Saturday, October 31, 2009

...It is getting close...

Frans wrote:

28 Oct '09: Frans and Maxine are leaving a few days earlier then Karen and Evonne. The planning is for all to meet at Deli France in the corner of Schiphol's arrival hall and from there pick up the BMW and travel to the Camping :

Hi Guys,

This time next week we'll be on the road to our Chalet... thought I just remind you



Karen answers :

Hi Guys,

Just wanted to wish you a safe & relaxing trip for tomorrow. Good luck with interview Frans & see you at Deli France.

Yippee !!!!!!

Namaste !

Karen ..

..and Evonne :

Frans surely you did not think we would forget the big road trip through europe and tip toeing through the tulips in Amsterdam, I hope you will both have your singing vocies in order for a good laugh, I am purchasing the ozzie flags so you will recognise us at Deli France at Amsterdam Airport if i don't catch up with you see you there or be square.

Osti la Vista Baby

evonka is Saturday the 31st of October, tomorrow we are on our way... See you guys at Deli France, keep a sausage roll for us!

...Bagage, how much will fit in a car..

Frans wrote:

27 Oct '09: Karen is getting a little worried about the luggage and rightly so, there is 4 of us after all :

Good morning

I have been thinking about our baggage. The original intention was to take one large bag with a smaller one to repack for road trip once we arrived in Holland.


I don’t intend to take much in the way of excess & as we will be on the road for most of the trip I don’t think I will have items to leave in Holland. So, my concern is baggage size for all of us & how we will fit in the vehicle.

My bag size …..75 x 40 x 40

Your thoughts

Namaste !


Frans thinks it might be all right, after all, we chose the BMW because it was 'roomier':

Hi Karen, I don't think that your bag is too big, the Beamer, or equivelant, is suppose to take 5 bags but I don't know how big those are supposed to be. I think we should look at it when we get the car at Amsterdam, if we can fit all our luggage in we must be ''OK'', what? ... if not, we've got a problem, we'll have to put all the luggage in the car and you on the train... only kidding!

Ajuus Frans

..Evonne chips in as well :

If too much we can put bags between Karen and me in the
back and use as a arm reat


...good thinking Evonka, you can put your arm on that kitty at the same time..

Appointing the Navigator and Accountant

Frans wrote:

25 Oct '09 : Slowly ticking all the boxes and arrange what we can arrange Frans informs the troops :

Hi Girls,

I'm happy to do the kitty thing, it'll be good. Who wants to hold the kitty?

Just in case you think I wasn't doing anything today, I've overhauled the TomTom, upgraded the maps, updated the Speed cameras and put in some POI's, we're just about ready to roll... I'be been gathering some info from the internet , TV stations on line, weather sites and travel sites, esspecially handy for Holland with its traffic jams, you guys better get used to the word 'File', pronouced like 'Filet' but with the emphasis onthe 'Fi' bit...

One week from today and we're away, I'm really looking forward to this and sharing it with you.

Groetjes Frans

There was quick consensus on who was going to be the accountant :

Frans I will hold the kitty - that if everyone agrees or
if anyone else would like to offer


...and from Karen :


Evie is a great “kitty holder” there is sure to be no way a dime will be unaccounted for…
You certainly think of everything Frans. We are sure to have a safe enjoyable trip with you on the job!!!

Namaste !

Karen ..

...and that is how Evonka became our bean counter...

Hi Evonka,

You are now offically the BMW Travellers's bean counter! Congratulations.... I think...

Ajuus Frans

Setting the rules and making choices...

Frans wrote:

25 Oct '09: Frans wants to ensure that everyone is going to get the most out of the trip and wants to head off any arguments on the road so takes the plunge:

Hi Girls,

Sorry to become a bit business like here but I think it is important. I think we should have some basic ground rules to avoid any heated, heavy or embarrassing discussions and to avoid anyone being disappointed about this trip. I would like to suggest a couple, feel free to add a few of your own. Let's keep it simple and limit it to about a dozen. Once we have agreed to these ground rules, we'll all abide by them unless we all agree to deviate from them :

  1. All planning will be decided with everyone present
  2. The Majority rules, if there is no majority Frans has the casting vote to break the stalemate.
  3. Everyone will nominate 2 'Must See' places for which we all will make every effort to visit and explore*
  4. When underway, Each of us will pay for their own Food, Drink, Accommodation, Personal Items and Souvenirs. Whilst in the Chalet, we'll share the cost of Food, Drink, Linen, Laundry, etc. simply by dividing the cost by 4.
  5. All Car and Travel cost will be shared, all receipts will be kept until the items have been settled amongst ourselves.

*I think each and everyone of us should make it known which places they REALLY want to visit. I would like to suggest that each of us suggest 2 places in Europe they do not want to miss out on. I'm forfeiting my choices because I've already seen a lot and I've already take up some time doing my 'compulsory things'.

Let me know what you think.

Groetjes Frans

Karen is quick to respond :

Hi Frans,

I am happy with your suggestions. As I haven’t been anywhere we have specified on our initial tentative schedule (except Salzburg )I don’t actually have any 2 must see places so there wont be any argument from me about where we go. I intend to enjoy the entire journey wherever that takes us. A kitty is a must for the day to day needs.

