Published: April 9th 2012March 30th 2012
Will I need a reverse polarity tester? Do I have to have a breathalyser kit in France? How much is vignette for Slovenia? Will the dog get attacked by procession caterpillars in Southern France?
In 1969 I hitch hiked from Calais to the Hague via the west coast of France, I remember sitting at the side of the road rolling a ciggie waiting for a lift with not a care in the world. I had a rucksac, a hand full of french francs and a sleeping bag. On two occasions on that trip I was picked up by the police for sleeping in a public area, they put me in a cell left the door open wished me "bon nuit" and gave me a coffee in the morning and sent me on my way. If the travel forums are to be believed I can be arrested now for having a speed camera warning system on my sat nav even if it's switched off and in the boot of the car. Even the dog has a passport and needs a chip! I think he would have been served with chips in the past!
In the conservatory in sunny Swindon we are planning the the grand tour of Europe The dog is lying on the sofa unaware that he is to be educated in how to be a good European over the next six weeks. We consider it part of our parental responsibility to show him the world so he will not be a home town small minded hooch. He will experiencethe the customs of our European neighbours and learn about tolerance of other cultures. He will see the history of how this great union came about. He will find out why the French shrug and why the Italians talk with their hands.
How much has it changed since my hippy hitch hiking times, if the amount of preparation is an indicator then a lot!