Scaredy-Cat driving an old-timer

A while back, I made some bucketlists for my own country. One of the items was Teuten & Toeren. I have no idea how to translate that, but it was an arrangement where you could rent an oldtimer car and you would get a picnic basket and a route to drive with your shiny old car. It sounded amazing, especially when I looked up the cars they offered. So cute! So when I saw an ad for it again, saying this was something we actually could do during the quarantine, the decision was easily made!

So last saturday we set out to Elburg to pick up our rented car and our route and picnic. Turns out, driving an oldtimer is way more difficult (and scary!) than I had first imagined…

The car we rented was a Fiat 600 from 1968. I chose it because, well, look at it. It’s adorable! I saw myself driving this cutesy little car, the wind in my hair, loud music, driving through fields of green and purple. The reality, however, was that it was a whole other adventure than I had firstly anticipated.

Obviously, I knew the car was old but I hadn’t really thought about what that meant. What it means is: no seatbelts, no airbags, no power steering. But also, no way to adjust the driver’s seat. You can’t really see it in the picture but I had to sit at the edge of my seat to be able to reach the pedals. Because I am tiny, and cars from 1968 are, apparently, not made for tiny female drivers…

So yeah, that was kinda scary. To top that, there were some lights blinking, a clicking sound that irritated me a lot (imagine: trying to focus to not wreck this adorable old car, whilst hearing tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. It drove me nuts!)

I had said I wanted an adventure, and driving this oldie apparently wasn’t adventure enough, so we got lost. Of course we did. Looking back, it’s actually a pretty funny story but at the time, I wasn’t all too happy about it. We drove to our first stop, where we should find a toilet. It was closed, so we turned around to our second stop, where we, also, would find a toilet. We parked our car, but, as it turned out, we couldn’t lock the door, so one of us had to stay with the car while the other set out to find some toilets. But they weren’t there, there wasn’t really anything. Maybe we had parked in the wrong spot?

Then, we drove away again, seeing a sign that said ‘more parking spaces over there’, so we tried that. Next, we were on a path through the forest, a dirt road that was definitely not made for cars from the seventies, especially since it ended with a closed gate! Let me tell you, that did not improve my mood! I got out of the car, boyfriend was driving at this point (for you know, he could actually reach the pedals) to see how we would get out without driving that whole road backwards again. Luckily, the car was small enough to pass over the bicycle lane, to the amusement of some people who were picnicking at the other side of the gate…

We drove away quickly (but not really because the car wasn’t all that fast) and drove around a bit to find a place to have our picnic. We completely ignored the route they gave us, because so far, it hadn’t been any good. Eventually, we ended up in the exact same place, at the other side of the gate, to have our picnic, but now the onlookers were gone so we could use the picnic bench.

We had lunch, laughed about it, decided we would take the car back as soon as we were done. Turned out, we were only a `ten minute drive away from where we picked up the car!

I had asked for an adventure, and I got one! Driving the oldtimer was more terrifying than I thought it would be, but it surely makes me appreciate driving my own car a whole lot more!


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