The pace and nature of this morning’s activities was somewhat ritualistic. For the most part, we were on autopilot. We’ve been here before, at the end of a holiday and with only the packing of everything back into the car to keep us occupied. Lethargy had set in after what turned out to me more of a tiring holiday than we might have hoped for. Sandy is a world master at packing our huge volume of possessions into a seemingly impossibly small space available in the car. Somehow, however, she always manages to do it. This is typically one of those times where the best help I can offer is to stay quiet and out of the way.

Joey was being very quiet – out of sorts. He wasn’t speaking (though that’s not entirely unusual). He doesn’t like it when anyone touches his toys. Lord knows we accumulated a shit ton of Lego and other toys on this trip, so there was a lot of stuff we dare not move or even touch. He was moving extremely slowly, but his things eventually made their way into boxes and his suitcase.

Jae was also quiet. They were the last to get out of bed (no surprise there), had their nose planted firmly into their mobile phone, and was generally practicing the art of not doing anything at all. Essentially, that teenager was being…well, teenagery.

We did have an original plan for this the final day, way back when, when we were trying to see how we might take advantage of every opportunity to cram as much as possible in. The idea was to stop in Koblenz in Germany, to break up the journey home. It’s apparently a picturesque town with a cable car that takes you up to a fort at the top of the hill across the river. I had pleasant daydreams of wandering the picture postcard streets, taking in the atmosphere, and enjoying what must surely have been some stunning views as the cable car crossed the river. No such luck. After reading the room this morning, and the lethargy on everyone’s faces, a last-minute decision was made to skip Koblenz and just get home as quickly as possible. I guess you can have too much of a good thing, although I would have liked to have seen Koblenz. Maybe we’ll consider the Black Forest for a future getaway with Sandy and tick that one off then.

The route back home was the most direct and quickest the satnav had to offer. It would take around six hours, assuming no stopping for anything more than the odd toilet break. It was an uneventful trip, but we did pass by some pleasant little villages punctuating the surrounding landscapes as we drove through Germany, France, Belgium and then into Holland again. Of all the countries, Germany was the most pretty to drive through.

We stopped once for fuel and a quick bite to eat, about an hour and a half into the trip. It was a small shopping centre (like a strip mall), the lure of which proved too much for Jae and Sandy to pass up. Joey and I went to refuel the car, while the girls strolled into a couple of shops. Both came back out with something small and insignificant. A plastic butter-dish I think it was. It’s like there’s no actual need to spend money but doing so somehow makes them complete. I can only surmise it must be a female thing.

We stopped a couple more times along the route home. Stubbornly, Joey didn’t get out of the car once, almost like he was imposing his will of getting home ASAP on the rest of us. He can be incredulously stubborn at times. He must get it from his mother.

It was only as I was pulling the car into the garage that I was finally able to reveal to Sandy I had a surprise waiting for her inside. Since just before we left, I’ve been conspiring with friends of ours to have the house cleaned and tidied. I figured that coming home to a clean and tidy house would be a welcome homecoming for Sandy – something to soften the blow to unpacking and sorting everything out, a chore that nobody enjoys. I was tentatively confident this would bode well for me, though not certain by any stretch of the imagination. Sandy can sometimes be like a praying mantis or a black widow spider. Despite the male’s best efforts, the female can sometimes decide to bite the head off the male and eat him on the spot. I would either receive kudos or be lambasted. It could go either way. As of now, the jury is still out. If I fail to reply to any further FB comments for this blog, you’ll know which way it went.

So, that sort of brings the proceedings to a close. On reflection, I think it was a successful holiday. Who knows, maybe the last one we all enjoy together as a family. The kids are not very interested in being with each other on holiday and Jae is practically at the point where they won’t want to holiday with the rest of the family at all. For me personally, I just wanted us to spend some time together as a family – to bond a little. We’re spending less and less time together nowadays. Considering the kids are nearly 17 and almost 18, the traditional nuclear family of four, isn’t going to stay connected as a family unit for many more years, I fear. I wanted to take advantage of the fact we’re still together as a family unit – at least for now.

Would we go back and re-visit Europapark? That’s a definite yes. We loved it. We had our ups and downs, of course, and the saga over the missing furniture in the bungalow was a drag at times, but it was a good choice of destination and I dare say we’ll be back at some point in the future. Perhaps we’ll choose a different accommodation option the next time around.

All that is left is to thank my loyal blog fans. I’ve enjoyed reading your comments and your personal messages over the past 6 days. They all help to keep me going. I’ll see you all on the next holiday. Good bye 🙂