Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The final curtain

The curtain call - simple task today was to get rid of the car. This turned out to be amazingly easy and came at exactly the right time as when we pulled into the yard the front right time had gone flat and something had exploded and water was pouring out underneath the car. I feel the car has now reached it rightful final resting place. After we left the was time for some sightseeing in Venice and snaffle some pizza and go on a water taxi. This brings me to now.  I have had an amzaing few days and seen some amazing things (flying cows spring to mind) and it has been one amazing stag do. I would personally like to thank Ed and Charlie for putting up with and joining me me in ecto-1 and to team oddjob and guy, shove, gregor and matt investing time and money to come away and experience an adventure. Thank you all very much. I now just need to get home and hopefully michelle is waitng for us a gatwick fingers crossed.

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Dude, where's my car?

Footman on the blogspot- can't remember the last time I blogged but he goes with an update. Currently sat on a plane that is late (easyjet no surprise) having succesfully completed our rally. The night in Locarno was a fairly thirsty affair with several members of group experiencing issues with head in the morning after the long night out. Video footage has appeared via other teams of some the antics that were going on. One such video depicts spencer picking me up and dispatching me in a rubbish bin although memories as sketchy at best so it still could possibly be actors posing as us.. Come the close of play at 2.00 am the group had descended into a shambles although still having fun and one by one made it home. I thought it was the perfect time that I would share some final thoughts with michelle by telling her I love her. Unfortunately there was a technical issue in that I couldn't spell or operate the SMS as Ed found when he recieced a message from me at 2.30am . The next day was the last leg and the drive to Venice. As Ed hadn't driven the day before he was first up and last up as myself and Charlie were   definately not road worthy. On the way we decided on a trip to lake Como and go for a dip in the lake. All very refreshing and washed away the cobwebs. This then was followed by some civilised rissotto up the side of hr mountain via a fanicula - sorry for spelling (steep train that goes up). All going well until we returned to car. Well the problem was we couldn't return it because it wasn't where we left it. As we soon found out it had been moved by the authorities as we asked a waitress in a bar opposite have you seen a ghostbusters car recently. She confirmed it had been towed away. The reason being a slightly laisez faire piece of parking not in a designated space. Anyway suddenenly realising the problem ahead, there was no note left, or any numbers any where to call  and our combined italian language skills of a hippo we were now set the challenge of finding ecto-1. Mercifully the people working in the bar took pity and made a few phonecalls for us and got an address of the local pound.  Another phonecall and a taxi was on it's way. We colleceted the car and had to depart with a 125 euros. Then weirdly the Italian police the turn up and come and take their share (38 euros). All in it wasn't bad and could have been a lot worse and at the same time we all did some how find it rather ammusing and we met the smoothest taxi driver ever who had careless whisper as a ringtone on his phone - brilliant.  With the car back with it rightful owners and another brush with a European law enforcement agency taken care of we were back on our way. We also nearly had a third brush as Ed making up for a little lost time shot past an Italian patrol car on the motorway.  However they did not bat an eyelid. It was a shame that there liberal attitude to speed isnt reciprocated in their attitude to parking. In fairness though me a and Charlie were both asleep so the spotters weren't really doing the their job.
Having a arrived tired we prepared for a night out and I was provided with what only can be described a attire that would only be worn by a stag. Thankfully it did not involve over exposed body parts. Photos will appear I am sure.  A good night followed in a bar where they free pour sambucas and give you triples instead of sinlgles. I am just not sure they know what they are doing and sure enough we were the last to leave as everyone else had gone home. A fitting end. When back at the hotel the whiskey cupboard in reception was getting seriously eyed up by gregor however fortunaltely remained shut

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Sunday, 25 July 2010

Cow Rustling and mountain Passing...

There are, in my opinion, few funnier things you can see in this world
than a cow getting winched into the air by a helicopter! And as luck
would have it we got to see just that yesterday morning at the
starting point for the day! The initial hilarity, which caused us to
pull Ecto to one side and watch in wonderment, soon gave way to a more
serious mood though when us along with fellow Crumballers realised
that we might actually be witnessing some audacious Swiss Cow rustling
taking place... Is that the reason that Swiss cows wear them bells?
Probably not, but I'm starting that rumour off anyway.
It was a rainy, cloudy morning in Thun yesterday which meant that I
had to miss out on the promised cable car ride up into the misty tops,
a shame for some but a huge relief for me who managed to delay the
unavoidable involuntary bowel movements which are my standard reaction
to being 5 foot off the ground!

