Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Europe Emails (2005)

Email 1 - Travelling Trav on the move (05/09/2005)

Hi all,

As some of you may know I've just finished a trip around the UK with my parents. I'm now driving around Europe for two months.

I headed off from London across the ferry last Week and drove to Luxembourg. It was fairly uneventful. I then decided to go to Interlaken Switzerland, via Germany. It was quicker through France but I wanted to try the Autobahns. I thought they'd be full of crazy drivers testing how fast their cars go. It wasn't there was only one. 112 mph I got it up to or about 180kph. Too much traffick to really let it rip.

I got a little lost at one point. I knew roughly where I was but not how to get to the right road. Finally I asked a passer by. Not only did he not speak english, but he was deaf as well. I decided to go by the sun.

Interlaken was great. But found many Americans. One young American lass had the experience of her lifetime parachuting from a helicopter. From the DVD she got it seems she spent more time smiling and looking good for the camera.

I went a bit over budget in the downstairs bar. So the next night I snuck in some takeaways.

From Interlaken it was on to Zurich. I now believe Copenhagen has the SECOND best looking women in the world. As I was leaving Zurich a hot woman in uniform called my over. She told my lights were too big. Those traffick cops are always coming on to me. I said "thank you" and continued on my way.

Heading through Austria another uniformed traffick cop pulled my over. A guy this time. He said my lights weren't big enough. I needed to use my full lights not fog lights for driving through tunnels. We weren't in a tunnel at the time but I thanked him none the less. I'm just glad he didn't ask whether I'd been on the motorway. Apparently it's a 220 euro fine for not having a pass.

I found the tunnel he was talking about and headed into it instead of the scenic mountain pass. It was 14 km long and I paid 8.50 euro for the privelage. Can anyone spell carbon monoxide poisoning?

Now I'm in Innsbruck and it's hot as hell in the laundromat. Heading to a whole bunch of former Yugoslav places next.

Keep in touch.

Travelling Trav

Email 2 - Travelling Trav still on the move (14/09/2005)

Hi all,

After Innsbruck I went to Bled in Slovenia where I met a sleazy Aussie ginger finance guy called Dan. He's been travelling with me ever since and I'm getting ready to offload him. Hopefully in Dubrovnik. We went out in Ljubljana and some locals were kind enough to take us to a heavy metal bar where we listened to AC/DC until 3am. Copenhagen has dropped another notch in the beautiful people rankings.

We then crossed into Croatia and went via Zagreb to Split. I thought border crossings into non-EU countries would take a long time. But it's amazingly quick when you forget to buy Car Insurance. We spent a night out in Split and Copenhagen dropped another notch.

We then headed to the island of Hvar. Voted one of the top 10 most beautiful islands in the world. The people doing the ranking obviously hadn't been to the far side of the island that was all burnt and full of rocks. But it was lovely and I spend one entire day on the beach without sunscreen and got burnt to a crisp. I blame the two topless Sydney lasses I was chatting to. They said no you've got aussie skin you'll be right. They didn't take into account I'd been in London for three years. They may have also been the reason I hung around all day. :-)

That night I had the shivers and fell really ill. I'd been developing a cold so I think it was the final straw. But I've soldered on and headed to Mostar one night and Sarajevo the next in Bosnia & Hurtsehguvnor. I'm now in Sarajevo and it's amazing how much more scary thunder is in a country that had mortar attacks only 4 years ago. The war grave is full, everyone here is a little sad and I'm still a bit sick. But I've promised we're going to hit a bar called "bar" then a club called "club" anyway. I really need to ditch this Daniel guy.

Thanks to those who've responded I really appreciate your feedback. Any suggestions on ways to improve these newsletters will be gladly received.


