The sun was setting and we had not found a place for the night. We had decided to get off the highway and try the smaller by-roads in hope of finding a small hotel. We would rather stay at a small country inn than one of those modern places catering to truckers and other Auto-ban travelers.
The fist village we came to there were no signs of lodging. We figured it was too small and would have no traffic to warrant a hotel, even a pension.
So we drove on.
The next village was considerably larger and our hopes raised. We saw nothing but a pub. We decided to stop and ask. The bartender told us that down the street to the right was a place that had rooms. The place was only a couple of minutes drive from the pub. But it looked closed. Which it was! We knocked and knocked on the door, but no answer. We decided to continue to the next village.
The sun had set and darkness was setting in as we drove down the road. We had been on the road for the past ten hours driving continually from Copenhagen in the direction of Paris.
It didn’t take long and night was upon us. It was rather taxing on me as I was the sole driver. There were no lights to be seen nor any signs for villages coming up along the road.
I was exhausted, but stopping along the road was not an option.
Coming to a bend in the road, a gas station came into view. I stopped the car to take a look at the map. While we were looking at the map a couple with a child emerged from the store. They came over and asked us if we needed help. Did we ever!
They knew of a couple of places off the main road and told us to follow them as they were going in that direction as they had horses and some cows that they were going to take to the barn.
We did not hesitate and followed them down a one lane, winding dirt road with fields on both sides. After a short drive, perhaps no more that five minutes, they stopped. We saw their horses and they told us to continue for another five to ten minutes and we would arrive at two hotels. We continued. The hope of lodging gave us new energy so we pressed on. As the couple had told us we arrived at our destination. It had taken us a good ten minutes to get here over a bumpy and uneven country lane. There we lots of people around and it looked like a real nice place. We parked and went in.
“Room for two, please” we told the receptionist. “For when?” She inquired. “Tonight!”
“Sorry, we are full” she replied.
What! Out here in the middle of nowhere? We now had to traverse back to the main road. We waived at the couple and their little girl on the way back. They were surprised that there were no rooms available.
Even though we had lost something like forty five minutes, the receptionist had told us that we should try a place by the railroad tracks in a town called: Arnhem.
With a second infusion of adrenaline we became hopeful and continued. It was close to nine thirty when we indeed came to a railway running on an embankment just outside a town. We had arrived in Arnhem! Of course now the town was black except for street lights and a few signs. The road took us through an underpass. We turned right and follow the road along the tracks looking for a hotel. There was no hotel. We were surprised as we gathered we were close if not in city center. At the next underpass we turned right again and another right into a one way street following the railway. At the end of that block, was indeed the place we had been told about. We had arrived at Hotel Molendal, Cronjestraat 15, Arnhem, an old traditional building as traditional buildings should look like in the Netherlands.
Now, if only they had a vacancy. Which they did.
That night we slept like royalty. The hotel, as well as the room was excellent. It has become one of our favorites and whenever we are in the area, it is a ‘must’ stop over, on our travels.
When we made the second right after entering Arnhem I realized that I was in the “bus only” lane and I could only turn right from that lane. If I had been in the car lanes I could not have turned right and we would have missed the hotel.