Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Trip

Now that we own our house in Spain, we have to make it livable. With the home planner we bought most of the furniture and with the electric shop we bought most of the equipment. But that does not make a house livable. You need more things for the kitchen (cutlery, pans, …), paintings for on the walls, a special lamp we wanted to bring there, accessories for the finishing touch and a lot more small things.

Since we first planned to go by plane, we could not take too much with us. We knew we had to pay more for the overweight and odd-sized luggage, but still you can't bring everything from home. We would only bring the most necessary things and buy the rest in Spain.

But then things changed and the air company made us decide to go by car. This meant that we could bring much more things from home. When we encountered a good bargain, be bought it for Spain. Soon our room-with-things-for-Spain started to fill up, since we would go by car and have plenty of space.

Exactly how much space you have with a Toyota Prius, you find out when trying to fit everything in the back of the car. The day before we left, I packed the car. And then you find out that the car is actually smaller than you think... Put one moving-box and two small cases in the car and the you've used most of the room. But after a few hours fitting, moving, shifting, squeezing, moving again, squeezing again, taking things out and trying again, it actually all fitted! We had to use the back seats as well, but at least I still could see through my rear mirror.

Saturday morning we left for Spain. All goes well, until you get to Paris. No matter what day you get there, what time of day you get there, how you plan to go around Paris, you will always end up in some traffic jam. It took us a bit more than an hour and a lot of route changes from the navigation system 'because of traffic conditions' to get passed Paris. So it actually was not too bad after all. On the French toll ways, you set the cruise-control to the speed limit (or a bit more) and sit out the ride. Around six o'clock we decided that it was enough for one day and find a hotel. For the French, six o'clock is still a bit before dinner time. We found a hotel next to the highway which had its own restaurant and a fenced parking place. We made 870 kilometers the first day. Not bad, but we had 1180 kilometers more to go.

Sunday morning, we got up early and continued our trip. When we came to Millau, we made a short stop to look at the bridge they made. Spanning 2.5 kilometers, it is really a great piece of engineering!

A Toyota Prius is a very nice, relaxed car to drive. When on the highways with the cruise-control on, it practically drives itself. But in a mountainous area, like southern France, it takes some extra handling.

A few hours later we crossed the border with Spain. So we were in the right country, but still on the wrong side of it, since now were in the north of Spain and we have to go to the south. Due to the financial crisis in Spain, the government recently decided to reduce the speed limit from 120 km/h to 110 km/h. So we had to set the cruise-control a notch down and enjoy the Spanish landscape. We crossed locations where we spend holidays in the past. If was funny to drive there with your own car, when usually you go by plane and rent a car.

Things went so well in Spain that we decided to continue driving to a small town close to our new house and take a hotel there. We arrived around half passed eight. For the Spanish, half passed eight is far before dinner time :-) We stayed in the same hotel when we were arranging things in January and we decided to go to one of the restaurants we've been. Not sure why, but people always seem to remember us. So did the waiter of the restaurant... he even remembered what table we had ;-)

So we actually did the remaining 1180 kilometers in one day and that went quite well. We would get the keys around noon on Monday, but we still didn't know whether we would have water and electricity and thus could already live in our new house.

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