Namaste !

Karen ..

and Evonka a few days later :

Frans when Karen and myself travel together we always have kitty which really works well but as you say when travelling around pay our own way. When would you want to know which two places each of us would like to see let me know.

I think when we get to Terwolde we can discuss where we
all want to go etc.,

Reply to:
1. This is the only way it will work if we are all in agreeance

2. I don' t think this will happen but if it does I agree

3. Good idea as all we will be doing is driving driving
and more driving.

4. I think we already discussed re kitty for
chalet and pay our own way whilst driving, but good to have in writing.

5. Why don't we have a kitty for petrol which would be simpler than dividing as we go. And when we run out put in
more Euro (see I remerbered the currency).

If I think of anything else I will email later


...ok so that is pretty well settled but I might just sneak a few more rules in :

6. There will be no arguing with the TomTom

7. When we look at a map North will always be pointing up!

8. The world will not change just because you turn the map upside down!

.Modem, Insurances and what car do we get?

Frans wrote:

23 Oct '09: Frans, the email geek realized that staying 'On Line' whilst travelling through Europe might become a bit of challenge and is taking decisive action :

Hi Karen,

I've arranged for a Wireless Broadband Modem to be delivered to us the afternoon we arrive on the camping. Australian wireless modems from Telstra/Bigpond will not work in Europe. That way we can keep in touch with our Blog, Email, etc. and look up on the internet where we are going to go next...

Karen is obviously on the same wavelength:


You certainly think of everything. I am glad you are on my team!!!

But lost it again a few days later....

Hi Frans

Also just thought………..

Evie tells me you fly out Sunday !!! Will we have email contact once you leave??

Namaste !

Karen ..

...eeeh yes Karen, that was what the modem was for ?!?

Frans is checking on every ones travel insurance:

Maxine has arranged our travel isnurance yesterday, I think we should all make copies of our policies and send them to me? I'll keep the copies on the Laptop for easy reference?

...but to his big surprise there is division amongst the ranks :

Evie & I don’t have travel insurance. I wasn’t intending on getting any – but maybe we should rethink that decision. I will speak with Evie today.

Oops, not a good idea Karen, Frans has certain ideas about this praticular issue :


Maxine and I spoke about travel insurance, I said to Max : 'With Insurance, you are always pissed off when you have to pay for it but when you do need it it's the best investment you could have ever made'

Please get Insurance?! We are going to travel in a car over God only knows what sort of roads and Weather conditions, more people get hurt on roads then they get sick, for me it is a 'No Brainer' !

Think about this scenario, we get an accident, a car drives into passenger seat where you happen to be sitting at the time, we are allright but you are in a bad way and unconsious, we take you to hospital and although we have insurance we can't produce any Insurance for you, what do we do then ?

You might be a year older then me and much better looking but let me be the wiser one in this case?



.....and Karen got the idea :


Here are our Insurance details – thanks for filing on your laptop – I am sure we wont need them!! But a good precaution in any event…

Enjoy your day

Namaste !

Karen ..

..better be safe then sorry Karen....

Frans rang the car rental company at Schiphol to try to make sure we get a BMW but they won't give any guarantees :

I rang the Car rental at Schiphol yesterday, I asked if they can make sure we get the Beamer but unfortunately they won't guarantee it, he would put a comment on our reservation that we have specifically asked for the BMW series 3 so here is hoping...

Alternatively I'll have to change the name on our Blog but the 'Volvo Traveller's doesn't have the same ring to it, what? ...having said that, I'll settle for an Audi too, name or no bloody name...

...obviously Karen is not partial to an Audi either :

Fingers crossed for BMW but I do love a good AUDI. I can vouch for them!!

We know what you drive Karen, it 'polluted' our drive way a few weeks back, I'm sure it raised the value of our house for a brief moment?

..A Strange Follower....

Frans wrote:

21 Oct '09 : Frans as the official guardian of the Web Blog noticed a strange name appear on the followers list:

Hi Guys, A strange follower on our Web blog called 'OSUTEK', no idea who he or her might be....? Frans

Evonne immediately thought the worst :

Never heard of him this is strange, maybe a hacker in case we put credit card numbers on for payment of something or
log into the wrong blog. Not long now are you excited,


...but Karen immediately indentified 'The Stranger' :

Hi Frans

That is Laurens partner Oliver Sustek.

Enjoy your day

Namaste !

Karen ..

Thanks Karen, our Web Blog is safe for the time being, Welcome Oliver!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

...about Sex, Thai food and Blondes..

Frans wrote :

20 Oct '09 : It was inevitable that with one man and three gorgous women in one car for 3 weeks the conversation had to turn to sex allthough be it in an oblique way.

Karen set it off with an email about someone elses experience in Poland :

Hi received email from a seasoned traveller with the following comments which are good to keep in mind if we make it to these spots.

