The Garden Community for Garden Lovers



Some of you may remember me saying that I and my OH and daughter Rachel were driving to Luxembourg on 23rd December to spend Christmas with our elder daughter and her family. The distance is 500 miles, half on this side of the Channel and half on the other.
We set off at 8.0am from Cardiff to Folkestone on Thursday 23rd with Rachel driving, and had a really good first trip to the Eurotunnel, with no holdups. Then we had to wait 4 hours until we crossed through the tunnel on the train. That wasnt so good, but we had half expected it. Then when we reached the other side, I took over the driving. (The OH cant drive at night at present because of an eye problem) We belted through France for about 2 hours – the roads were good, lovely surfaces, no snow, not much traffic.
Then we got into Belgium and things began to change! At first it was a bit of sleet, but it gradually became a blizzard. As we went further west the snow was thicker and it was settling. There was no sign of a gritting lorry or snow plough at all. It was really dark and there wasn’t much traffic on the motorway. We were in a rural forest area of Belgium known as the Ardenne, some of you may know it.
By now, the articulated lorries and juggernauts had been told to park up on the hard shoulder, but one or two kept going and we followed one for about 40 miles, literally driving in his tracks! We saw several cars which had skidded on to the hard shoulder and in some cases the drivers were starting to walk – but where they were going I have no idea! We were in telephone contact with daughter in Luxembourg and she begged us to find a hotel. That was a laugh, the snow was too deep to turn off into a village and even the services was blocked off by the police.
In the end, when we found a gap between two lorries parked on the hard shoulder, we dived in there and spent the night in the car. We had food and hot water, travelling rugs, hats, coats, gloves and best of all, foil blankets which I had picked up in a camping shop before we left. I have to say I wasnt cold at all. But it is rather like sleeping in a crisp packet and very noisy! We dozed on and off until the morning, by which time the snow ploughs and gritters had gone through.
At 8.0am we had breakfast (coffee, sandwiches and fruit) and started off again. Soon after, we reached a traffic jam due to a lorry which was stuck. After waiting for two hours, we were then diverted off the motorway by the police and were told to use a country road which had been cleared for us. (We heard later that there had been a fatal accident on the motorway and a family had been killed)
Thankfully we found a petrol station (with loos!) and then set off again towards Luxembourg. After a couple more hours, we managed to meet up with our son-in-law and then we had the problem of how to get into his village.
It took three attempts before we found a route which was flat enough for our car which is not a 4×4, nor had winter tyres. At one point I slid, in the passenger seat, for 20yds downhill, backwards, in a village when Rachel had got out of the car. Happy days.
Here you can see us following our son-in-law home.

and here are a couple of views of their garden

We were not able to get around quite so much this year in the village over Christmas as more snow arrived on Boxing Day. But we managed some walks and sledging for the braver ones and a good time was had by all.

For the dog lovers amongst you, can I introduce Bentley, the new edition to the family.

The journey home was quite uneventful by contrast, apart from fog. Now we are gradually putting the memories to to the back of our minds! Will we have forgotten about it all by next year I wonder…..
I am sorry if this tale has gone on for rather too long, but I wanted to tell someone!

More blog posts by rachelsmum

Previous post: I'm back from Luxembourg!

Next post: A New Path for a Neighbour



well, what an epic journey ~ you wont be forgetting that one in a hurry! i should think you were worn out by the time you finally got there!!? you could have done with a sledge for christmas!?
bentley is beautiful!!

18 Jan, 2011


What an adventure :)
Bentley is gorgeous, look at his puppy eyes :)

18 Jan, 2011


Oh God ! What a horrendous journey
:o((( I'm glad you got there safely, and had a good time in spite of it all. It must have been wonderful for you to see your daughter and family.
Preyers for the people who all lost their lives, and their families.
I 'm pleased you got home safely aswell. Now maybe you can put the memories in the back of your mind and concentrate on the coming spring :o)
Is Bentley yours or your daughter's in Belgium ?

18 Jan, 2011


So glad you weren't involved in any accidents on your nightmare journey ...
You've written the account of your travels very well indeed ... I could imagine you in those foil blankets ... interesting to know how efficient they are .. albeit rather noisy !

... and Bentley is lovely ... named after a car to remind you of your international travelling ? ;o)

18 Jan, 2011


what a journey, bet you were glad when it was all over!!
Braver than me, I may have been tempted to stay at home!!
Have fun with your new addition, lots of happy years with Bentley.

18 Jan, 2011


I had to laugh when you said you slid, in the passager seat, some people would love that expericence, well one s I know would. Thanks to the power to be, you got there and back safely, at least it was an adventure perhaps not the kind you were expecting though, and what an adorable dog.

18 Jan, 2011


My goodness what a journey, pleased to see you all got back safe. Bentley looks lovely.

18 Jan, 2011


So pleased you made it safe to your daughters, Bentley is so lovely.

18 Jan, 2011


Gosh Rachelsmum! What a trip that was! I'm so pleased you all got there and back safely. It'll be a benchmark for "trying" trips in future.Bentley looks gorgeous.

18 Jan, 2011


Goodness , that was some trip and one you won`t forget in a hurry, pleased you had a good time with the family and that all ended safely on both journeys.. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us and Bentley is absolutely adorable, reminds me of my sons dog when he was a pup, I think its those lovely eyes, lol.....

18 Jan, 2011


Thanks everyone for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed my rather unusual story. Yes, it was an experience I hope not to repeat.

I am afraid Bentley is living in Luxembourg, so we wont see much of him. He was bred by British people in the next village. Originally he was called Samuel but as my grandson is also a Sam, they decided to rename him. Funnily enough, the name came from my car mad son-in-law!

18 Jan, 2011


bentley is also a surname ~ its my great grandmothers maiden name!

19 Jan, 2011


At least you arrived safely, and Bentley looks so cute.

19 Jan, 2011

Add a comment

Recent posts by rachelsmum

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    10 Aug, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    10 Nov, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Aug, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    27 Oct, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Jun, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Oct, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    28 Jul, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    8 Apr, 2010