The backyard where we are housesitting near, Stamullen, Ireland.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Stamullen, Ireland.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Back to the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland!

Thursday, August 12, 2021

We almost screwed up

We had our PCR test appointment in Winterswijk, Netherlands at 11:00am, so we got on the road early and headed for the huge Obelink camping gear store just outside Winterswijk. The store doesn't open until 9:15am, and we got there before it opened, so at the time Max was the first rig there.

At 10:00am, we set off for the 3 km walk to the downtown test center. By that time, there were quite a few other vans that had joined Max.

No problem finding the clinic, but we were a bit early as planned. However wandering by the entrance, we could see inside that it wasn't busy. So we went ahead in at 10:35am and said we had an 11:00am appointment. The two women behind the desk both spoke English and told us that it was no problem, they would do the test immediately.

They asked for our passports for identification and did some computer entry stuff. She did mine first, and handed me back my passport and directed me behind a curtain to the other girl who was going to perform the test. 

The girl was making small talk with me and we were talking about travel and she asked where we came from when we arrived in Europe. I told her "Albania", and she had a surprised look on her face as she said "I am from Albania!" She laughed when I said hello to her in Albanian.

Man, she was pretty thorough with the test! Much more invasive than the previous two tests we have had done. She told me to put my head back and when she stuck that thing up my nose I think I could feel it touching my throat. And then she held it there for five seconds. Yikes.

Ruth was next and had the same procedure. We were out of there before 11:00am.

They said results would be emailed within the next 8 to 24 hours. Unless it was positive in which case you would immediately get a phone call as well.

So we're out wandering around and Ruth went into a store. While she was in there, I got a phone answering machine message. I have calling turned off and hadn't given my German number to anybody except the test center, so I thought maybe it was some kind of telemarketer thing or something.

We wandered around town a bit. Didn't take any photos.

Then we headed back towards Max. I had been thinking about this phone message and wondering if it was the clinic since they were the only ones that had the number. But they said they wouldn't call unless the test was positive but there was no way enough time had passed for them to process the test.

And then it clicked.

"Ruth, do you have your passport?"

No, she did not! So back to the clinic we went where it was waiting for her. The girl had gone out searching the streets for us, and sure enough had eventually sent a voice call message. 

Whew. We almost screwed up. Can't even imagine the panic of arriving at the airport and not being able to find a passport.

Back at the Obelink store we did some shopping.

The store is huge. Like an IKEA of camping gear.

Max, in the motorhome parking area with all of his cousins.

This store has everything camping. If they don't have it it's because you don't need it. You could wander this store for hours. They have some neat, innovative stuff, like an air powered leveling system when you drive on top of a pad and pump it up with a hand pump. Pricey though.

How about a VW van camping tent? Only €400 ($600 CAD, $475 USD).

We didn't buy very much, but there were a few things we needed. A better water hose than the one that came with Max. And some anti slip traction mats in case we ever get into a wet or muddy slippery situation. A plastic water jug with a nozzle so that we can fill Max's fresh water tank that way if we need to. And a fitting that attaches onto almost any kind of water tap. Never know what circumstances we might come upon during our journey this winter.

Then we had a late lunch and drove back to Dulmen where we got a spot at the free municipal motorhome lot. They have a dump station here so we can empty our holding tanks before bringing him over the dealer for storage.

Our test results arrived by email about 9:00pm, and both were negative as expected.

I went online to confirm our train departure time from Dulmen to Dusseldorf and came across a surprise.

German train locomotive drivers are on strike August 11-13. Apparently about 25% of local trains are running on reduced emergency service. So it will be interesting to see how we manage to find our way to the airport today! Fortunately, we have a hotel booked for tonight so we have all day and into the evening to get there. Our flight is not until 6:15am Friday morning.

Ah, the adventures of travel. Wish us luck!


And in Canada...


  1. Wish you the best of luck for this trip back to Canada! Hope all goes well and that your arrival here won't be too much of a shock ! Love reading your posts!

    1. Thank you Armande, we hope the trip goes smoothly too. So far so good as we sit at the Frankfurt Airport.

      We were just saying to each other yesterday how we are going sure we are going to be shocked at the prices!

      We are glad that you have been enjoying our posts. :-)

  2. Happy and safe travels back to Canada. Really like the camping van tent. It's so "cute".

    1. Thank you Jana! That tent was cute and it was even two roomed!

  3. Reminds me of our last big trip to Europe. The day we were departing, I went to an office supply store to make color copies of everyone's passports and other docs. I came home for final preparations. 20 minutes before we were heading to the airport, I decided to check one more time that we had all of our passports, etc. Mine was missing! I had left it on the copier at the store. My husband called the store as I drove back in a panic. Luckily, it had been turned in and we made it to the airport on time. I would have hated to miss that trip to Europe with my husband and kids...

    1. Thank goodness you decided to check one last time before leaving. It's such a horrible feeling when you find you don't have it and then all sorts of things start going through you head and then "what could have happened" things too! So glad you were able to go on the trip with your family.

  4. Did you notice that you called Max, Sherman in one paragraph?

  5. I made my first Amazon order in 18 months today. Hopefully the USA border opens for Canadians very soon.

    1. Wow, that is a long time to wait but if you are living in Canada and wanting to get the US deals, it makes it a little hard for picking up packages! Yes, hopefully the USA border will open soon to Canadians driving in, which seems pretty silly when you consider that Canadians have been able to fly there through the whole pandemic!

  6. As much as I don't really like being linked to a cellphone, it does come in handy. Imagine.
    Sherman, good times!

    1. Yes, cell phones can really come in handy at times. Without that phone, I don't know what we would have done!


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