Email 3 - Travelling Trav lost in Albania (19/09/2005)

Hi all,

Well the night out in Sarajevo wasn’t much to write home about… so I won’t.
The next morning we went to the tunnel used by the Bosnian Army to get supplies into Sarajevo during the 4 years it was under siege by the Serbian Army. According to everyone we’ve spoken to so far the conflict was entirely caused by Serbian aggression. It will be interesting to see what they say in Belgrade.

I started driving back south to Dubrovnik, Croatia. The lady at the travel agency assured me the direct road to Dubrovnik was fine. We were soon to discover that, while most of it WAS fine, one crucial stretch of about 5 metres had slipped off the mountain. So we headed back to Sarajevo and went the longer way adding a few hours to the drive.

I was almost out of Bosnia – Hertsawhatever when my lights put me in trouble with the law again. This time I had to pay 12 euro for not having them on. I now drive with everything switched on and I’m lit up like a Christmas tree.

When we got to Dubrovnik we arranged private accommodation. I told Dan we should go our separate ways, he said that’s fine he’s only staying one day and I was staying two. The old lady at the house we were staying was a bit highly strung and needed assurance that we were OK. Dan was not in the mood and managed to upset her a bit. I could tell because when I was hanging up some washing she came up to me and said “I don’t like him.” He was only staying 1 night and had to leave by 11am. When he was still asleep at 11:30am she threatened to get her brother around. After he was dishonourably discharged I became the golden boy and she hoped I met a nice Dubrovnik girl that night, I was also allowed to leave at noon.

While in Dubrovnik, and it may come as no surprise to many of you, I decided to go to my first nudist beach. The surprising thing for many might be that it was my first. I’d seen them from a distance but had never got involved before. For those of you considering a visit to a nudist beach these are the pros and cons.

Pros: Swimming nude

Cons: Everyone is at least 20 years older than you.
Everyone speaks German
90% are men
No-one but you suffers from shrinkage after swimming.
A burnt undercarriage

Pros: You’ll have the fittest body

You can take the boy out of Werrimull but you can’t take Werrimull out of the boy. That night on the town I met a young couple from Mildura. Susan had played basketball against Werrimull, apparently they weren’t very good. She has an Aunty Margaret living in Werrimull that the family has disowned. I need to check a few facts with the olds, Has Werrimull really got it’s own indoor basketball court? Is there really a Margaret McDonald in town that I don’t know about? These questions may haunt me for another day or two until I get some answers.

It was a late night of drinking and dancing but the next day I was up and heading to Kotor in Montenegro. I picked up a couple of Czech hitchhikers. They spent a night out in “nature” in some old castle at the top of a mountain overlooking the city. I thought they’d be drenched with the rain. But they said it was undercover and they felt like kings overlooking their peasants. Best 1 euro entry fee they ever spent. Worst 27.50 euro I ever spent put me in some crummy motel.

Yesterday was uneventful but today I drove to Albania. You need to buy car insurance at border of these countries (except when you forget). And at 53 euro Albania is the most expensive. But judging by the roads and drivers here I also feel it’s the best value for money. The guy selling the insurance said, “OK finished now take this paper, this paper and passport to that man, then your next problem,… Albania.”

But I’ve loving Albania, I have my house music up loud and I’m ducking and weaving through the traffick like the locals. I’m in Tirana tonight and tomorrow night and I have a guy looking after my car for the price of 2 euros. Couldn’t be safer.

Seeya all,

Email 4 - Travelling Trav has a Hella time (28/09/2005)

Hi all,

Well I spent two nights in Tirana Albania. No one speaks English there and you can’t get into a nightclub without a female with you. So I spent some quiet time and watched some DVDs on my laptop. It’s great to experience new and interesting cultures and mix with the locals. But Hotel Rwanda is quite interesting too.

I then went to Macedonia. The signs there are a little messed up. They use some strange letters. I managed to get a place on 3a(triangle)(backwards N) street. It was a problem because my maps had English letters. I was worried that if I needed to ask someone how to get back to the place I was staying, I’d need to pronounce it. So I turned to my trusty Lonely Planet Guide, I knew it would get me out of this sticky situation. It said and I quote “The cyrillic alphabet is used almost exclusively, so it’s worth trying to learn it before you go.” Thanks LPG, you’ve done it again.

