching quietly. Up the street stands a large building, formerly a Chinese restaurant, completely gutted by fire.
At the VVV they tell me there are hotel rooms tonight in the €55-70 range, but not for the weekend. So I choose one and walk there. The room at the City Park Hotel is larger than the one in Breda but a bit well used. At least I am here for one night, after which I can try elsewhere. The VVV also tried calling Hertz, but there was no answer, so I'll walk over there.
Surprise — Hertz has a small car for €69 for the weekend, plus €9/day for extra insurance coverage, and a gas station is about 500 meters away on the same street. That just leaves a hotel room for the next two nights, find an internet cafe, and find parking (the hotel has none).
2 PM — the hotel proprietor, Rob Koop, is very helpful, and finds me a room in a hotel he knows in Millingen, about 10 km away on the Rhine river. So parking here is not needed, and Millingen is on the QOR trail. With the pressure off I can take a walk to see the sights, including St. Stevens church (Protestant, at left), which is all white inside with dark wood the ceiling vaults. A very enthusiastic docent tells me that the crypts in the floor of one wing include a French Bourbon princess.
Finding an internet cafe was no problem, and two hours of use with three pages printed was only €2.80.
My foot is very sore, and I limp back to the hotel. In my room in bare feet I see that my right ankle is quite swollen, and painful to walk on. I can't figure out what is wrong, except maybe an aggravation of the original bruise I think I got walking on cobblestones in Arras. So I eat dinner in the hotel, rest my foot, and I'm in bed by 9:30 PM. It looks like my two days in Millingen will be for resting.