Thursday, May 6, 2010

King of the road no longer...

While riding my bicycle, I'm king of the road. I have my own lane, traffic lights, cars must give way to me and I can happily zoom along while people who have chosen the less green version of transport are going nowhere in the notoriously awful Dutch traffic. In short: being king of the road is brilliant, I love it and take it for granted. 

In our recent search for a new set of diesel-guzzling wheels, Mitch and I decided to hire a rental car so we could become accustomed to driving on the 'wrong' side of the road and actually go test drive some potential cars to buy. After a 45 minute walk into town discussing how we MUST avoid the fear inducing roundabout in the city centre, we arrived at Hertz to be handed the keys to what would have to be the most hideously ugly car I have ever seen in my life. Yes, the Fiat Panda is no Porsche, but that's what you get for booking the smallest, cheapest rental car available!

After becoming momentarily confused as to what side of the car the driver should sit, we successfully departed from Hertz and before we know it, we're headed towards our biggest fear: the aforementioned roundabout, our local version of the Place Charles de Gaulle. Much like it's sister roundabout in Paris, there appear to be no consistent rules as to how to navigate this roundabout and much honking can be heard from frustrated drivers. Blaming the usually reliable Tomtom for misleading us, we manage to navigate away from the frightening roundabout just in the nick of time!

Heart rates slowly returning to normal, we make it to the motorway and began to discover the complex labyrinth of Dutch highways on which we will be spending a lot of time in the next few years... Our four days of fun in the Fiat ended with a fantastic result: we bought a car! I'm sure there are many adventures to be had all over Europe in our new-old zippy little red Peugeot and I have to say, driving on the 'wrong' side of the road wasn't as bad as expected, although it's going to take some time to get used to the cyclists. I didn't live up to my expectations and indicate with the windscreen wipers by mistake and didn't attempt to change gears with the door handle although this whole 'wrong' side of the road thing could take some getting used to...

L: *happily exclaiming while driving down a quiet country road* Honey, honey I think I'm really getting the hang of this! This is easy peasy, no worries! I could really get used to this whole wrong side of the car thing!
M: Complete silence. A funny smile on his face.
L: What's wrong?
M: Um, Lu - what side of the road are you on?

What can I say - old habits die hard!


  1. Can't stop laughing at the last bit Lu, it so happened to us too! I wish bicycles were kings of the road here too then we'd only have to worry about the hills :)
    I'm sure you'll have plenty of fun with your new car, it's definitely a great way to visit around! and you went for the good french brand, not the bad one so it's a good start I guess ;) I imagine your face when you found out they gave you a fiat Panda! I didn't even know they were still constructing these, let alone renting them!
    keep having fun and writing your stories, your blog is fantastic!

  2. Thanks guys! We were VERY glad to hand the keys back to Hertz for the Fiat, our next car should be an improvement! Hope you guys are doing well back in Aus :-)


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