Quo Vadis next, Pilgrims ?

After their brief but engaging nocturnal encounter, they slept like babies. Startled awake by the pre-set alarm, they dressed and raced to the breakfast table. When they joined the remaining Australians, their Dutch hosts brought the dark, delicious Douwe Egbert’s coffee to the table. A couple of quick gulps and they were finally both fully awake. The cold cuts, cheese, hard-boiled eggs and biscuits fortified them for the impending trip to Schipol.

“Dowee!, Tot ziens!, strachts!” echoed outside in the street as Manny and Selma started to leave. With the hurried but obligatory hugs and three kisses of an authentic Dutch farewell, their trip was about to resume.

“Manny, will you put our bags in the car? I’ll go upstairs and make sure we are not leaving anything.”

“My pleasure, my dear, and I’ll drive this time. You can be the navigator. Have you got the map and Sander’s I-pad?”, was all the domestic bliss he could muster.

Boarding the rental Renault cast the die. Role reversal had taken place without interruption or incident. Manny backed out of the parking lot and headed in what he thought was the direction of the airport.

After three wrong turns and with Manny refusing to stop and ask for directions, they wound around Leiden in a frustrating attempt to get out of town.

Two times around a couple of well-signed roundabouts and a heated discussion of which exit to use, they stumbled on to one marked N445. Manny’s internal GPS kicked in and he only went around the next roundabout three times before he settled on the fourth exit and merged onto A4 and set the trajectory that would take them directly to the airport.

The highway was a file tied up with commuter traffic as usual. Their bumpy riding Renault was locked in and waiting to be dropped off when they got to Schipol. What they thought would be a short trip was turning out to be the old hurry up and wait routine.

“What do you think those flashing red and yellow lights up there mean, Manny?”


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