So we bought some brake fluid, after coming off the boat at 7.30am, which didn’t work at all, and a policeman showed us to a garage who could maybe fix our brakes. The garage guy muttered something like 'sheizer' in German and shook his head and sent us on our way. And strangely the policeman, who knew we had no brakes, smiled nervously and wished us a safe journey on the ‘no speed limit’ autobahn.
|The middle of Sweden, the other day|
This is probably the most dangerous part of the trip, as Latvian juggernauts roar down on us on the autobahn. I already had to pull quickly into the hard shoulder as a vodka riddled slav blasted his horn because he was about to ram us and couldn’t slow down in time.
We’re crawling along now though and sadly have to miss breakfast with my pal in Hamburg, since we’ll be struggling to catch the ferry checkin at Amsterdam at 4pm.
About 11.20pm 80km from Bremen, something pops and we have to go onto the hard shoulder for real. It’s the axle wheel bearing. Luckily there’s a service station a mile up the road so we limp in there and the guy suggests to us the ‘yellow angels’. On the phone the angel says its free for him to come out (strange?) But anyway, I’m waiting for them as I write this, with 4 and a half hours to get to Amsterdam for checkin.
…..And its gone….The German ‘Yellow Angels are towing us to a garage in Oldenberg, as its probably too dangerous to go on with the wheel bearing broken as it is. We’re going to try to blag it for free here, as my brother is a member of Green Flag, so lets see how it goes. If they can fix it today, we can change the ferry time and have the weekend in Amsterdam. If not…well….lets see what Oldenburg is like at the weekend….!
|Birthplace of The Hoff|
|The end of the road...Scheesel, a small village in Germany|
Some time later......
These ‘angels’ towed us to a rip off garage in Rotenburg, who are connected to them. 320 Euros later (Green Flag didn’t bother answering the phone and our membership of the local place didn’t cover transit plates, they say)
Rather than get fleeced for 500 Euros for a 50 Euro fixing job, we went to the normal locals garage across the road, who had the parts we needed, but after 2 hours decided that the van was too rusty to put on their ramp so just gave us the parts and sent us on our way to find another place in Bremen, which hopefully will make our van roadworthy. They kindly gave us the exact wrong directions however, and our wheel bearing finally snapped off (luckily) outside a garage in a small village somewhere not near Bremen at all.
And so it sits there to this day, full of furniture, and with a wheel half hanging off, until Monday, when I’ll rent a van to take the furniture to storage and scrap the van.
The lesson of this, dear friends is – Don’t expect a 600 Euro van to get you 1000km a day for 3 days solid. This is not big and not clever. That being said, we had a great adventure, now I get to stay in Hamburg for a few days (which has a whole load of Caspar David Fredriech paintings on show, I can't wait!) Also i found out last night that old ladies do striptease in the Reiperbahn but more of that later....