My relief was short lived however, as straight after lunch in
Interlakken with the whole crew we set off towards locarno, whic
involved some serious corner work along two mountain passes with sheer
1000 foot drops into a canyon only a fence away from the Ecto and Matt
at the wheel giggling along the way. The brakes were stinking and the
engine got seriously thirsty (6 litres in quick time) while I had to
spend most of the journey lying down in the back seat so that I
couldn't see the drop on our right hand side - great. Apparently the
views were gorgeous I really have no idea!

Anyway, there's a few more things to add to this blog before we finish
with Italy tomorrow including another brush with foreign officialdom
in Italy where we got relieved of 165 Euros to drive away! We'll
update you with more on that a bit later. Cheers, Ed

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, 23 July 2010

Thun! It's a beaut...

Fellow Crumballers?

Reflections on the trials and tribulations of trans-European travel

So, day 1 successfully negotiated, no diplomatic incidents caused (a narrow pass in this category) and a thousand kilometres under the belt. It's amazing that over the half the driving distance has been covered and yet Thundercrawl 2010 is barely under way.

Your scribes have a fair bit of experience with this driving across Europe lark and it seems like a good time to get all educational on your asses, so let's share some tips on driving across Europe.

1) Google use a Space Shuttle to time their routes - allow yourself more. We've seen this on a number of occasions; I've been promised London-Pyrenees inside 12 hours before and I can tell you as FACT that if you a) urinate and b) drive a car that needs petrol, it takes the best part of 24. Even with rotating drivers.

We just about made the Google time for Berlin-Krakow by virtue of the fact that our chariot could happily maintain 110mph in the face of roads like washboards. If any attention had been paid to the law it would have been at least an extra two hours.

Today Google said 8 hours Boulogne-Thun and we stopped 3 times, for a total of about an hour. Time taken: pretty much 12 hours. Lesson: reality will kick in somewhere and it will take ages.

2) A positive, helpful attitude is paramount. This is perhaps the most important thing to remember for long distance driving journeys, not just for dealing with each other but for dealing with others too.

I'm pretty sure we were staring down the barrel of a heavy fine today when stopped by the gendarmerie but with some politeness, acquiescence and good humour we were able to drive away from two potential French road traffic violations without so much as a slapped wrist.

We also haven't killed each other after many similar trips.

3) It's only people from the UK that do this kind of shit. Try explaining to most people in the UK that you're driving across Europe for "a laugh" and they look confused and say you're mental. Try explaining it to anyone in Europe (France especially) and they literally can't get their heads around it.

So assume that all of our continental cousins think you're an idiot and it will help you to understand where they're coming from when you inevitably annoy/ upset/ confuse them.

Right, there's a beer in front of me and food due any second so I'll sign off here. Hopefully this post has elevated our blog into the "Serious Travel Information" arena - look out for the next instalment on Expedia.


Greetings footman on the blog. I have just finished the first rally driving stint and unsurprisingly it was eventful. The main talking point being an impromptu meeting with the gendames with all 3 of us in full ghostbusters attire. Apparently I was tugged by the gendames for speeding and got the mandatory breathalised follow up. All clear I might add. As for speeding I Talked my way out of it and asked had they seen ghostbusters. There seemed to be mutual admiration for the 80's film classic. One question that was asked was what is "crumball rally?" I find it difficult to explain in English without people thinking I have a screw loose let alone to a French policeman in tight. Trousers and knee high boots.  Conceptually he weren't getting it. I diverted him by telling him the car cost  200 euros which I am not sure if that made him happier with the situation. I also mentioned I was getting married but refrained from trying to explain what a stag do was as. That would have possibly ended with me doing an impression is a stag using pointed fingers as horns and probably a trip in the paddy wagon as he thought I might be delirious. After speeding and breathalising was cleared up I also got told that driving at 82mph with a flashing Amber light is not allowed. In fairness they were quite nice and just gave me friendly advice but I am glad I had all the paperwork with me. The whole situation came about as Apparently we got grassed up to the gendames who were told by someone I was driving a bit to fast. We actually passed them a few miles previoss and nothing happened. I would love to have heard that converation, so yes what is the description of the car that is driving fast?.....  Personally I think there reasons for pulling us over were false and they just wanted to look at and admire the ectomobile close up. Footman over and out.

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