Cesky Krumlov with its natural springs even the open air swimming pool. Prague full on, I would say seedy and sensational, definately good for shopping. The drive into Poland is horrible, prostitutes on every truck stop and miles of trucks, but when you got there fantastic, Warsaw and Krakow definately worth a visit if you had time, the old city with the big squares and both had amazing castles/history, lots of tapestrys and great cafes and bars, very stylish.
Enjoy this beautiful day

Namaste !

Karen ..

To which Frans just could not resist answering to :

'prostitutes on every truck stop ' .... we better avoid that one, I think. With 3 women in a BMW I might be mistaken for a pimp.. but then again.. ...No Hitting the driver!!! ....

...fortunately Karen saw the humour in it :

What a laugh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My thoughts ………..If you were our pimp you would be a VERY LUCKY, WEALTHY man!!

Greg’s thought…………….. You would be broke !!!!! (Greg=Karen's husband)

I hope we have this many laughs on the trip……. No doubt we will. It is sure to be a scream!!!

Namaste !

Karen ..

Ok, I think we'll get along fine..... Yvonne had other ideas :

I think everywhere we go with three beautiful women on your
arm you will be a pimp, they will say here comes the Franz again with his harlem.


Greg, Karen's husband picks up on an earlier email from Yvonne about Tai Chi:


"Tai Chi" is not a Thai dish"" its a exercise !!!



To which Yvonne reponds :

Greg I do know the difference between exercise and food I am not altogether blonde



Of course not Evy, you're just practising, aren't you...

Maxine joins the discussion :

Have i missed something, what has tai chi got to do with going to europe

Don't worry about it darling, it has to do with excersize...not your favourite past time...

Preliminaries: Planning the first few days..

Frans Wrote:

18 Oct '09 : As we are coing closer to our departure date, a few pieces are falling into place in terms of meetings and arrangements so Frans decides to get a bit more serious with the planning:

Hi Guys, Whilst we're in Holland there are 2 visits I have to make for work and I'm trying to get them out of the way and combine them with a trip so that it still will be interesting for you as well. This is what I propose for the first few days :

Wednesday 4 November:
Arrive at Schiphol, Pick up car
Drive to the Camping

Settle in and go shopping for bare essentials for a few days

Thursday 5 November:
Explore area around Terwolde, i.e. Epe, Pine forrests, etc.

Drive along the river Ijssel up to Kampen (Old middle century town)
Dinner at the local Camping restaurant (If open) or at home

Friday 6 November:
Leave the Camping early to avoid the worst of Traffic jams
, coffee/breakfast on the way
10:30hrs Meeting Frans in Head office (2 hours or 5 minutes depending....)
Girls explore Alexandrium shopping center (Across the road)

13:00 hrs: Meeting Frans in Sliedrecht (About 1.5 hours)
Girls wonder around old part of Sliedrecht?
Travel to Kinderdijk, lots of old working Windmills

Dinner somewhere, someplace, perhaps with Frans's sister Mia in Krimpen a/d Ijssel? Mia's husband Antoine speaks good English....
Head back Home after the traffic has eased (1.5 hous)

Saturday 7 November:
Visit the market in Deventer

Visit whatever in the local area, perhaps coffee with Frans's brother Dominique in Zevenaar? Dominique's wife Alie speaks good English. Perhaps they'll visit us in the Chalet?
Plan for the big Europe trip the following day

Sunday 8 november:
Start our big Europe trip
Travel towards/to Brussel and Brugge (Belgium)
...we're on our way....

Let me know what you think?

All the best Frans

Karen is quick to respond :


It all looks & sounds great to me!! You certainly are a well organised tourist/guide. It is sure to be a pleasure.

Namaste !

Karen ..

...and Yvonne a few days later :

Sounds good to me so far getting things together.
When we get to Cresty Krumlov we must have lunch in the old dungeon as it is an eye opener and wonderful you would not know how the prisoners stood it in there as there are no
windows what so ever, and the meal was great.

Re Tai Chi are you talking about on the trip or before the trip
as I also know Tai Chi.

I have picked a few hotels out in Prague but the one we all
like has no lifts, so have a look at the Hotel Ceasar Palace
it is another good hotel as I have stayed there and they do
have lift and the breakfast was good and not far from the
river and the old town and the Charles Bridge. Also Franz there is a Casino in Prague if you wanted to go there, and there is a great irish pub the other side of the bridge and cook a great roast.

osta la visita

Ok, that settles the first few days...

Preliminaries : The Blog kicks off

Frans wrote :

16 Oct '09 :

After working a few days on the web blog so that The World can follow our adventures, Frans informs his fellow travellers :

Hi Guys, I've started our web blog: I'll work on it on the weekend putting in all your ideas and hard work...... I just hope we do get a BMW now... Groetjes Frans

Karen picks it up straight away and responds with her usual enthousiasm :


Oh my!!! Fancy having our own web page - feels like WE’RE” famous. Not sure how to use it yet but give me a little time & I am sure to work it out.

Namaste !

Karen ..