I spent the first night in a bit of a tourist town called Ohrid, which is on a beautiful lake. I decided I’d spend the next night in the Treskavec monastery. It’s situated on top of a mountain. There are no roads to it. You must hike several hours up a steep climb where the views are magnificent. You are greeted by a family that lives there who serve you a meal and allow you to stay in the monastery.

Or so it says in the Lonely Planet Guide. I got there and the mountain looked awful big, besides I wasn’t sure where I could park the car. So I said to myself “stuff it” and went to Skopje where I stayed in a youth hostel.

It was then on to Athens. Who would have thought it was such a big city. My LPG had a good map, of the middle of it. But after asking several helpful cabbies, one was so helpful he’d let me follow his cab all the way for a small fee of 10 euro, I got to Plaka and a youth hostel.

The next day I joined a walking tour and saw the Acropolis, the Pathenon and all that stuff. Staring at the pathenon an aussie lass on the tour said, “I thought it would be bigger”. I said “If I had a dollar for every time I’d heard that I’d be a rich man.” Boom boom. But after viewing it from every angle she had to confess the pathenon was quite big.

After a drunken night with Yuki, Isuki, and some Danish guys in Athens it was on to Santorini Island. As I arrived and was leaving the ferry I met another annoying Aussie from Brisbane called Rafe (as he pointed out it’s an anagram of fear). This one was OK really, but just totally mad and drove people away with his random psychotic mutterings. Yes that’s right he was a psychiatrist. He was attempting to assist drunk and alcohol rehabilitation patients by trying every drug himself so he knew where they were coming from. By his own admission he was an albatross. Those of you who’ve read Rhyme of the ancient mariner may know what he’s on about. I’ll look it up on the net when I get a chance.

We buzzed around the island on mopeds and it was pretty cool. The sunsets were famous but on the two occasions I saw them, due to cloud coverage, disappointing. The ambience was also spoiled on both occasions by thick Aussie accents rambling on about rubbish, and it wasn’t just me others were doing it too.

I’m now living it up for a night in a fancy hotel in (Lambda)(Alpha)(mu)(i)(alpha). I can read most of the greek signs. I knew my stats degree would be useful for something one day. My big fat Greek Wedding is on the TV.


Email 5 – Roaming in Romania (04/10/2005)

Hi all,

Well after Greece I headed to Bulgaria. The plan was to see some Monasteries and all that Bulgaria had to offer. But for several reasons I only saw the Capital Sofia.

1. You pay car insurance for 5, 10 or 30 days. I chose 5

2. It was pouring with rain

3. The Hostel Mostel was a lot of fun

4. A 2 litre plastic bottle of beer costs about 1 Euro

I met another annoying Australian guy in Sofia called Tim who I hung out with for the whole time I was there. He was a nice guy from Lincoln S.A. But he was annoying because he suffered from RSI (Repetitive Speech Infuriation). One night we went to the Heineken Billboard Bar. As those of you in marketing might know it won an award for a great advertising campaign. But as Tim said (52 times) it's not a bar, it's a billboard with a bar.

Another night we met an American Serviceman on leave from Afganistan. His name was Obe. I asked him if he could help me as he was my only hope. He said "you crazy aussie guys". He invited us to a bar where we drank with a bunch of Nigerian guys. A few of them were stars from the Sofia Soccer team that played in the Uefa cup. Anyway one guy asked if I could come outside and chat. He said he hated Bulgaria and asked if he could ride in the boot of my car. He would pay me well. I said thanks for the offer but I don't think I'm the smuggling kind of guy. I consulted my friend Simon Paget who has played rugby with Nigerian guys. He said I should take 4 of them. If you're going to risk it you might as well make it worth your while. Luckily I decided against it for at the border the police was suspicious of me having only been in Bulgaria 4 days and checked my car thoroughly.

