17.01.2010 - 17.01.2010 42 °C
I must confess to being a little apprehensive at the journey we are about to undertake. In April 2010, both Anna and I will be taking off on a trip whose endpoint is unknown; we have no idea how long we’ll be away or where we’ll end up. It’s both extremely thrilling and terrifying. Thrilling because we will be travelling all over Europe (hey, what’s not to be thrilled about?), and terrifying because being in my fifties I have less naked courage than I had in my twenties.
I’ve never travelled with anyone before (well not to this extent anyway), and I must say that I’m looking forward to that part of it. Too many times in the past I’ve travelled alone, only to discover that the fabulous sites and unforgettable moments would have been better shared with someone. There’s a wonderful sense of freedom being on your own, but on the occasions when you just don’t have the energy to sight-see, your travelling companion is often the best person to get you off your arse and moving. This is almost always a good thing.
OK, here’s the plan so far. We fly to London, and pick up a hire car as soon as we arrive. I think we should give ourselves one good night’s sleep after the long-haul flight; so a stay at a Heathrow Airport hotel may be the way to go. That should give us some energy, as the following few days may be a little fraught.
The first task will be to buy a motor home. This has been a never-ending source of anxiety for me as to date I’m unsure how to go about it. Do we buy from a dealer or off eBay? Do we get a diesel or petrol model? Left-hand or right-hand drive? The questions are endless. Thankfully money should not be an issue as buying Euros or Pounds with the Aussie dollar at the moment is very cheap.
Once we have the vehicle, we have to look at insurances, registrations and whatever other administrative minutiae we find lurking under the bureaucratic stones. Decking out the vehicle will be necessary too – sheets, blankets, cookware and food.
Let’s assume we have completed all pre-flight checks. Before heading on to the continent, a couple of weeks driving around England may not be a bad idea. It will give us a chance to familiarize ourselves with the motor home, as well as being near to English-speaking services in case of breakdown (nervous as well as vehicle).
Our first destination abroad will be France. As much as I’d like to go under the Channel on a Eurostar train, it’ll have to wait – not sure the motor home will fit in my backpack!
Planning ahead is going to be a bit tricky from here on in, as a number of variables come into play. Anna’s working on her visa status; being Australian she's envious of my European passport. I must confess that it's a massive relief for me; I can live and work in any EU country.
I know that July and August are nightmare months for touring in France, as the whole bloody country shuts down and goes on holiday. Campsites charge like wounded bulls as they all try to cash in on the frantic comings and goings of the yearly vacationers. For this reason, I think May and June we will be in France; then we’ll head into Holland or Germany during the hot summer months. About September, we may head south again as far as Italy; then as winter approaches drive west into Spain and Portugal. I must say the idea of a ‘traditional’ British Christmas in Gibraltar sounds fabulous!