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Friday, 27 July 2012

Stupid Things You Shouldn't do no. 322 - Driving from Tallinn - Glasgow in 3 days with a Transit Van Full of Furniture

People say alcohol fuddles your brain. I say curry does. It was over a curry last week my brother decided that, since his wife is about to have a second child, his days of getting anywhere further than 20km from our home are going to be limited for the next 15 years.

And so he suggested we fly to Tallinn, buy a cheap van, and drive it back to Scotland full of the furniture I’ve had in storage there for the last 4 years.

Well I considered this. High chance of breakdown/robbery? Low chance of success? Dangerous adventure with death by car pile-up possible? Of course I’m in ! So here is what happened (or actually, as I write this...what is happening....)

DISCLAIMER – Anything illegal/shady described below is 100% fictional and any mention of real people are totally coincidental- really, it wasn't them.

Day 1

So I came a day early and rented a car in my brothers name with his credit card, no problem, and picked him up at Tallinn airport. Nice! There is a great advantage in not signing your credit cards after all.

After some lunch we went through all the various vans for sale under 1500 Euros, in Tallinn, which totalled….2, and balanced the pros and cons.

Of course no one spoke English, so luckily Karin,  our intrepid Viking friend who speaks Estonian arrived from Valhalla (or at least Helsinki) to help. Finally, after some conversations purely in Estonian, we went to view them all.

The first van was 500 Euros, rusted to hell, and tiny. Most likely wouldn’t get us out of the parking lot. So, thinking he didn't speak english told him our thoughts on that and quickly left the scene.

The second looked most promising – High enough to fit in my grand piano and, like most of my girlfriends, only 18 years old. The photos looked good, but we only had this day, and there were no other choices nearer than Rakvere so, although since it was way out in Rapla (40mins away) we’d pretty much have to take it. As we called for directions, the owner broke the news that the doors didn’t lock, and it hadn’t been used for a while. Oh, and the speedo and all the dials didn’t work. Ok, we thought, lets see it anyway, and get them to reduce the price. An hour later, we also found the seats didn’t move, the oil was leaking badly and it would struggle to take us on any voyage, never mind an epic one across Europe.  So what to do? Well since our choices were limited and we were leaving the next day (ideally with a roadworthy van full of stuff)  so we offered 600 (half the asking price)  and they flatly turned us down, still wanting 1000 Euros for a deathtrap of a van which barely worked. Rollnock (Estonian Redneck) negotiation, great.

We decided to remove to the famous Rapla pub (by the way, gents, Rapla is a small town famous for having the highest number of women to men in Estonia, which is the country in the world with the highest woman to man ratio in the world, so if you're pretty ugly and are struggling to get a girlfriend, this is probably the place you want to be.)

Anyway, we went back to the internet, had some soup, and lo and behold….a new advert had appeared. An angel from heaven – 600 Euros, Ford Transit Van, a lovely lithe 22 years old….amazing. Going to view it, now at 10pm, of course the seller spoke no English, so Karin was able to ascertain that the doors didn’t work (a common issue with 600 euro vans) the brakes are at best iffy, and that he wasn’t actually the owner. The owner was some random drunk old guy on the other side of the city. Who couldn't be contacted.
My new 22 year old love, warts and all. And my little brother.

Given zero other choices, we made the deal, signed over some docs, that had the old drunks signature on them, and drove off in a rusty old deathbucket, ready to rumble....all the 3000km way to Glasgow!!

Tomorrow we’re going to have to register it in our name if we can, buy insurance, and get roadside recovery in the 100% guaranteed event that it breaks down. We also have to work a way to get to Scotland within 3 days otherwise my brother will be beaten up by his wife.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, well... at least it was an adventure :)
    I still think your van looks like this cute thing: