Very, very long read😊
I stopped writing my last travelblog upon arriving in Barcelona. On one end, things went fast after Barca, on the other hand, since Cecillia broke down on my way to France, it slowed down things dramatically. Add to that the wifi system in France, c’est la catastrophe!, and at parking lots overall and you get radio silence. Besides that, because Cecillia had a hard time driving and getting me home, there were a lot of hours/days where nothing happened except waiting.
Barca had one big advantage: beach showers! Read about them before I arrived and couldn’t be happier, showering on the beach is awesome, so the plan was to fix a parking space on the boulevard and stay there for a couple of days. Sounded good, however, wasn’t. It turns out there’re Eastern European gangs robbing cars. What they do is knock on the car, if someone reacts they walk on and come back later, if nobody reacts, they break it open and get just about everything that’s inside. Someone told me this when I was about to go to sleep. Of course I had Evi, she would bark for sure, but still you don’t really sleep when you know there’re robbers cruising the boulevard. I tried it for 1 night and decided to go to the truck stop just out of town for the coming night which turned out to be just fine.
It was time to leave Spain and visit Portugal. Because of the heat (I’ve been driving in heatwave Lucifer ever since the Czech Republic) it was best to drive at night and having to drive through mountains again, it’s was really nice and cool. Downside was I didn’t get to see anything of the country and that’s a real shame, cause both Spain and Portugal seem to be really beautiful.
Besides from the temperature it was the best thing I did where Cecillia was concerned. Lisbon is a city that’s build on a hill. The only flat roads are the one at the boulevard. I had found this very pretty village just outside Lisbon to sleep at for 2 nights. At the beach, shower again, no robbers, but couldn’t avoid the steep roads. This was the last thing Cecillia could take. Every time I hit the brakes, she turned off. This is kind of tricky but doable cause I could restart while driving, but in curves and on roundabouts it sucks. Best thing to do was drive as little as possible, so no more swimming pools for a shower and park around the corner of the esportsbar. Shower solution: buy a 6 ltr bottle of water, make holes in the cap, turn it upside down at the edge of the roof of the car, sit underneath it in your bikini. Preferably at a place where no one can see you. Unfortunately, I had to park in a street where people live, but the system works perfectly! Still ridiculously short haircut is a huge advantage now.
For the above reason, I left Portugal at night as well. As long as I don’t have to hit the brakes, there was still nothing serious happening while driving. Left Lisbon at 23h00 and within 5 minutes I met a traffic jam because of road maintenance. This is not surprising at all, but we made it and I could drive all the way to mid Spain on my way to the French border. Cecillia was seriously injured by now and the only way to get her home was to fill her up with cooling down liquid, drive for 2 hours, wait for 1, fill her up again and so on. We made it to San Sebastian that way. They fixed something, no idea what, but it didn’t work, so in the end, we took those 2 hour drives to Bordeaux, Calais, London, through Belgium and then Amsterdam. It turned out the clutch plate was completely wasted and the cooling system leaked. We’ve said our goodbyes to her yesterday, she was the best and strongest car ever! RIP Cecillia, my home for 3 months!
In the mean time in France, I was the main attraction for a voyeur. We were parked on a high way parking lot. It was dark when we arrived so I couldn’t really check it out, but there were campers, always a good sign, so no problemo. Talked to a group of 3 French men sitting there. They asked: will you sleep here tonight? Yes. Oh? OK! and that was it. Thought it strange, but with the campers, what could happen. A lot. It was a Route National parking lot, so not the Route du Soleil where all the holiday campers are. By the end of the night, I knew the difference. These campers are there for the working girls. Completely unaware of it, I undressed in my car, ready to go to sleep. I always smoke a cigarette before I sleep, but in the car, you need to open a door or be suffocated by the smoke. So I lay there, night gown on, still in Lucifer, so minimum night gown, get my cigarettes and keep the door open with my foot and a bit of leg sticking out. To my right, there’s a black car with a man going in and out. Maybe he needs a stretch, don’t know, but I kept my eye on him.
Curtains were closed and the 2 back windows are taped to keep the light out except for 1 peek hole I made. This man gets out of his car again and I listen to his footsteps. Only 4 and then silence. I keep listening, the silence gets spooky. I look through the peek hole and this man is standing there, right beside my head, looking at my leg. It scared the shit out of me! I quickly closed and locked the door, the man runs to his car and takes off real fast. Still not knowing I was on working girls territory, I checked if the camper before me was still there, it was, made me feel safe enough to stay and got some sleep even though there were lots of cars coming and going, doors slamming and girls laughing. The next morning, the owner of the camper, that was actually a normal person, explained what sort of parking lot I had slept on and that the man beside my car was probably a voyeur cause there’re a lot of them around. He wasn’t one of them he said.
On we went to Calais to take the car train to England. It never occurred to me I had to put my car in a train which would be locked down and going under water in a tunnel for 35 minutes. Once it dawned to me my claustrophobia hit me full force. Had a serious talk with myself, got Cecillia in and stayed under my blanket like an idiot the whole (short) ride. England was beautiful! I was really early so took a turn to the country side and had a proper English breakfast at the Hook & Hatchet near Hucking. The kitchen hadn’t opened yet, so Elly, the Hook & Hatchet dog sitter, kept me company until it did. Elly is great! She wants to be a police officer and I’m sure she’ll be very successful at it!
Nothing out of the ordinary happened in England, except I was a ghost rider on the highway twice. The second time a truck nearly hit me full front and that kind of sorted me out. By the time I was in London I had mastered the English way of driving. Driving in London with Cecillia that turns off every time you hit the brakes is hell. Lots of ridiculous speedbumps, really high and with sharp edges, they definitely get the job of slowing down done. Also, I got the police called on my car. I had arrived at the place I needed to be but was early, so sat in the car and got some work done on my laptop. Curtains not closed, windows open for the cigarette smoke. When the place opened, I got out of my car, laptop and stuff in backpack and walked away.
Half an hour later, there was police around my car. What had happened. The people of the street I was on had seen a foreign car and a person with a laptop, smoking cigs for at least 2 hours (correct). The had a look in my car when I was gone and saw a cable and some sort of machine under a blanket. 1 + 1 = 2, I was a potential terrorist, so they called the police. Thanks to my need of nicotine I saw them coming and ran to the car, just in time, they were about to break it open. Explained the stuff in the car, waived to the people that had reported me and all was solved.
After England, I thought I’d explore Normandy for a few days, however, Normandy has its own reasons for being nervous about strange cars with people sleeping in it, namely refugees. After the break up of the Jungle, the people who want to reach England are now scattered around the place. You see them walking alongside or on the highway, sleeping on the streets or just wondering about. It’s a sad but at the same time disturbing view. Of course they need to eat too and the only way to get food (and other stuff) is stealing it from either tourists or locals. Because of Cecillia’s state I had to stay in the Calais area, but after having been sent away from various parkinglots it was time to drive towards Amsterdam.
Driving up north, the weather changed quickly. Clouds, rain, things I hadn’t seen in over 2 months. Another thing changed as well, traffic. I had been such a civilized person all this time, but within 5 minutes after crossing the border, I had flipped my finger again and I needed to wash my mouth. The rudeness in Dutch traffic is striking. Having driven in 19 countries with of course annoying things too, I had forgotten about the Dutch Way, but it came back to my soon enough. Even in Zeeland, where I had decided to stay for 2 days to finish the roadtrip before going back to the fast life, driving gets you aggravated. However, I was going to my favorite little beach where you can find shark teeth and was relaxed again within minutes after arriving.
So relaxed I didn’t pay attention where I was parking that night. It was a Sunday evening and I was in a protestant village. This means the village is basically dead on Sundays cause they have to pray and read the bible. This also gives excellent opportunities to working girls looking for a parking lot since nobody in the village is outside. I had parked at the local soccer parking lot. All was nice and quiet, I wanted to go to sleep and the first car arrived. It parked and I saw a girl climbing on the person on the passenger seat. The windows became steamy, 15 min. later they left. Another car came. I saw a girl staying in her seat, yet bending leftwards. The windows became steamy, 10 min. later they left. Another car came. The bending leftwards was repeated, again 10 minutes. This went on for hours. Cecillia with curtains closed blended in perfectly. The people in the village were praying.
Thank you all the people I met for all the beautiful experiences. Thank you 2 hitchhikers in Lithuania for the fun ride. Thank you 2 hitchhikers in France for wanting to get out of the car after 10 minutes because I had my foot on the dashboard. Thank you car dude in France for sharing your life, I hope you can leave your past behind you. Thank you Europe for letting me learn life is the same anywhere you go. Thank you Ruben and Siep for letting me do this for 3 months, I missed you so much! Thank you Evi for protecting me and thank you Cecillia for bringing me home. Thank you life!