...and Karen did work it out and posted her first ever Web Blog Post a few days later but Frans just wants to make sure we maintain a few simple rules to protect our privacy and security :

Hi back, I hope you like it, I'm trying to keep any real personal stuff out of it (like your email addresses) because who knows who reads this, but if you don't like anything, let me know and I'll take it out.

I'll work on it a bit more and bring it up to date so that we then can keep a daily diary of our adventures. I can maintain it myself but it would be nicer if we all wrote our own little experiences in it, that is why I've started every update with 'Frans wrote:' so if everyone then starts their entries with 'Yvonne wrote:', 'Karen wrote:', etc. the home front will know who wrote what and will get a good idea how each of us is experiencing it all.

When we're together next I'll show you how to make entries, etc. The home front can always make comments on our entries again. ....and yes, I'm the Worlds greatest logistics freak....

Groetjes Frans

... you just don't know how something like this can backfire... Karen obviously sees other advantages of the Web Blog, things that come with old age :

Hi Frans,

I look forward to my 1st attempt at blogging. It will be a great way to keep a travel diary. It may come in handy in a few years when the mind is not as sharp & we have forgotten we went to Europe together. We are sure to create some great memories.

Better get going – I'm off to tai chi. Maybe we can add a little yoga/tai chi to our mornings in Europe. You know, limber up the old body etc. Will make for a good laugh also.

Namaste !

Karen ..

...something tells me I'm not going to forget this trip....ever....

Monday, October 19, 2009

karen wrote:

My 1st blog attempt!! Frans emailed all instructions - he's made the process a breeze.

2 weeks today & we're boarding. I'm a little concerned my Aussie winter woollies will not suffice in the European winter. Seems it is already snowing in Germany. I may have to do a little thermal shopping!!!! What a treat it will be to see Europe under snow.

Up, Up & Away!!!!!!

Namaste !!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Preliminaries....Luggage and Travel...

Frans wrote:

15 Oct '09: Karen checks out the Airlines webpages to see what can and can't be brought along on board the airplanes:


I found this information re hand luggage – You may be interested
We picked up a leaflet from Gatwick last April; it's called "New EU Security Rules at Airports"
You can still pack liquids in bags that you check in - the new rules only affect hand luggage.
You are only allowed to take small quantities of liquids in your hand luggage. (And we were only allowed ONE piece of hand luggage - handbags not allowed as an extra)
Liquids must be individual containers with a maximum capacity of 100 ml each. You must pack these containers in one transparent, re-sealable bag of not more than one litre capacity per passengers.
(They did hand out suitable plastic bags) We had to have all jackets screened and large electrical devices had to be removed from hand baggage to be screened separately.
Liquids included:
water and other drinks, soups, syrups
creams, lotions and oils
gels, including hair and shower gels
pressurised containers with shaving foam, other formas and deodorants
pastes, including toothpaste
liquid-solid mixtures
mascara, lipstick, and others items of similar consistency.

Mums with baby bottles had to drink some of the mix in front of the Customs Officer
Medicines can be carried if they are needed on the plane (we suggest that you take a copy of your prescription if you are on a lot of medication because you may be asked for proof)
Of course the old no guns, knives, nail scissors, etc.
Have a great holiday.
Namaste !

Karen ..

...and Karen being her normal thorough self:


This Is the information direct from Malaysian airlines web site: --

Hand Carry Baggage - Restricted Liquids, Aerosols and Gels (LAG)

The liquids, aerosols and gels (LAG) that are not allowed to be carry onboard or in your hand carry baggage include, but are not limited to:

water and other drinks, soups, syrups, jams, stews, sauces and pastes;
foods in sauces or containing a high liquid content; creams, lotions, cosmetics and oils;
sprays; gels including hair and shower gels;
contents of pressurised containers, including shaving foam, other foam and deodorants;
pastes including toothpaste; liquid-solid mixtures;
Some examples of makeup items that must be in containers 100ml/g or less and placed in your resealable plastic bag:
Some examples of makeup items that are not liquid aerosols and gels and as such, can be carried loosely in you hand luggage regardless of quantity:

Liquid Eyeliner


Liquid Foundation

Creams, lotions and moisturisers

Facial Cleansing or Wet Wipes

Lip Gloss, Lipsticks and Liquid Lip Liners

Compact Foundation and Blush with the consistency of a paste.
Pencil and Kohl Eyeliners

Powder Foundation

Powder Eye Shadow

Pencil Lip Liners

Powder Blush

And any item of similar consistency at room temperature.

This is not an exhaustive list and security screening staff would have the final say on what constitutes a liquid, aerosol or gel. If you are unsure of whether an item is allowed, you should pack it in your check-in baggage.

Namaste !

Karen .. which Frans simply can't resist to respond to get ahead in the browny points stake:

From: Frans
To: Karen; Evonka ; Maxine
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 4:47 PM
Subject: RE:

This shouldn't be such a problem for you ladies because half this stuff you won't need anyway.... you're already beautiful enough...

