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Friday, August 27, 2010



Just one quick photo today. The Little Bean went on a 30 minute horseback ride in Germany. She loved it at first, but as it was nearly naptime, she was pretty tired near the end and was all wobbly in the saddle.

So there we were in Belgium. We had just finished touring the WWII Battle of the Bulge museum and were headed off to take a look at a few other things when...the transmission in our van died! In reverse or in the lower gears the car would only make a grinding noise, lurch a few times and then stop.

The small town in Belgium had only one garage/dealership and the husband managed to limp the car over there. No one spoke English and my French is really just enough to buy groceries, get directions to the bathroom, and reserve a hotel room. NOT enough to discuss car problems with a mechanic who spoke no English!

We managed to get an appointment for the car for 1400. This was good except it was only 1100 and the one year old and the three year old were less than pleased at the prospect of sitting in the van for three hours. There wasn't much in the area to see as it was a pretty small place, and the guy at the restaurant where Soph and I went to use the bathroom yelled at us in French and used WAY too many hand gestures. Not sure, but I am pretty sure he was mad that we used his facilities when we were not paying customers. I stuck with the, "je ne comprende pas!" and went back to the car.

When the car finally got looked at by the mechanic, he determined the entire transmission needed to be replaced and it would take two weeks! The Husband and I were then faced with the reality that we might have to either rent a car or take the kids and all of our luggage on a train to Brussels, then to London, then home! This was way more of a concern to me than the transmission on the car. The thing is just over a year old, so it is under warranty and should not cost us to get it fixed. THE drama that would cost, in more than just the pocketbook, would have been trying to get all our luggage along with two tired and cranky kids onto a train and make all the connections to get us home and then getting us a bus near our house once we arrived in town. The prospect of the whole mess made me want to cry!

After three and a half hours dealing with the dealership and the warranty people we managed to work things out. We also managed to spend six and a half hours at the garage. The kids were at the end of their rope...and mine too!

Luckily there was good news. After talking to the warranty people in the UK and the US we determined that we could attempt to drive the car home and if something happened, the warranty would still be good! The husband and I decided to leave immediately and drive all night.

We made it home! Everyone is pretty exhausted and a little disappointed with the end of the vacation, no Belgian chocolate or beer, but we are SO thankful that we made it home safely and didn't have to leave the van in Belgium. Now we can get it fixed here and actually be able to understand what the mechanic is telling us. AND the rest of the vacation was absolutely fantastic. We had a great time and saw so many crazy things.

I will put up more photos once things settle down here and we get unpacked and back into our routine!

1 comment:

  1. HOLY VACATION! I am so glad that you made it home and that all is well. I can't wait to see and hear more, hugs to all the tired Beans.