Position: 50° 54′ 46″ north, 1° 50′ 50″ east
Distance from Sydney: 17,534km
So it’s Monday July 2nd, which means we should be crossing the channel on the way to France. And the good news is that we are, I’m writing this abord the Dover to Dunkirk ferry oui oui!
I have to admit the day started not so promisingly. At 8:30am this morning I was sitting in Volkswagen while they re-joined the exhaust pipes to the engine. Last week, while they had replaced the drive shaft, they had not quite reinstalled the exhaust system, leaving Magda sounding like she’d had a few big nights out at karaoke. That she didn’t sound like a Panzer tank is anyone’s guess, but luckily I spotted the gap, and VW had the missing piece installed in minutes, and she’s been purring like a diesel fueled kitten ever since.
Over the last week and a half the final preparations have come together well, along with babysitting newphew assignments, and trying to keep up with English drinking habits (it’s us who should sound hoarse, not Magda). Last Saturday I travelled north to Boston to collect the roof top tent. Despite the planning I had done for fixing the tent to the roof racks, I was very thankful to Colin who was selling it, as we spent several hours machining bolts and enlarging screw holes to fasten to the roof. Colin and his wife were patient and lovely, and even called that evening to make sure the tent and I had made it back to London in one piece (such confidence in my amazing roof tent mounting system!
As we’ve gone about the preparations, the reactions we get continue to entertain. The most common is a raised eyebrow, through to a confused “what would you wanna do a thing like that for?” from the Volkwagen service manager. When I replied “why not?” he sounded less than convinced.
Meanwhile Andres arrived from Mexico, loaded with tequila, and it’s safe to say that it’s all been drunk already. I think Andres’ approach to jet lag is not to change time zone at all, and the combination of that, along with Friday and Saturday nights mean that today, on day 1 of the travel, I already feel like I could sleep for a week.
So where are we headed now? We decided Paris on the weekend, so Paris it is! In Euro backpacker tradition, we are staying with a friend of a friend of Andres, in the 11 arrondissiment. After my brother and sister in law spent half an hour trying to convince me that there would barely be a bolt left on the car after one night on the continent, I made a concession to security this morning and purchased some security wheel nuts.
A sneak peak of google street view of the area of Paris we are heading provided a vision of streets packed bumper to bumper with teeny euro hatches, and I’m a little uneasy that parking Magda is going to be like parking a whale in there. All part of the adventure….
But for now we are off and away. And if we weren’t so tired we’d be dancing around the ferry.