....which brings some response:

From: Gary & Yvonne (
Sent: Thursday, 15 October 2009 5:18:50 PM
To: Frans Schlack (; Karen (; Maxine(

Yes this is correct we are beautiful but still need our makeup etc.,

Water last time I travelled people were taking water bottles
on board. But the International flights you get bottled water

Euro up today will keep you informed.


...and from Karen:

From: Karen Seton (
Sent: Thursday, 15 October 2009 5:54:05 PM
To: 'Frans Schlack' (

You sweet talker you!!!! You know how to flatter a woman. What a smart man.

Enjoy your evening.

Namaste !

Karen problem Karen, I'm a natural :0).

Preliminaries...Maps and Calendars...

Frans wrote:

14 Oct '09: Karen produces a calendar to put dates and places together in one view :


This is a better format for the calendar. Gives an idea of days we have to spread journey over. I have input evies itinerary so as we play with that & move stops around. I hope this is helpful.
Namaste !

Karen ..

...but Frans can't see the details :


Can you widen the comments so we can see the Km's? They would be handy to know for the day to day planning


...and Karen produces the next version :

Hi Frans

I have put calendar on spreadsheet

This way you can save & adjust as you like

Hope this helps.

Namaste !

Karen ..

...and just when Frans thought she had measured all these distances on a map she follows it up with :

Hi Frans

Just thought I would mention I got the klm & hours from google earth. You may find this helpful also.

Go to “directions (in left hand column) – input town from-to & toggle down until it gives you klm & hrs in column to the left – even marks the route !! champion ….


Namaste !

Karen ..

.....well, even if this trip is not going to be a success, at least we all learned how to work Google Earth.....

But Karen is now starting to develop into the Google Earth expert :

Hi All,

I have been playing on google,.

I have marked with placecards. Do you find this helpful I intend to keep adding info re site to visit in each place to placecardsinformation

Cheers Karen

......From this Frans gets the idea to start a Web Blog so we can show the Home Front where we are at any given point in time :

Hi Karen,

Is it an idea setting up a Web blog so the 'Friends and Family' at home can follow where we are and what we're doing ?



...Yvonne likes Karen's map too :

Looking good karzza - good idea



....Frans noticed that Copenhagen is missing on Karen's map but Budapest has been added and from that another discussion evolves:

From: Frans

[mailto:] Sent: Wednesday, 14 October 2009 3:17 PMTo: Karen

Subject: RE: Google Earth Image

Karen, You forgot Copenhagen or did the plan change? Don't bother me because we'll be there before you arrive anyway. I do see Budapest on your map, if I had a choice I rather do Budapest then Copenhagen, it is supposed to be a magnificent place alongside the Danube river? Frans

...and the response....

Hi Frans

Plan hasn’t changed as far as I know. I added in Budapest because I would love to go there too! There are no plans set in concrete – I just have some spare time to meander around google web site - I have found I can mark places of interest, then apply accommodation options to the mix which indicates where accommodation is in comparison to town etc. Even shows the shopping centres, dining, places of interest in each town.

Have you any “must see” or “must do” to add?

Namaste !

Karen ..

...and Frans realizes that there will be some things he and Maxine will have to do whilst in Holland and whilst turning his mind to how to fit the compulsory items into the itinerary he can't help himself surpressing his logistic instincts and starts putting some practical suggestions forward to which Karen immediately responds :

RE: Google Earth Image‏
From: Karen (
Sent: Wednesday, 14 October 2009 4:23:09 PM
To: 'Frans Schlack' (
Cc: Yvonne Cook (

[Karen] Hi Frans…………..

More then likely I'll have to go to Rotterdam to my head office so we can combine that with you guys having a look and see there.
Personally I wouldn't bother with Rotterdam too much, it is a modern city after the Germans bombed it to the ground in 1940. If you like ships and water you could do a Harbour tour of about 2 hours but if that isn't your thing don't bother. The Hague is where the Dutch Government is and although there are a few nice and interesting buildings to see, it is not too special but maybe that is because I grew up there. Nearby The Hague is Scheveningen, that is the Dutch 'Gold Coast', a bit touristy but for you probably interesting providing the weather is ok otherwise you'll freeze your little fingers off...

[Karen] I know Evie had the Hague on her list – I am sure we will enjoy whatever we do!!

Amsterdam would be interesting for you guys but logistacly we would be better off going there a day before you fly out again and stay one night there in a nice (and safe!) hotel so we can sample a bit of the night life, a dinner cruise through the canals could be great!

[Karen] I love this idea!!!! Do you think 1 day in Amsterdam will be enough?

I think that the area around Terwolde will appeal, esspecially to you. We're close to the pine forests where you can go for great walks and I think we would be better off doing a few 'closer to home' trips in the first few days because it will give us a chance to settle in and I'll bet you now we'll have to a bit of shopping to do anyway which we could combine... The German border is only an hour away and if shopping and fashion is your thing, one of the biggest shopping cetres of Germany (Centro) is only 1.5 hours via the Autobahn.

[Karen] I am looking forward to doing a lot of walking & maybe a bike ride (weather permitting). I am not that much of a shopper – No doubt the ladies will enjoy a shop & I am happy to join them at anytime. I will need to come home with a souvenir or 2.

