Trip Start Sep 22, 2007
Trip End Oct 06, 2007

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

In Heerlan we check out the Best Western (Gary says it is the best bargain there) but it is full.  At the clerk's suggestion, we try the Golden Tulip in town.  Ha!  It seems to say it is a Golden Tulip (a reasonable good chain) but it's not... it is affiliated with them, but this may be the worst room in the worst hotel of the trip.  But everyone is tired and cranky, so we grab the rooms and head out to eat.  We stop at some steak place that I am not so sure about, but it ends up having the best steak I have ever eaten outside Alberta.  Apparently imported from Argentina.  It's funny.  The guideboods say that the waiters don't really expect much tipping, if any, but I have been tipping on the trip, and in most cases the waiter will take it.  I remember the first one in Gouda seemed mildly surprised and pleased to be tipped.  I try to tip our waiter at the steak joint.  He has already run my credit card and says that it's too late.  Rather than taking a tip from us, he is trying to give us free courtesy drinks.  We, of course, refuse as we don't drink.  But I get the last say by leaving a cash tip.

I am looking forward to a good sleep.  Sorry, there are for this and the last entry.  It was getting darker after Vianden, and although it was a beautiful drive, none of my pictures turned out well enough to post. But this was a pretty amazing day.  It helped me realize the difference is scale between Canada and Europe.  We travelled through 5 countries in one day without even trying.  We woke up in Luxembourg, ate breakfast, drove through the old town then parked and explored it on foot, ate lunch and wandered around ring roads for over an hour, including a side trip to France, drove north to Viandan and spent a couple hours touring a castle, then travelled across eastern Belgium and cut through Germany and into Heerlen in the Netherlands.  A day packed with sights and experiences and it didn't even take any effort. 

I just looked it up:  All of Benelux together is about 1/10 the land area of Alberta.  Their land area is 66,747 square km; Alberta's is 642,317 square km.  No wonder it seemed quick to traverse.  On the other hand, the combined population of those three countries is around 27.5 million compared to our population of about 3.3 million.  They have about one tenth  our land area and ten times the population.....so their population density is nearly 100 times what it is here -- and correspondingly, features and attractions are far more densely packed there.  You can see a lot more a lot faster.
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