This week’s entry in the travel story contest is from April Gardner!
A European Disaster…
Can I see a show of hands from all you who have made a crazy-long road trip with a vehicle packed to the gills with luggage, children, and pets? Ah ha! I knew I wasn’t the only one insane enough to try it.
So, I have a few compassionate readers. Good. I’m going to need it.
Being a military family, our particular trip consisted of a change of household from Germany to England. With a large dog, a cat, and two children ages three and one, we stuffed our van as full as we could get it and hit the autobahn.
Our first stop was the local veterinary clinic where our pets passports—yes, passports—were officially stamped, finalizing our nine months of preparation to allow them across the English border. Nervous about the cat crying the entire trip, I asked for some tranquilizers.
An hour after my battle to squirt the stuff down the cat’s throat, he filled his kennel with the most vile smelling diarrhea you can imagine. After completing the complicated clean-up process, I decided to visit the nearby French rest stop for a potty break and personal hygiene check.
It was a brand new facility with an automated flushing system. However, for a moment, I thought I might have warped to India, for there before me instead of a toilet was a hole in the ground complete with grooves for feet. Only in France.
And the nine months of paper-work, quarantine, micro-chipping, and vaccinating for our pets? Useless. We still sat in Calais for four hours waiting for our pets to receive clearance. All for technicalities that might have easily been resolved except for a host of incompetent border patrol agents.
In the meantime, my children each wet their pants twice and continuously begged for food that we did not have. After having missed four ferries, we finally made it on board for a choppy ride across the channel. Hold onto your lunch!
When you get the urge to complain about America and its faults, please remember that we are tremendously blessed. A few days in any other country will make you fall on your face in gratitude when you once again reach American soil.
God Bless the USA! (and all the mommies making road trips)
Don’t forget to leave your comments…the winner will be chosen on the amount of buzz their story receives!