Zeebrugge, Belgium 6-13
The wonderful town of Brugge had taken our mind off the fact that our home was still on a ship coming across the Atlantic, but there was plenty of time to worry about all the stuff that could go wrong. Had it survived being parked in the holding lot at Baltimore for 10 days, (5 days longer than expected)? Had security locks kept people honest? Was it really necessary to remove all the lights and other accessories from the outside? Had somebody backed into it accidentally? Had it been tied down correctly aboard the ship? Worry, worry, worry, worry, worry.
Monday morning we arrived at the Port of Zeebrugge with our wonderful agent, Rita Boussemaere, from Wijngaard Natie Logistics – Atlantic nv, necessary paperwork in hand. Required was the title of the vehicle, my passport and the European insurance papers. Though they were not needed, it was recommended to have the originals of these documents in case they asked for them. They didn’t.
Several ships had arrived during the weekend and it was a busy morning at the port. We turned in our documents and waited. The Customs Office at the Port of Zeebrugge is not located in the same building as the Port Authority, so communication is a little slower. We waited impatiently, watching traffic going in and out. One truck was loaded with six Maseratis, so we felt in good company. It was interesting to park next to a car-hauler carrying half a million dollars’ worth of plastic-wrapped sheet metal.
At length, our patience was rewarded as we saw The Turtle V rolling into the parking area. A great sigh of relief!! Absolutely nothing bad had occurred. In fact, except for a little dust and a few rain spots, it hardly needed washing. Nothing had been touched nor tempered with. We set about immediately reassembling and repacking all the boxes and compartments. This was done quickly thanks to our careful packaging and labeling back in Pennsylvania.
We plugged in the Garmin GPS, slipped in the micro card containing turn-by-turn instructions for all of Europe, punched in the nearby sea resort of De Haan that looked friendly and drove away. A quick stop at a supermarket gave us the necessary ingredients for a welcome home celebration. Finding a quiet spot on a street near the ocean, we opened a bottle of wine and dined on escargot sautéed in butter and white wine with a fresh baguette. Monika whipped up one her famous one-pot Siberian meals. The Turtle V had landed and we were home on the road.