I should do the right thing and see some of my family too but I haven't quite fitted that into the schedule yet,.... we'll see how we go about that one...

[Karen] Look forward to meeting your family maybe & must say you write a great email!!

Keep planning and scheming and No I don't know how to set up a web blog but I'll find out!

[Karen] shall keep on keeping on!!!!



....and Frans found out how to do it and started the Web Blog......

Preliminaries:...Accommodation and Plannings

Frans wrote:

13 Oct '09: Yvonne has been checking accommodation and Prague and has come up with this real gem: Castle Steps Hotel in Prague.

Karen and Max check this hotel out in Prague
it is called Castlesteps and it is near the palace and
Charles Bridge only 37 Euro per night I do not know whether
this includes breakfast but karen you may be able to
find that out also it is lovely and clean by the picture. Best
I have seen in my time spent on looking.

Karen if you go into should get you there
if not go into travelodge prague accommodation and you will
find on the right hand side. let me know your thoughts on this one, what need to keep in mind in bed bugs, which
when I travel europe there were a few hotels that did have
bed bugs but the aboce look absolutely beautiful and the
rate for winter.

If you think ok I will right down in my travel book and book
when we get there..

I will keep looking for our other destinations.

your thoughts


When you check it out on the Web : it really shows what a nice place this is.

Yvonne then really gets into the spirit of things and produces a draft itinerary :

I thought I would put together a bit of an itinerary just so we have some idea of what we can and can't do.

So here goes -

4/11/09 all arrive AMSTERDAM Horayyyyyyy
May as well say the 4th will be gone buy the time we
all get settled etc.,

5/11/09 to the morning of the 8/11/09 - checking out
Amsterdam and Rotterdam and the Hague etc., as Karen and myself have never been there - if that will be ok with you Frans and Maxine.

8/11/09 - Start of our big road trip around Europe.

Make our way to Brussels and stopping off here and there
for a bit of a look around. Let me know if you would
like to spend night in Brussels for time purposes.

Tentatively stay in Brussels O/N 09/11/09 do bit more sight seeing if need to and head of Bruges - check place out and
if we need spend night in Bruges - to be advised.

If we spend night in Brugges 10/11/09

11/11/09 make our way down the coast if we can via Dunkirk, Calasis Tourcoing, Roubaix (these are towns on the way to Lille - overnight in Lille (to be advised if we want
to stay an extra day. If we stay extra day then we travel to next destination.

13/11/09 road trip to Strasbourg over night there

14/11/09 road trip from Strasbourg into switzerland to Lurcerne or Innsbruck and over night. Will have time to
look around when we get there and in the morning.

15.11.09 Road rip to Austria - Salsburg and then Vienna
overnight. Could need two days for this.

17/11/09 from Vienna to Czech - Cesty Krumlov and then
off the Prague - 2 nights in Prague or maybe three depending on what you would like to do. Found a great place to stay I have emailed you the sight for you to looke
at. "Castlesteps" 37euro a night and like a palace, near the palace and the Charles Bridge in the Old Town.

19/11/09 leaving Prague we can either cross over to Poland
or go back into Germany - depending on what you would all like to do. I thought from Poland we can road Trip to top
and maybe get Ferry to Stockholm, keeping in mind we all need to be back in Terwolde on the 27/11/09 which will only
give us 7 days left.

If we go to Stockholm over night there and drive toward
Copenhagen come back through Germany and then returning to the Netherlands I will not give dates for this at this stage.

I will check out some more accommodation. Can I have your thoughts on where you would like to travel to and which we can cut out.

Karen jumps in and states here comments :

My thoughts !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have added my thoughts in Black. Although the klm don’t appear to be “too” much they are calculated without a stop & if we want to see sites/villages in between we will need to take more time & enjoy the ride. I would like to stay a few days in each place so as to get a feel for the place!! I am happy to organise our trip daily but we need to make sure we aren’t under to much pressure each evening (especially when it is wine time) trying to arrange the next days travels & accommodation etc.


04/11/09 all arrive AMSTERDAM Horayyyyyyy

May as well say the 4th will be gone buy the time we all get settled etc.,

5/11/09 to the morning of the 8/11/09 - checking out Amsterdam and Rotterdam and the Hague etc., as Karen and myself have never been there - if that will be ok with you Frans and Maxine.

[Karen] this gives us 3 days too & fro from Terolde ....Is this long enough? Frans & Maxine will have good input here!

8/11/09 - Start of our big road trip around Europe.

[Karen] Amsterdam to Brussels = 211 km - 3 hours (no stop)… 8th – 10th = 2 days if we stay over night

Make our way to Brussels and stopping off here and there for a bit of a look around. Let me know if you would like to spend night in Brussels for time purposes.

Tentatively stay in Brussels O/N 09/11/09 do bit more sight seeing if need to and head of Bruges - check place out and if we need spend night in Bruges - to be advised.

