Berat, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Berat, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? South towards Greece.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Flight tickets booked!

Yesterday I booked our flight tickets for our trip to Canada. Unfortunately, there were no deals to be had. Because of Canada's strict Covid regulations, there are very few choices when it comes to flying into Canada from Europe. 

So we're pretty much stuck with Air Canada, which certainly wouldn't have been our first choice for flying across the Atlantic. Normally there would be options such as Lufthansa or Swiss Air which are much better airlines.

We fly from Dusseldorf to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Toronto, and Toronto to Ottawa one month from today, on Friday August 13th. Then we do the return trip (through Montreal instead of Toronto) on Thursday September 30th.

Total cost was $1,813 CAD (€1,227, $1,455 USD) return for the two of us. And that is carry on bags only!

We want to bring our bicycles back with us, so that will be another expense at that time. We had thought about buying new ones here, but there is a worldwide shortage of bicycles, and we couldn't get the style we want. Unless we happen across some used ones, but I think that's unlikely.

I also booked us a very expensive (used) car rental. We need a car when we arrive in Ottawa on August 13th because we don't have the use of our house sit car until the 22nd. There is a huge shortage of rental cars in North America, and they are stupidly expensive. I went through the Turo app and booked a ten year old car and with the insurance it still cost $35 a day. It's free cancellation until August 12th, so if anything better comes along I can cancel.

So we've got another month until we leave.

Yesterday, we did a very short 10 minute drive to a new overnight spot. We had driven by this location the other day, and we knew we were pretty sure we could park here during the day, but weren't sure if it would work for overnight. When we got there, it turned out to be perfect. In fact, I couldn't believe it wasn't listed on any of my overnight parking apps.

We got parked up and went for a walk along the Vecht river. Lots of expensive properties!





No walking path, because everybody rides bicycles everywhere!

Lots of interesting boats.


Just a shack down by the river!





We watched the bridge rise for the boats to go through.

Max, in his overnight spot at GPS 52.18337, 5.008348


We walked into the town of Broekland looking for a toilet. That is our only complaint with Netherlands so far... there are very few public facilities! It's kind of surprising for what is otherwise a very civilized and organized country. 

That's one of the things we have really noticed in our worldwide travels. How some countries treat being able to go to the bathroom as a priority. After all, everyone has to do it! Why politicians and planners ignore that fact is beyond us. Australia and South Korea stand out as two countries that we have been to where it is easy to find a well maintained public toilet. And they are usually free. 

We ended up finding an open church that had a WC in the lobby.

This is the narrow bridge that I decided against the other day. If I didn't make it, I would have had to back all the way out, and there were vehicles behind me. It turns out I would have made it, but at the time it was the right decision not to try!


Such a beautiful area!

Nijenrode Castle.


It is privately owned by a local university.

Bells at the top.

Ruth spotted this coot with her little ones.

It was a totally peaceful night and we were the only ones here.

We are only 25 kms (15 miles) from the center of Amsterdam. But we are not going into the city at this time. We want to be able to spend a couple of days there at some point at the same time as when the tulips are in bloom, but it's just not on our schedule right now.

However, we are planning on going into the city of Utrecht today. There is supposed to be a good motorhome parking area that is walking distance to the medieval, car free city center, so we will go check that out.

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And in Canada...


28 comments:

  1. The raised bridge brought me back to my childhood. My Opa and Oma( grandparents) had a cabin cruiser and we were boating one time through a small village and we paid the bridge master a quarter to raise the bridge. He had a wooden shoe( klompen)on a line attached to a fishing rod that he swung out to us on the boat to receive the quarter.

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    1. What a nice memory to look back on, so glad that we could rekindle some of those memories for you. We have no idea how they pay for the bridges or the locks now because we never saw anyone on the boats going through paying anyone at the bridge.

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  2. An article here about poor provision of public toilets in the Netherlands.
    https://tinyurl.com/ydvvmbxg
    The article also refers to this app, https://pee.place/en for some guidance in the comfort department.

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    1. They were spot on with the article, thanks for the link and hopefully the pee.place app will be helpful, lol!

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  3. I went to Utrecht many years ago when I was 7 months pregnant. My younger child was born in Utrecht and has a Dutch birth certificate as well as one issued by the US State Department. I am loving seeing your pictures.

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    1. Utrecht is a pretty city. Your son is lucky to have dual citizenship, especially if he wants to travel in the EU countries that are part of the Schengen Area, he wouldn't have to worry about the rule of three months, three months out.

      We are happy that you are enjoying our pictures. :-)

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  4. When we went to Europe we were warned to hang on to Euro coins as they would be useful for pay toilets.

