Hi everybody sorry for our lack of communication but that is how we are – internet poor!
It has been an amazing trip to date with so many fantastic people and so many humbling experiences. This email will not make sense to everybody and only a few place names are added, but I hope many will remember us and that this email brings back some memories. So to bring you up to date with where we are and how we arrived… here goes.
Elayne has really put up with some ruff and rugged weather as we decided to head north from our warm and sandy expedition around Morocco and the atlas ranges. The sandy Sahara was just the place for the buggy with endless dunes and sand so very soft it was also difficult in some places. Anyway some of you had a few emails with our sandy experiences so I will not go on to much.
We left our Euro base …..dear KATONAS thank you so much for your help and with the buggy parts plus Adams registration, with great cheese & wine we had a just an all round great time we will not forget it and look forward to catching up with you both on that Chita road heading to Oz. Leaving is always tough and it was not long before the weather started to get wetter and colder.
Leaving North France into Belgium, Antwerp and then onto Holland, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Zealand, Texel and Amsterdam which we enjoyed very much… I still cannot believe how much this tiny country has done to keep the water out and so very neat. I could go on and on about each destination but it would bore the pants of you all so hope just a few comments will not be so bad. The next highlight was to catch up with Adam (our eldest son) in Hamburg…. I am still amazed how he drove from Switzerland to Hamburg in the little white Citroen van in 7hrs with the oil light flashing on 40kms from Hamburg the engine nearly expired! Then onto our friends in Holstien, Oldenburg. Alex, Gellie and the boys plus Thomas, thanks for all your mad help and having friends like you guy’s who just happen to own their own hotel! Well its a travellers dream come true, we still have your camp stove shield that you built Thomas, working just fine and the pot holder from Alex! We had a great time and miss you all and hope we can see you in Oz.
Well onto Denmark, Odense, Kobenhavn and Sweden, Malmo and Kariskrona, we are just trying to hold onto our meagre funds it really is not the cheapest of travel destination. Those who have ventured here will understand but non the less it is picture perfect stuff with beautifully painted wooden homes with there own jetties a yachties paradise. We decided to head to Poland, Gdynia so left Adam and Quinn to head clockwise around Scandinavia as we will travel anti-clockwise, so hope to meet up with them somewhere. Poland on the ferry was about a 10hr crossing the Baltic sea which was so flat, and to imagine this froze and people could drive over to Poland just hard to think about it. Poland was just a big contrast to Sweden yes the roads are back to the 1950’s with large holes and suicidal drivers with smiling faces. The buggy succumb to its first major breakdown well it did not stop running, but we had a schedule oil change only to find the rear oil seal had collapsed and grease everywhere. The garage in Olsztyn was so kind and the let us sleep outside after we spent all day changing bearings and seals especially when I could not remove the bearings from the axle shaft with ease most frustrating!! Anyway all fixed and off, through the lakes Elk Augustow onto Kaunas in Lithuania a very small country with lots of small farms still reminding you of past soviet occupation many still working with animal power but large tractors from rich European farmers are working the land and investing their time with lots of forest spanning out. The hill of crosses was impressive and worth the visit at 12k’s north of Siauliai. Onto Latvia to the very beautiful city of Riga a most charming city a maze of narrow medieval streets Gothic spires a great place of architectural wonders. The centre of geographical Europe is a small quirky place 540 54′ North 250 19′ East but could not extract an answer to my question how they come to this conclusion even the young lady at the desk could not explain we can only assume by including the Canary Island you can come up with this place??? Lots of flags and a Euro grant not to many visitors we gather hummmm.
Onto Estonia even smaller than Latvia and one blink and you are through it! We made friends with Marko and Isabel Fritsche who were on old BMW G80’s and camped with them. Lots of fun and hope you guy’s are well and catch up soon. We decided to ferry hop to the island of Saaremaa and got mixed up with some MAD Finns who were a bunch of corporate mad men on a weeks go fast motorcyclists trip! Every speed machine you can imagine including some 200mph trike. I was quickly embarrassed by them as our adventure was an inspiration to them all and I was offered a job in sales or marketing but graciously declined. I managed to ride some interesting bikes but could not pass the triumph 900cc scrambler lots of fun THANKS Peter and Trond for taking us around your head quarters in Helsinki F-Scure was something out of a Bond movie did not think this technology existed!?!? Will explain to all in our book (or George Orwell 1984) hahahahah.
Catching up with Adam (our eldest son) in Estonia was great and much to my amazement the little white Citroen van which I had purchased for him and Quinn had made it. Thank you John and Janice Nichols for your kind offer and hospitality in Tallinn it was great we hope you are all well. Well leaving Hesinki up through Finland the weather was getting colder and colde , we had some great days fishing in fantastic lakes and so many of them 187000 in fact, yes no water problem here!! The Finns are a mad hard bunch but you cannot help falling in love with all of them. Just one of those chance stops and we meet up with a Wolfgang and Jadwiga Korte what fantastic people just a pleasure to be with them we had a fantastic time fishing with a gentleman fisherman. I could not help but absorbing all that fishing knowledge you had to offer such a great experience …and to catch my first Char in a remote lake in Norway with you will always be a perfect memory. Also those crabs ……yes the biggest crabs in the world and they taste so good I will not forget us trying to empty our crab net all 25 crammed in, I am so glad they are a pest as they are the best eating crabs we have ever had! Thank you INGO HOPPE for your rubber Zodiac without it we would have had a big problem getting those crabs! It was a pleasure to meet you all, with us squeezed into Wolfgangs caravan laughing until we could not laugh anymore. Thank you Jadwiga for all you love and kindness please keep in touch. Yes Norway is a most wonderful place the farther North you go the more interesting the scenery gets and more moon like and wild! With all those fjords and endless open wildernesses a must to visit.
We meet Roger & Hilja Bjerk, Robert and Bee who opened up their wonderful restored 4 level wooden home just next to some of the most beautiful vistas you can imagine! With brown cheeses and raw salmon, Sea trout, Lake Trout, Char, Artic Char, Reindeer meat and so on and so on a gourmet feast for days that Mid-summer night Elayne and I will always remember. (with me having an attack of server cramp in both legs and falling out of bed in agony!!!!)
Thank you all for so much fun & hospitality you showed us. The buggy (Victor) has made our trip and you cannot imagine what the difference this car has made to our lives, everywhere we go it is so humbling the reaction we get the cheers and waves are a constant theme to our travels. The pictures taken by others of this car runs into the thousands with so many people asking where we can buy one and Australians are so lucky they can drive home made cars on the road???!!! It is a question we will continually ask, why not indeed???
I hope this brings some of you along on our trip and 65000km later we are still going fingers crossed
Love to you all great memories keep in touch and as to the most asked question we have to answer….”What was the worst part about travelling?”…I reply…”Never getting to meet again the most wonderful people in the world!”
Chris & Elayne xxx