If we spend night in Bruges 10/11/09

[Karen] Brussels to Lille = 119klm - 2 hours (no stop)… 11th – 12th = 1 day travel & if we don’t stay overnight we wont make it to Strasbourg & be able to look around Lille

Make our way down the coast if we can via Dunkirk, Calasis Tourcoing, Roubaix (these are towns on the way to Lille - overnight in Lille (to be advised if we want to stay an extra day. If we stay extra day then we travel to next destination.

[Karen] Lille to Strasbourg = 551klm 5 hours (no stop)… 13th 14th = 1 day …

13/11/09 road trip to Strasbourg over night there

[Karen] Strasbourg to Innsbruck = 542klm 5 hours drive (no stop)……. will need a few days here if we want to enjoy the drive & stop here & there!!

14/11/09 road trip from Strasbourg into switzerland to Lurcerne or Innsbruck and over night. Will have time to

look around when we get there and in the morning.

[Karen] Innsbruck to Vienna = 480 klm 5 hours drive (no stop) Will need a few days to fit all this in also

15.11.09 Road rip to Austria - Salsburg and then Vienna

overnight. Could need two days for this.

[Karen] Vienna to Prague = 406 klm 4 hours drive (no stop) Definitely need a couple of days to recoup here.

17/11/09 from Vienna to Czech - Cesty Krumlov and then

off the Prague - 2 nights in Prague or maybe three depending on what you would like to do. Found a great place to stay I have emailed you the sight for you to looke

at. "Castlesteps" 37euro a night and like a palace, near the palace and the Charles Bridge in the Old Town]

[Karen] Prague to Budapest = 528 klm – 5 hours (no stop)

[Karen] Prague to Stockholm = 1429 klm 16 hours drive (no stop)

I would love to get over to Budapest but time might be against us.

19/11/09 leaving Prague we can either cross over to Poland or go back into Germany - depending on what you would all like to do. I thought from Poland we can road Trip to top
and maybe get Ferry to Stockholm, keeping in mind we all need to be back in Terwolde on the 27/11/09 which will only give us 7 days left.

[Karen] Stockholm to Copenhagen = 655 klm 7 hours ( no stop)

We will need a few days along the way here also

I still think this could be stressful to try to fit all this in but I am open to suggestion – your thoughts

If we go to Stockholm over night there and drive toward

Copenhagen come back through Germany and then returning to the Netherlands I will not give dates for this at this stage.

[Karen] Copenhagen – Amsterdam = 789 klm 9hours (no stop) Will also need a few days to enjoy the trip

...and the discussion continues with Yvonne's reply :

We will only stay in Brussels and make brugges a day trip from Brussels. We could also go straight to Lille from Brussele and
cut out the ocean road to dunkri and Calsis which will save 2 days
from Lille - also we can give Switzerland miss and go cross germany
into Austria then from austria to czech and then from there either
go into poland or back across to Germany.

Alot of klms to travel and there will be good company good food
and expecially good wind and good conversation.

Karen which hotel were you talking about some hotel done even give
breakfast so put your thinking caps folks and good lick
your thoughts on this.



Becoming a little concerned about locking us into an Itinirary that will be too ridgid I thought I better get amongst it as well considering I've got a good idea what is actually lying ahead of us :

Hi Gang,

Having travelled around a bit, here is my humble opinion.

I fully agree we should have a rough plan of some sort but the beauty of travelling in our own car is that we don't have to stick to a specific schedule. My experience is that you come across nice places where you least expect it and some places where you are convinced that it will be great turn out to be a bit dissapointing?

So, in short, lets get together soon for a BBQ or something because all this planninga nd scheming adds to the excitement and anitcipation and let's make a rough travel plan but let us all agree that we should be flexible, adaptable and most important of all... Lets have fun!



We all agreed to my short and simple suggestion and Yvonne checked the Euro again :

By the way the Euro has gone down today 61.09

Friday, October 16, 2009

Preliminaries: ..Discover Google Earth...

Frans wrote:

10 Oct '09: Karen was still checking and planning and found the advantages of using 'Google Earth' :


Just found Amsterdam to Prague on google earth is 882 klm & 8 hours & 21minutes drive.

What a great system!!!!

Namaste !

Karen ..

From: Karen
Sent: Saturday, 10 October 2009 6:00 PM
To: 'Frans Schlack'
Subject: google earth

Hi Frans

Do you have google earth on your lap top? It is a great way to sort route & klm.

Namaste !

Karen ..

Preliminaries: ...better to be sure....

Frans wrote :

10 Oct '09: Some countries require you to have a passport that is still valid for at least 6 months so I thought it would be safer to apply for a new one, just in case. These days it is very easy with the Internet facilities that are available :

Australian Passport Renewal Application - 10 Oct 2009‏
Sent: Saturday, 10 October 2009 12:56:52 PM

This email is automatically generated when a passport application is created online.

Please do not respond to this email.

