We were on the road again. It seems as though we’re moving every few days at the moment. Today we were headed to a little town called Hohenweiler in Austria on our way back to Munich. I’ll be honest the car legs of this journey are always a trial for us. I’m sure Evie hates them and she always gives me such a sad look when I strap her into her car seat.
We decided to have a lunch stop in Zurich. It took around an hour and a half from Bern to Zurich and as we were at the end of Evie’s awake period we took the first car park we could find. The building was in the tech and more industrial area of Zurich, it also turned out to be about a 20 minute tram ride into the centre.
Stupidly we went in and hadn’t loaded any sort of map to know where we were going. Evie decided she wanted more milk and didn’t want to sleep. So until we found a little garden near the University she was pretty unhappy. After that she went to sleep but we continued our hunt for lunch. You’ve probably heard people say Switzerland is expensive, it is. Even the little Chinese restaurants were charging a minimum of $25NZD for a plate of food. Eventually we found our way to the central train station and settled for a shared kebab plate.
Evie was awake by then which wasn’t a good omen for the rest of our car ride.
By the time we finally returned to our car it was after 3pm and she was already over tired. After some crying and fussing, she went into full meltdown just before St Gallen (near the Swiss/Austrian border) at about 4. We decided to stop and get some groceries and hoped that she’d fall asleep. She didn’t until 4.30pm and we didn’t leave the shops until 5.30pm, even though we were meant to be at our next Airbnb at 5! Our hosts were lovely and very understanding, telling us to take our time. It was 7pm by the time we actually got there with our two very tired children and two overwrought parents.
Our Airbnb was fantastic, two bedrooms, a huge kitchen and a separate lounge. It felt like a mansion compared to some of the previous places we stayed. Our hosts were delightful too. We wished we’d been able to stay there for a week!
Next morning we got in the car as soon as Evie woke up from her first nap. We weren’t going to waste any of her awake time not on the road. The drive to Munich was supposed to take about 2 hours. The rental car that we’d been driving for our first 6 weeks was due back at 2pm and we’d tried to extend it by 2 days so we could keep it until we flew to Split, however Europcar refused because we made the booking through Autoeurope. So we’d booked a car from Munich airport to pick up at 12pm and then drop the other one back to the central train station.
Let me tell you I have had enough logistical nightmares on this holiday. The first part of the day went pretty well, we got to the airport having even had time to stop for a coffee and petrol at a McCafe.
Grateful to be back in Germany and paying German prices again we’d headed to the airport. Our new car pick up went seamlessly and we managed to get Evie a nap while we unloaded and reloaded our luggage. That was where our luck ended.
Craig took the SUV from the airport rental and I took our station wagon with the intention of returning it to Europcar. We made 3 vital errors, firstly I didn’t load directions to the parking garage for Europcar before I left the airport, I thought there’d be big signs for car rental returns like at the airport. WRONG. Second, we’d put Craig’s NZ sim back in my phone the day before to text our hosts and my Italian sim and data weren’t in my phone when I needed to use the GPS. Thirdly, we didn’t have time or even remember to remove the rubbish or check the car very thoroughly before we returned it.
After over an hour of driving around looking for the rental return, I gave up and parked the car in a public parking building. I pulled luggage out of the boot and set off on foot for the central station to see if I could find the rental car agencies on foot. I eventually did thanks to some free wifi, and found Andy (our friend) waiting for me there. Then I was told by the guy that I was in the wrong place and that the car had to be returned to this random point of the map he showed me. I’d had enough, I was almost in tears and thankfully Andy took over and sorted the car.
Steph and Andy were meeting us near the station to take some of our bags to store while we are in Split with them to cut down our baggage. We grabbed some burgers and another nap for Evie before we headed out to find our Airbnb. It was a 25 minute drive away.
We walked in and I thought we had a problem. There was no portacot set up and in fact there was no space in the tiny bedroom for one to be set up. The house had 2 sofa beds that had to be pulled out and made by us. I wasn’t impressed. We figured out that Craig and I would have to sleep in the lounge and the 2 girls in the room with the sliding door. It wasn’t ideal and after a crazy day it was the last thing I wanted to deal with.
Once again our friends came through, Steph made the beds and the boys sorted the girls’ dinner. It was so awesome to be back with people who could help us and make tired people’s lives easier.
Only a few days here before we are on our first inter-Europe flight to Split, Croatia.