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    1. You are lucky to even find a pay toilet here in the Netherlands!

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  5. Utrecht is our home base for all our travels in Europe. We stay at my brother in laws house. Enjoy all the snacks, bitterball, croquettes and frikendal. Allso lumpia and do get a risestaffel. Forgive the spelling!
    Peter should have written this!

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    1. You have a beautiful home base here in Utrecht, we really enjoyed our day wandering all around the city center. We can't see how Amsterdam can be any better than this!

      Unfortunately some of the snacks you have mentioned aren't gluten free and for the most part we are finding the prices for eating out to be a little too expensive for our budget, so we will most likely save our eating out for the countries that are more affordable in that regard, unless you know of some tips to find cheap eats.

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  6. It's easy to get a fast train from Utrecht into Amsterdam, and may be a good option if you have somewhere good to camp where you are.

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    1. At the moment we don't want to visit Amsterdam, we will save it for a return visit one spring. We definitely want to go, we just don't want to go on this visit but thank you for your suggestion.

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  7. Stunning properties. Given the time of year and circumstances I think your flights reasonable.

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    1. The houses and gardens were gorgeous, we can't even begin to imagine what the prices of these places are like!

      It is probably the most expensive flight tickets that we have ever paid for but yes, for the time of year and the circumstances I guess we can't complain too much about the prices, at least we are able to get back for a visit. :-)

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  8. I had the same complaint about Mexico and Belize; it can be a challenge to find public toilets in both countries, unless one is a paying customer in a restaurant, for example. I was used to many more options in the US (rest stops and so forth), so this was a surprise to me. Lovely properties and area you are in now!

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    1. It's funny because I never remember having a huge problem finding a toilet in Mexico, admittedly we sometimes had to pay but it was almost never very much. If we were in a city then we often went to the closest hotel, I don't think we ever had a problem getting in. Yes, the US has lots of rest stops. As Kevin mentioned Australia was a fantastic country for finding public toilets.

      It was a gorgeous walk along the river in that area, there was definitely no shortage of money there!

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  9. Lovely but what do they do when it floods, head for the hills?

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    1. Lol, they would have an awful long way to go to get to the hills! ;-)

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  10. Hmmm toilet cleaning is disgusting. Maybe that's why the Netherlands don't have public toilets...problems finding toilet cleaners. The Euro countries who charge for toilets should probably have a prepaid card to swipe instead of coins. I've had to pay for toilet use in Mexico that weren't always clean. BTW the photos are beautiful!

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    1. Cleaning toilets isn't the nicest job for sure but if you keep them clean than it isn't so bad, I know this for a fact as I have done that job for 5 summers when we worked at the campground. I doubt that finding people to clean toilets is the problem for their lack of toilets.

      I think it would be difficult to make a prepaid card system that is universal for all the EU countries but I suppose it might be an idea.

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  11. I wonder if they purposely limit the number of public toilets to keep 'undesirables' out.

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    1. I doubt that is the reasoning behind it because I don't think the lack of toilets would bother the "undersirables", they would just use the closest bush or alley way!

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    2. This is the only reason I could find:
      ‘The policy of many local councils is that they don’t want to stimulate people to make mass use of public space, so they are not putting extra facilities in places like parks.’

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    3. Well, that seems pretty counter productive thinking! You wouldn't believe how many times we see men just stop what they are doing, driving a car or biking and step over to a bush and start to pee. They don't seem to care if other people see them or not and these are even undesirables! I am sure that women do the same, seeing that we do notice toilet paper scattered around bushes at times too. :-(

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  12. What are you going to do with Max while you're in Canada?

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    1. We will be leaving Max in storage at the dealership where we bought him. Plus during that time that we are away, they will hopefully be installing the new pantry door for us, providing that it gets delivered to them before we return back to Germany in October.

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  13. When you come to Berlin, there are toilets, one always has to pay but they are clean. I had one new toilet my friend needed to use. When she came out, I thought I might slip in. My better conscious let me wait and pay. Entering after a while it turned out that this place was showered by some chemicals. I was so happy to be honest and waited to pay.
    Flying to Canada: Lufthansa and Air Canada had always only one plane. Sometimes it was Air Canda but mostly a Lufthansa plane. The price you paid for two persons was quite reasonable. Ask if you get food, have to pay for it or can take a homemade sandwich. Have a good flight!!!

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    1. We will keep that in mind and we will remember also to never sneak into any of those toilet, lol!

      Our flight home is through Air Canada but the first flight from Düsseldorf to Frankfurt is actually on Lufthansa and then the other flights on Air Canada. We will get a meal on the long flight but that will be it. I am sure that I will still pack a few snacks for us to eat along the way, which is what I normally try to do.

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