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Saturday, 28 July 2012

Driving from Tallinn-Glasgow (part 2)

Day 2

So since the registration etc is a bit dodgy, and we plan to leave the country never to return today, we opt for the ‘transit plates’. The vans engine is sound but basically nothing else. We need to leave the passenger window open in order to get in and and out, otherwise we have a flex tied to a chain connected to the passenger door that you open from the back door of the van.

After getting all the papers right (surprisingly, the sale docs related to the drunk were correct and not a scam), my friend gets us a good deal on the 6pm ferry to Stockholm (missing out all the dodgy countries like Latvia, Lithuania and Poland where a van full of junk and no locks will deffinately be stolen.) We race to put roadworthy tyres on the van, and try in vain to get someone to fix the brakes , then fill the van up with my worldly belongings and make it just in time to the boat for check-in. Also spending nights on boats helps on the security front.

The boat is fine. Of course the wifi doesn’t work so we can’t book our onward ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle (that’s the plan at least) but maybe we won’t make it alive so we’re saving money this way.

The plan is to hook up with some friends in Lund, Sweden and Hamburg, Germany that I haven’t seen for a while, so we have a motivation to not crash (having no brakes is not really a recipe for not crashing mind you, but if you put your foot right to the floor they do slow you down a bit at least)

I can say I’m absolutely exhausted after todays efforts, but bravo and thanks for the help, Andrew and Karin so far….

Our door opening 'system'

Day 3

Our plan initially was to drive to Hamburg, but then after some time we realized that since we can’t go faster than 80km an hour, so wouldn’t get there until 4am. So now we’ll drive to Lund and meet Frida for dinner, and get the 10pm boat to somewhere beside Lubeck, which is beside Hamburg, which is beside my other friend Kristin, who we can hopefully see tomorrow instead of waking her up at 4am.

The brake issue is more prevalent in the cities but luckily we’re on a motorway and we’re the slowest vehicle in town, so no one is in front of us. It’s entirely possible our brakes not working will be quite ok for today. The other good thing is that if we get this boat (its not guaranteed at all as we don’t have a ticket) we miss out all of Denmark. It’s not that I don’t like Denmark. I have some good pals in Copenhagen, and an ex who I think probably still hates me after I locked her out of the house once.

We’ll also miss out Lolland, which actually would be interesting to drive through. I was there about 18 years ago to see a girl I met in Spain. What a place (Nakskov) basically there is nothing to do except get drunk and sleep around, so everyone in the whole town seems to have children with everyone else. Also I believe they have a lot of pig farms. Great. Anyway Sanne Poulsen from all those years ago, I hope you got out of there and did something better with your life.

Actually what happened is that we were so slow, we couldn’t stop for dinner (sorry Frida) and barely made the boat. Towards the end of the day our brakes stop working 100% so we used the reverse gear for brakes. (Actually we only worked this out after I careered into the air pump in a petrol station forecourt)

The options now are really to either arrange some kind of emergency pickup service, or fix the van.

Fortunately there is a great sauna on the boat (and even a cinema!) and a distinct lack of cheesiness that you get on the Tallinn-Stockholm Kareoke-fest.

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