But before I made it to the border I was stopped by a Policeman. He said something in Bulgarian and I said "sorry no speak Bulgaria, you speak Angliski?" He frowned, walked away and come back with a book. He pointed to a picture of two cars, one red and one black. He said something in Bulgarian including the word Sofia. I said "Yes I was in Sofia 4 days" then smiled. He frowned and went and got his friend. I shugged my shoulders. "Angliski?" I said. He frowned, gave me back my passport and sent me on my way. What nice fellas they were.

Not like the Romanian border control. "You have insurance for car?" "No", I said "I'm going to get it at the border, that's why they call it border insurance". But apparently the only insurance i could get was 1km inside the border and it cost 120 euro. He said maybe I could give him 50 euro and agree to drive carefully and he'd let me through. I said I'd prefer to have the insurance. Then he informed me I could get the insurance but there's a 30 euro penalty for not having it. So now I'm thinking he wants a kickback or a bribe just to get me through. I pointed to a sign and said but it says I can't give you any money. I would get in trouble. Things got a bit heated and I had to walk away. It turned out that the system was corrupt and not the guy because I got it all sorted and got a receipt etc for my penalty. I then needed to pay another 30 euro road tax.

Lessons for entering Romania,

1. Get insurance before you get to the border (how I still don't know)

2. Get more than 4 hours sleep the night before

3. Make sure you have a good lunch.

I got to Bucharest and it was pouring torrential rain that caused flooding. I stayed in a flash brand new 4 star hotel and didn't leave my room for 18 hours.

Now I'm in Brasov having just seen Bran castle and a few others. Romania is quite nice. Whether it's worth 35 pounds visa and 180 euro car costs to enter is yet to be seen.


Email 6 – Checking out Slovakia (11/10/2005)

Hi all,

I have a confession to make. I’ve been hanging out with Americans, and they’re alright. Turns out even Americans are people too, who would have thought.

Romania turned out to be great, I can almost say it’s worth the money getting your car into the country, since I almost certainly made up for it on the cheap beer. I’d given up rating the women against those from Denmark because;

a) I figured you were tired of it as was I

b) Anyway it’s what’s inside that counts.

Be that as it may I’d decided the women in Romania were quite ugly. That is until I found a cheeky girl look-a-like working at the Brasov hostel. She was similar to the cheeky girls in the following ways;

1. She was from Transilvania

2. She was quite slim

3. She had dyed burgundy hair

4. She can’t sing

She was different to the Cheeky girls in the following ways

1. I’ve never beaten the Cheeky Girls in chess.

2. There was only one of her

After a few days in Brasov looking at some spooky old castles and stuff I headed to Cluj Napoca (or as the locals call it Cluj). It’s considered a uni town and a bit of a party place so seemed ideal for a Thursday and Friday night.

On the way I picked up a Romanian hitchhiker. He was better than the backpackers I’ve been picking up because his luggage consisted of one rolled up newspaper (possibly his house). Passing in Europe with a right-hand drive car is a bit tricky. But this guy’s hand signals really helped me out. Once I determined a raised finger means “wait don’t pass yet it’s not safe to do so” not “go for it”.
He didn’t speak a word of English and my Romanian is a bit sketchy. However we did manage to make the following conversation.

1. He liked my car

2. He doesn’t like Romanian cars

3. My car has 8 cylinders

4. Romanian cars have less than that

5. He really likes my car it has a lot of (*grunt*)

6. He doesn’t like Romanian roads they are too bumpy

7. He doesn’t like Romanian Police they are corrupt

8. Drop him off here at the round-about, thanks for the ride

At the hostel in Cluj I met some Californians, Tommy and Becky and a German student called Marcel. I learnt that it’s implied that if an American is travelling then they hate George Bush so there’s no need to ask about it. Also they are kind of sick of talking about him. I also learnt that not all Germans are called Hans or Fritz.

