Europe – I’m coming, ready or not.

They say “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Well, I’ve no intention of walking that far but what I  can say is that “Every 4000 mile drive around the Baltic starts with a 109 mile drive along the A14”.

So, after all the waiting and planning and preparation, I’m actually on my way.

Below is a map showing a VERY rough idea of my proposed route, bear in mind this is from a guy who gets lost in big shops, but the basic plan is to take six weeks to travel through Holland, Germany, Poland, possibly Kaliningrad, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia (If I can get the correct visa) Finland, Sweden, Denmark and eventually back home via Germany and Holland.

These are the maps I’ve got, so navigation shouldn’t be a problem,

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They just might be a little  bit tricky to use while I’m driving

and just in case I forget which country comes next I’ve stuck a little Aide Mémoire on my van.

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I intend to wild camp most nights which will allow me to park up in the centre of any towns and cities I visit and use my bicycle to explore. To make the van slightly more discreet (and perhaps less interesting to thieves),  I’ve applied tinted film on the windows which prevents anyone seeing inside unless their nose is pressed against the glass. At night I can have the curtains drawn for complete privacy but as they won’t be visible from outside, the van should still look just like a dark, unoccupied vehicle.

 

 

Tinted window film on all the rear windows

Tinted window film on all the rear windows

and to further the illusion that it’s just a parked up and empty van, I’ve removed the front curtains and made three magnetic blackout curtains which I can hang at night, leaving the cab looking empty but allowing me plenty of room and privacy inside.

magnetic blackout curtains

magnetic blackout curtains

Another little modification I’ve done should save me having to clamber into the cab to use the cigar lighter on the dashboard. I have a feeling that with all the blogging and photography that (hopefully) will be going on, I’m going to be quite power-hungry so I’ve added a double USB  socket next to the rear seats. This will allow me to use the laptop, tablet and phone in comfort whilst they’re charging up.

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Handy dual USB socket next to the seat

In an attempt to head off mechanical disaster I’ve given the van a full service and I’ve stashed a few things like accelerator and clutch cables, spark plugs, coil, as well as an old, but serviceable distributor. Because these vans are so basic and old-fashioned I think I’ll be able to get hold of any other bits I need quite easily.

If the van goes terribly wrong I have a fall back source of expert help in the form of the very knowledgeable ladies and gents of a fantastic forum called “The Late Bay” which I can thoroughly recommend. Lots of the members have sent me their good wishes for the journey and inside this lovely card were some Euro’s for a nice Dutch beer.

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This post comes to you courtesy of the free wifi onboard StenaLine Britannica.

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14 thoughts on “Europe – I’m coming, ready or not.

  1. Hope Stenaline Brittanica is treating you well! I woke up this morning disappointed because you hadn’t put a new post up for me to read so I was glad to see this! Enjoy. Missing you already x

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    1. So far they’ve had an electrical failure and had to shut two engines down to fix it, then they’ve just announced that none of the toilets are working.
      I won’t be posting every day, just when I’ve got some nice pics.

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      1. With all this hot weather I’d normally of had the air con blasting permanently in my car but now I use the Robowagen as my car I prefer to just crank the windows down like we used to in the bay!

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