This post bought to you by Nuffnang and Mercedes-Benz Valente.
Mercedes-Benz Valente offered to lend me a car. I’m not sure anyone told them about my reputation as a totally terrible driver. Which is good. Because had they known, they might not have wanted to hand over the keys.
And the people mover they lent me was seriously awesome. Not only has the Valente been named People Mover of The Year for 2012 and 2013, it was also comfy and stylish and so big that the Bump took to playing hide and seek in the back of it.
I was instructed to take the Valente and the kidlets, and go on a day trip. Considering there are a about a hundred places around Melbourne we haven’t been, choosing somewhere to go was difficult. We settled on a one hour drive to Arthurs Seat to visit the Enchanted Maze.
It actually felt a bit odd, going out with just the three of us. The Most Amazing Man had to work, so he couldn’t come with us. With the exception of our epic road trips to Sydney, we’re used to doing pretty much everything as a family of four. I hadn’t realised how used to it I’d become. The kids felt it too. “We will have to tell the Most Amazing man about this. He would love this”, says the Chop.
We got lost in mazes. We played giant Snakes and Ladders. We trudged great big heavy inflatable tyres up a steep hill over and over and over, so we could ride the Tyre Slide back down.
There is one particularly terrifying attraction at the Enchanted Maze– the 3D indoor maze, designed to be as scary as possible. We were about 4 turns into it– just that little bit too far to go back– when I realised that this probably wasn’t a great idea, and that I may have just sentenced my kids to a few nights worth of bad dreams. The figures on the wall seem to move and seethe and I’m scared, so I figure the kidlets must be.
The Chop said he wasn’t afraid, but having made it through once was certainly not going back in. Much to the Bump’s disappointment. She was terrified and I ended up carrying her most of the way. But as soon as she got out she just wanted to go in again. “Do you like being scared?” I ask her, and I see her think about it for a moment, then nod.
Watching these little people learn about themselves is fascinating.
Both kidlets crashed within minutes of being back in the Valente. The model I got to drive was an 8 seater people mover with sliding doors on both sides and conference seats– three seats facing forward and three facing backward so the kidlets could sit opposite each other, which they thought was the most exciting thing ever.
The Valente was massive but drove so well– it took the curvy road up to Arthurs Seat like it was on rails. Being in the driver’s seat felt high up and safe. It has a five star ANCAP rating and something called Adaptive ESP, which actually compensates for the weight distribution of your passengers in an emergency.
The Valente has separate air con controls and speakers for the back. It also had bluetooth, three sunroofs and a stack of other groovy features. I felt like the most stylish mum ever at school pick up- the Valente has that Mercedes look to it with alloy wheels and tinted windows.
And it was so easy to drive. Given my (not completely unfounded) bad driver reputation, I was more than a little bit scared when I saw the size of the Valente. But I even managed to reverse it backwards down a tiny street with cars parked on each side (with the assistance of the reversing sensors) after I got lost for the millionth time trying to navigate home from South Melbourne. (Getting lost in Melbourne is a regular occurrence for me. Still.)
Anyway. The Valente is awesome and you should totally buy one. The kidlets rate it a solid five out of five, and were more than a little disappointed that we had to give it back.
Thanks to Micheal Flynn at the South Melbourne Mercedes-Benz dealership for letting me take the Valente and trusting me to bring it back in one piece. The dealership was amazing- they even gave me coffee while I waited.