Marcel knew the town a bit so he took us out and we found a cool bar called insomnia. It was so cool I bought a t-shirt from there with a pig shagging a sheep. I suspect it’s a rip off of a similar bar from somewhere else. We met some Romanian students who were keen to learn about the big bad world outside Romania. If I was clever I would have said what John Safran (famous Aussie comedian) said after finishing a race around the world. “It’s a lot like Melbourne but worse”. Unfortunately I didn’t think to say this.

Friday night was another big night starting with the now standard 2 litre bottles of beer that cost about 1 euro. Unlike Bulgarian beer, this stuff was quite good. We found ourselves at the end of the night in a super trendy club called Oscars dancing to the latest house music. A Romanian guy called Gabi from the night before was there. I asked him the name of a woman I was talking to in insomnia. He said “Youanna”. I said “Yes well I thought she was quite nice, but I’d like to know her name”. Again he said “Youanna”. This went on for a bit until I realised my mistake and we were amused at my confusion.

Saturday I drove to a small town in Hungary called Eger. I decided to have a quiet one until I stumbled across an underground club that was playing heavy rock. In there I met a Hungarian guy who needed an extra player for table football. Next thing I know I’m taking Unicum shots. It’s a drink that was initially sold as a medicine and hence supposedly has healing properties. But Unicum has now been scientifically proven to be the most disgusting drink known to man.

I'm now in the Vysoke Tatry (high tatras) in Slovakia. During winter it’s a nice ski resort and super cheap. For my sins I decided to take a 5 hour hike up the mountain. I now have sore legs.


Email 7 - Vilnius Lithuania (18/10/2005)

Hi all,

Krakow was a fun city. I got to the hostel and about a dozen Australians were there ready to hit the town. Poland was playing England in a World Cup Qualifier, and although it was a nothing game (both had already qualified) it was a big deal to the Polish. The best they’d done against England was a nil all draw in 1976. So of course we hooked up with some locals and cheered the local team.

I was sitting next to a lovely polish woman who said she was a journalist student and newsreader on local Krakow TV. She was really into her football and got very excited when Poland equalised to make the score 1 - 1. We got quite chummy. Cut a long story short, England scored so I didn’t.

It was a big night out and I needed a full day to recover. That meant the following day I had to drive 12 hours to get to Vilnius, Lithuania in time to meet my old housemate Bal at the airport. To break the trip I picked up a couple of hitch hikers. A young guy and girl who had finished school and were moving to Warsaw to find work. The guy said, “Weren’t you scared to pick up hitchhikers?” I said “Yes it was a bit scary crossing two lanes of traffick then stopping quickly”. I was sure that’s what they meant until the end of the trip when I handed back his switchblade that had dropped out on the seat.

The next day I drove another 8 hours to Tallin, Estonia. Mainly because I heard it had the most beautiful women in the world, and also to clock up some more countries. Estonia became country number 50. I desperately wanted to get to Finland as well but we ran out of time. Can anyone spell obsessive compulsive?

We picked up a hitchhiker who, according to him, the girls in Tallin are rubbish, but Russian girls are great. The grass is always greener I guess. But Parlament nightclub was great and had lot’s of fit women. The best part was no-one seemed to mind two creepy old guys dancing by themselves on the dance floor, until 4am.

Next stop was back in Lithuania near the Hill of Crosses. Perhaps not obvious from the name it’s actually a small hill covered in thousands of wooden crosses. The tradition started in the 14th century but was outlawed by the Russian occupiers. Each cross symbolises a deceased relative, an activist deported to Siberia and more recently that some idiot tourist has been there. It’s a pretty cool symbol of Lithuania’s struggle against the Russians and also I would think a major fire hazard.