Dear Sir/Madam

The form number for the Australian Passport Renewal Application you created through the Passports Online Service on 10 October 2009 is

.....and whilst I was on a roll I applied for our Dutch drivers licence renewal forms as our licences expired a few months ago :

Geacht heer/mevrouw,Uw e-mail is in goede orde ontvangen. Wanneer alle gegevens accoord zijn, zal het aanvraagformulier met de daarbij behorende handleiding binnen drie werkdagen naar het door u opgegeven Nederlandse correspondentie-adres worden verzonden.Ik vertrouw erop u hiermee voldoende te hebben geïnformeerd.Medewerker Klantenservice RDW

Preliminaries: ....getting excited...

Frans wrote :

9 Oct '09: Karen received the email about the Beamer rental and became quite excited, I'm not sure if it was about the car or the fact she finally figured out a driver with a few language skills came with it 'Free of charge' :

Hi Frans,

Argus was a good deal – It’s a “go ahead” from me.

I also look forward to you being our travel guide especially with language skills – we will be spoilt !! Where you a good history/geography student at school? Will we get a history lesson along the way.?

Getting excited!! Tickets secured & starting to think about packing. 3 weeks 3 days for us.

See you soon!!!!!!!!!!!!

Namaste !

Karen ..

Preliminaries: ...and what about the money ?!

Frans wrote:

8 Oct '09: As we are all getting a better familiar with what we are actually going to do the question is inevitably raised: 'What is it going to cost?'. That is easy enough to figure out as long as you know how many Dollars fit into one Euro and Yvonne started tracking the Euro against the Aussie dollar :

Franz today the Euro is 61.13 for $1.00 will keep you informed


Preliminaries: ...and what shall we drive ?!

6 Oct '09 :

Frans starts to look at car hire prices as this will take a big cut out off the Holiday budget. Initially the discussion settles on a Toyota Avensis.

Then Karen raises the point if it is going to be big enough for the 4 of us and our luggage:

Hi Frans

Argus appears to be the best deal. Do you think we will be comfortable enough in the smaller car or do we need to go for a little bigger to fit in the baggage etc.

The boat fare seems very reasonable to me! What do you both think.

Namaste !


After checking again Frans can't find the advertised Avensis as an automatic again and suggests the BMW 3 series which was excepted by all with great enthusiasm. The BMW Travellers got themselves some wheels...

Preliminaries: where shall we go?

Frans wrote :

5 Oct '09 : After everyone agreed we should go to Europe together everyone starts to get excited. We get together over a large map of Europe and everyone chips in with where they would like to go and visit.

We are talking about going from Holland via Germany to Denmark and stay in Copenhagen for a day or two. From there onto Sweden to Stockholm and then catch a ferry back to Gdansk in Poland.

'The Meeting' is followed by an hectic email correspondence about visa's, ferries, passport validity, etc. :

Yvonne : Franz thats sounds pretty good. (About Ferry prices)

I have been looking at hotels in Copenhagen, stockholm and Prague will keep you informed as I have no idea of any
dates at tis stage.


Karen : Some interesting information we will need to take note of if we are travelling thru czeck republic …..

1. To drive on all major highways, a motorway toll sticker (available at petrol stations) must be bought and displayed. Failure to do so may attract an on-the-spot fine.

2. It is mandatory for vehicles to have their headlights on at all times.

3. Street crime such as pickpocketing is common in the capital, Prague, especially on the road to the Prague Castle, at popular tourist sites and on public transport. There is a high incidence of passport theft, especially during the summer months. There is also a high incidence of car theft, particularly of newer vehicles.

4. Travellers have been robbed when criminals using fake police ID have asked to check the authenticity of their foreign currency and passports. Perpetrators of such crimes often work near ATMs. Police officers in the Czech Republic are not authorized to authenticate the validity of currency or passports.

5. When in the Czech Republic, you are advised to change money only at banks or the money exchange shopfronts located on almost every street in tourist areas, rather than money changers on the street.

6. Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

7. It is illegal to photograph some buildings in the Czech Republic. These buildings generally carry signs stating that taking photos is forbidden. If in doubt, check with local authorities before taking photos.

Both Evie & my passport have plenty of validity.

Cheers for now

Namaste !

Karen ..

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Frans wrote:

So what's going to happen? As things stand now, Maxine and I will travel to Europe on the 1st of November. On arrival in Amsterdam we'll continue on to where I have a business appointment.

Karen and Yvonne will travel on the 3rd of November and we'll all meet up at Schiphol Airport on the 4th of November where we'll pick up the rental car and start our holidays in Western Europe.

So 1 man (Frans) will travel with 3 Ladies (Maxine, Karen and Yvonne) for a couple of thousand kilometers through Europe, I think it is a recipe for some stories to come and via this 'blog' we can keep friends and family up to date of our adventures...

How it all started.

Frans wrote:

Welcome to our Blog page. The story so far... It all started out when I told Maxine to go to Holland to check out our little house there. Maxine talked to Evonka who wanted to come with her. They talked to Karen who also joined in on the proviso that everyone could withdraw from the idea the next day after everyone had sobered up again.....

Over the following days I considered whether I should go myself too after all, here was an opportunity to proudly show off my part of The World for a change after spending so much time in Australia. After some carefull consideration I just couldn't resist the opportunity to travel through western Europe with 3 gorgous women so I decided to join in as well.