Ugh. What a hateful drive. Glad you made it in the end.
I remember a family holiday to Belgium. We took 2 cars – stepson had not driven on the continent before. The idea was to drive in convoy, with an understanding that if we got separated hubby and I would press on to our destination because we had a fairly limited time slot in which to pick up the villa keys.
All went fine through France. Our channel tunnel train had been delayed, though, and we hit the Brussels ring road, the airport stretch, at rush hour. Anyone who has been on that will know how foul it is. Four or five lanes with entry and exit slip roads ON BOTH SIDES. Stepson likes to keep a nice, safe, 2 second gap between him and the car in front, and we saw him in the rear view mirror falling further and further behind as Belgian drivers swarmed into his gap from every side. Poor sod. We just had to leave him to it. He eventually arrived unscathed (physically) but he got through rather a lot of beer that night and might just have had a blub or two on the way, though would never confess to that.
Well done for pressing on, and then having the gumption to speak at the school. You are made of sterner stuff than I, Squidge. Hats off.