Then it was back to Vilnius. I put Bal in command of directions. We were following on the map what turned out to be a train track. When I pointed out his error we decided we’d follow the rough dirt tracks near the train track anyway. We found what looked like a bombed area. We had a few hours until Bal’s flight, and the car was low on fuel. So we decided to get back to the right side of the tracks.

During the trip I was talking about my travels, someone asked me “How did you find Tirana, Albania?”, I replied simply. “It was right there on the map”. When I met up with Bal he asked me “How did you find Bled, Slovenia?” again I replied, “It was right there on the map”. But if anyone asks me how I found Vilnius, Lithuania…. F**k knows.


Email 8 – Ich bin ein Berliner (26/10/2005)

Hi all,

Not all of you may be aware of this, but I was called Chickenhouse all through university. Many people (mostly in and around Melbourne) still refer to me as Chickenhouse. Many people wondered why I was called Chickenhouse and the answers I gave them often left them feeling unsatisfied. I can now reveal that the reason I’m known as Chickenhouse is because I am the carrier of the bird flu virus. I was in Vietnam just before it first sprung up there. Now more recently I’ve managed to infect Romania and Greece.

Driving from Vilnius, Lithuania to Warsaw I was cruising along in a 90 km/h zone when I was pulled over by the policya. It was a fairly good straight road in a forest, miles from any city. They showed me their radar with the number 137 on it. I was a shocked, I thought I was doing at least 145. Luckily they didn’t get me the day before when I really tested out the beemer and got up to 200 km/h. Anyway they could speak pretty good English and informed me I was up for a 300 litas fine (about 100 euro). I said “I’m heading to Poland and don’t have any Litas all I have is 50 Euro”. The older policya, whose English wasn’t as good, simply said, “Protocol bank”. But being miles from the nearest bank they were forced to break with protocol and let me go. They didn’t even take my 50 euro.

So to recap, when dealing with police overseas;

1. Don’t speak the local language

2. Don’t carry the local currency

3. Smile a lot

4. Act very stupid

I went to Warsaw and it was not great.

On the way to Wroclaw (or vrozlav as the locals pronounce it) I met a couple of young Polish ladies hitchhiking. We’d been chatting away and I asked if they would like to go out for a drink later. They said sure. So 2 hours later they turned up, with their boyfriends. They took me on a tour of the old town and showed me some sites, I just wanted a beer. I’ve decided all Polish towns look the same. They asked me if I’d tried some Polish dish made of cabbage. Apparently it’s their delicacy. Their English was pretty good but not great. They said “it’s not sweet it’s another taste”. I said “Sour?” They said no that’s not it. I said “I’m not sure there’s too many other tastes than sweet and sour.” They eventually said “It’s like the taste of lemon”. I said, “It sounds good.” I lied.

From Wroclaw I headed to Prague and met up with Simon. It was Friday and getting late so we thought we should get some drinks in. With beers at 60p it’s one of the best things you can do in Prague. At some bar a drunk Northern English guy informed the Czech women beside us at the bar that she had a “Big Nose”. He repeated it several times slowly and clearly “You have a big nose”. I told her it was not as big as mine. I’m sure that made her feel better. Soon after, about 5 police came in and took him away. I decided to give the girls a bit of space. With a nose that big she needed it. We went to Karlovy Lazky the nightclub with 5 levels, then bed.

The next night we went to a small country town called Vlasim. Tom, a Czech hitchhiker I picked up in Croatia, invited us there to a punk concert he was organising. His girlfriend Stepha (who I also picked up) was in the first band. It was in a local hall that looks like the one we had in Werrimull. He was hoping for 150 people to break even but I estimate 50 showed up. We got quite drunk on 50p beers and I wiped myself out on a couple of shots of Absinthe. This made the possibility of fully digesting a Czech sausage virtually impossible. Simon got chatting to the locals. Referring to Simon’s shaved head this guy asked if he was a skinhead or a neo nazi. Simon told him he was nothing. This left him pondering on what the real truth must have been.

