Regular readers will know that Himself and I have one trait very much in common: we appear to have been born with no sense of direction whatsoever.
Our navigation skills are legendary, in a manner that usually involves laugher and disbelief (and sometimes a few face palms) rather than any echos of awe.
During the summer of 2016 we needed to drop Little Mr off to an event on the German Dutch border and instead of keeping within the Netherlands, we accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up in the German town of Isselburg-Anholt.
We had been searching for somewhere to have lunch, so after realising our mistake we figured that lunch in Germany would be as good as lunch in the Netherlands, stayed and several side streets later found a restaurant.
After we had eaten we headed back to the car and attempted to leave town. This involved more wrong turns and a messy reverse out of a narrow street that Our Lady of The Tom Tom assured us was a two way street, but that the signs on the lampposts assured us wasn’t. Luckily my instruction of “take the next left” was quickly met with Himself’s “Can’t“, and since the street was little more than an alleyway, and deserted, no danger was involved.
Our biggest issue was that several years ago we swapped our tiny Peugeot 206 for a seven seater vehicle and one thing that longer cars are not good at, is reversing out of narrow European alleyways where the layout is as crooked and pieced together as the dwellings built over the centuries around it.
There was no pavement to speak of, doorsteps were right on the street, vehicles parked as close to the buildings as they could physically manage and still allow exit of the occupants. Cars vied for position, their drivers expert in squeezing into the smallest space possible, everyone folding in their wing mirrors on the street side so a single vehicle may inch past. The line of the buildings was not straight, nor therefore was the road.
Himself executed a three point turn, which was actually a six or seven or maybe nine point turn, the sensors at the front at rear of the car peeping alarmingly rapidly as we inched back, then forwards to complete the manoeuver.
A small group of German locals watched our progress from a little distance, glances in our mirrors told us that they were taking an interest but they quickly looked away when I looked directly at them. Our tight U-turn completed, we drive past them and aim for the main street. More “One Way” signs greet us even though Our Lady is telling us otherwise. Another side street looks like a short-cut to our desired direction, we take it and as it dog-legs around to the right we suddenly find ourselves driving in a circle with no side roads to offer any escape.
When I met the gaze of the group of locals as we passed them a second time, this time they were all grinning, and waved. They pointed to the place where we first tried to exit and then to the left instead the right that we had taken the first time. With a thumbs up and a grin reply, I signal our Thanks and against the wishes of Our Lady of The Tom Tom we headed in the opposite direction of where she wanted is to go.
After half a kilometer a re-set got us back on track. Because of this we needed to back-track a little and turn around on a larger road. Himself opted instead to turn right into a small lane where there was no traffic and we could turn around more easily. At that moment I spied this rickety old structure, filled with wood, charming, age unknown but full of character.I love buildings like this… rustic in the extreme, it half looked like the wood being stored inside was holding the pla ce up. I snapped off a few photographs of it and a brick building next to it that is definitely older than it first looks for my archive files. Who needs glass and steel when you can have structures like these?