Wednesday, 19 November 2014

An Unexpected End



Throughout the first two weeks of this automobile trip though Holland, Belgium and France, I struggled.  Those of you who follow my travel blogs will remember that I was hit and knocked briefly unconscious by a bicycle on my first night in Amsterdam.   A CT Scan proved there was no immediate danger, but I was warned not to fly for a week.   JP and I decided to go ahead with our travel plans.  

By the time we reached Dinard in France, two things made us change our
minds.   A small wound in my left leg had become infected, and I had to consult a French doctor, who put me on a course of antibiotics.   The leg was swollen enough to make walking difficult.   Also, I was having daily, debilitating headaches and nausea.   Concussion, I thought, a diagnosis confirmed by my doctor when I got home.  We debated long about whether to push on or to head for home.   After a particularly bad day, home won out.  

I’ve never had to do this.  I’ve seen the insides of hospitals in several countries, but I’ve never had to give up before.  It was depressing.  But I learned several things in the process.  

When you book a trip, pay attention to the cancellation policies of the hotels, inns, B&B’s, where you’re booking.  Most give you a day or two.  Unfortunately, we were booked for the next four days into two small inns that required a week’s notice.  It cost us about 500 Euros.  I will not do that again.

Second, we should have read the fine print about the penalties for changing airline tickets.  We had to change ours to three weeks earlier than our original planned departure from Amsterdam.  It was not difficult to do, but the penalty was 300 Euros each.  Ouch!  The good news was KLM offered us an up-grade to business class for very little more.  This made it possible for me to keep my very swollen leg elevated for the duration of the nine hour trip.  Ask about up-grades.  You never know.

Third, when we booked our car, we failed to take note of what the rules were for early return.  We ended up having to pay for a month’s rental for a car we used for only ten days.  Live and learn!

I am fortunate that my traveling companion, JP, is one of the most organized people in the world.  She saw to all the cancellations, all the re-bookings, all the paperwork, while I lay prostrate, nursing the granddaddy of a headache.  Traveling with someone else is always a good idea, although I must admit I did travel many times by myself when I was younger.

What did we do right?  We have travel insurance.  Really good travel insurance.  I’m not sure exactly what will be reimbursed and what will not, but I know we will not be too much out-of-pocket by this unforeseen and unfortunate accident.  If you travel, buy travel insurance.  An accident like mine, if it had happened in the U.S., could have bankrupted me without insurance.  Hospitals and doctors in Europe are much less costly, but they can still put a major dent in your travel budget.  Buy the insurance.

And last, be sure you have credit cards with you.  For some reason, doctors and hospitals in Europe want credit cards, not cash.  Indeed I found it hard to change the five hundred euro notes I was traveling with.  Everybody everyplace wanted credit cards.  This is a change in just the last year.  I won’t bother to take much cash with me next time.

And yes, there will be a next time.  I don’t intend to let this setback deter me from the next trip.  Bon Voyage!
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Following are my own published novels. For further details about my books and to read my reviews of books I have read, go to my Goodreads page.
 
To purchase one of my books, just click on the book cover below and select the vendor of your choice.
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COMING SOON!  Romantic Road, is a romantic thriller set in Europe.  It is due for release in late 2014 by Wild Rose Press!  Stay tuned.


Romantic Road ~ Takes you on a chase across Europe with our heroine who finds herself in a series of precarious situations.  She encounters a handsome stranger, but is he helping her, or is he dangerous?  This story has hair raising suspense, romance and a sprinkling of humour








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The Memory of Roses, Blair McDowell
 • The Memory of Roses ~ The story of a secret and how it impacts two generations of the McQuaid family.  It unfolds on the beautiful Greek Island of Corfu and is a tale complete with beautiful and passionate women, handsome and fiery men, and an intriguing mystery.


"The Memory of Roses by Blair McDowell is simply an incredibly lovely story. It’s also a love story, and a story about finding yourself, and about closure. The theme running through the book is “all’s well that ends well.”  --  Marlene, Reading Reality
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Delighting In Your Company, Blair McDowell
 • Delighting In Your Company ~ Delighting In Your Company is a paranormal romance set on an exotic Caribbean island, featuring a handsome ghost and an adventurous heroine who travels back in time to solve a mystery!

"Delighting In Your Company is a unique paranormal romance that brings together island folklore, history, and mystery with an unlikely romance between the past and present that had me going through a torrent of emotions and made it impossible to put down." -- The Romance Reviews
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Sonata, Blair McDowell
 • Sonata ~ Sayuri McAllister has just arrived home to Vancouver to find that a robbery has taken place at her family home, and it is being investigated by her old flame.  She also has a new stepmother with a charming brother who is intent on bedding and wedding the rich and beautiful Sayuri. It’s a confusing and difficult time for Sayuri, especially when dangerous accidents happen to her father and herself – or are they accidents?


“I found Sonata to be a charming novel that left me laughing out loud in parts and gnawing nails in others. It was a delight to read.” – Night Owl Reviews

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Abigail's Christmas, Blair McDowell
 • Abigail's Christmas (short story) ~ An enchanting tale of love and romance, with a magical touch of fantasy.
 
"Abigail’s Christmas is a sweet and special story that honors both love and the holidays."  -- Sizzling Hot Books  






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Blair McDowell