Then it was back to Prague before heading to Plzen (the home of Pilsner beers). Of course we thought we should try some out and went on a bit of a pub crawl playing darts, table football and pool. At 2am when it seemed the only obvious thing to do was to go home some uni students invited us back to their dorms for a party. With the promise of a party of about 150 people including some females we headed off down the road. What we found was one female and about a dozen nerdy computer heads half asleep watching Aliens. Over a few beers with them I;

1. Insulted their Skoda cars

2. Told them Czech is only famous for cheap beers

3. They had hot women here.

Apart from the car thing I think they should have been pretty happy and proud of our observations. After all what else do you need. But I think they were searching for a more deeper understanding of their culture.

I promised myself a few years ago I would never go to another McDonalds. However it’s just been too convenient, especially when you’ve missed breakfast and you’re heading along the freeway. But now I’m here in Dresden and I’ve got a stomach bug. I personally blame the McDonalds. My best evidence is I’ve developed the ability to make my own McFlurries.

I went to Dresden it's recovered well. I'm now in Berlin.


Email 9 – Travelling Trav safe in Stockwell (02/11/2005)

Hi all,

Well Simon and I felt we weren't doing enough touristy stuff. So we went on an open top bus around Berlin. We were stuck in the bottom for half the trip so we did a second lap up the top. I think the live commentator got a little annoyed when I kept stealing his punchlines. They were great ones too "Why are there so many windows in the treasury building? Because they throw out all the money." Who said the Germans don't have a sense of humour?

It was actually a pretty nice city. We found our kind of bar, with some cheap beers, some darts and some table football. A nice lady suggested we should go to a bar just around the corner that was pretty trendy. It is frequented by some fashion designer who we'd never heard of. Why she thought after looking at us we'd be better suited to that kind of bar I'll never know. But we went anyway. The transexual barperson was quite nice to us and under-charged us for our drinks. She/he must have had a costume manfunction because her boobs kept popping out. That's going into the memory bank for extreme emergencies only.

But the youth hostel we stayed at was a problem. It actually had youths in it. After a big night out you don't want to be arguing with drunk 15-17 year olds over which channel to watch.

We then went to Hamburg. No we didn't have a Hamburger.

Groningen in the Netherlands was our next stop. Very quaint. We found some more places to play darts and I bought some happy stuff.

The rest of the trip is a bit of a blur. We stayed up late, we drank, we slept in we had afternoon naps. A night out in Bruges, Belgium reminded me just how strong Belgian beer is.

I decided to ditch the rest of my happy stuff before heading back to Calais for the ferry back to Dover and on to London.

For the first time in the whole trip we'd got up early. We made it to the ferry terminal and they said "You're so early get on the next ferry", cool we thought. But the French customs officers had other ideas. After many late nights I was a bit bamboozled with their questions. I think we looked a bit dodgey as well (I now have a mullet). So they asked us to park to the side. I was joking a bit with Simon because we knew we had nothing to hide. (Boy was I glad that Nigerian guy wasn't in my boot). But our smiles soon turned to frowns when they put on the rubber gloves.

Just kidding about the gloves but there was a point when I was hoping if they did get the gloves on it would be the pretty young female officers. They have smaller hands you see.

The sniffer dog found some strange smell coming from the side pocket of my small backpack. Must have been my orange. :-)

Now I'm back safe and sound in Stockwell London. No innocent people have been shot by the police here for over 2 months so I feel pretty safe.

I have a couple of weeks in London then on to Hong Kong and China for 2 weeks. If I get around to sorting out a visa.

If anyone wants to buy a car please let me know.

Stats from the Trip around Europe

Driving Distance - 8,213 miles (or 13,140.8km)

Countries covered - 25

Hitchhikers picked up - 17

Hassles with Authorities - 8

Beers drunken - 1,278


No comments: