Edit Blog Post
Published: December 16th 2013
Finally we left Serbia behind with everyone present and no handcuffs used. What was supposed to be a short run to find a hotel just over the Hungarian border actually meant us driving a further 80 KM before checking in, feeding the mammoth and writing the blog. Exhausted beyond words we collapsed for the night.
Woolly says – breakfast was a quick affair but the berry filled croissants were so nice I stored several in Jo’s bag for later consumption, I’m sure she won’t notice the crumbs! With fog hanging very low in the sky we set Aussie James up with his instructions and Ollie roared into life and took off down the Hungarian roads. It was impossible to see much and even though Jo tried taking pictures there was no point, I did insist on a few of me with road signs but as nothing else was visible I had to be content with that. To pass the time I sang them some lovely Christmas songs but was told to button it very quickly which I think was very unfair. It sounded more like two cats having their tails pulled rather
than Hark the Herald Mammoth sings, the din was awful and rather than throw him out of Ollie and let him make his own way to the UK we had to be quite firm with him. He sulked and moaned for a while before dozing off until it was time for his next Mammoth snack. As Woolly was just finishing his elevenses we arrived at the border for Austria, he was so busy licking crumbs off himself he missed his photo opportunity for the entrance and we were already several kilometres into the country before he realised. Vignette firmly attached to Ollie we set off through our next country of the day.
Woolly says – hmmm elevenses are GOOD! It seemed that as soon as we crossed borders the sun came out and we could relive our time in Austria again, the incredibly pretty views were still there and even though the leaves were missing from the trees it was still a very beautiful sight. Passing churches and huge monasteries Jo snapped away as much as she could, the signs for Vienna approached and we remembered our time there in the summer. I still get confused as
to why the SPANNISH Riding school is in Vienna and not in Spain. By the time we had explained AGAIN that it is the breed of horse that is Spanish we were nearing the German border. As Ollie flew though we were greeted by the wonderful forests, not green and lush as we had first seen them but bare and naked with an eerie purple tinge to them, very strange but equally beautiful. The roads went on and the fog descended again which made our views limited.
Woolly says – We seemed to have been travelling for centuries as dusk approached and then darkness overwhelmed us. Spotting the signs for Nuremberg we decided to stop on the outskirts of this most famous city. Known for the trials held here in 1945 and 1946 where German officials involved in the Holocaust
and other war crimes were brought before an international tribunal in the Nuremberg Trials. Nuremberg was chosen as the site for the trials for specific reasons, one of which being that the city had been the location of the Nazi Party's Nuremberg rallies and the laws stripping Jews of their citizenship were passed there so
there was symbolic value in making it the place of Nazi demise. Hopefully we will visit here properly one day to appreciate their long history and spectacular buildings. But after a 900 KM drive I have to be content with a warm bed and a full tummy this time. Breakfast was the most amazing array of delights, while Woolly started on the cereal first, before moving onto the fresh fruit salad, testing the sausages, scrambled eggs and bacon he finished up with some croissants and yoghurt before we rolled him into Ollie dragging some more sausages and croissants behind him for later.
Woolly says – I did feel a little full but it would have been rude not to try everything wouldn’t it? I think they should have given me longer with the buffet, I’d need a full day to do it justice! With large pockets of fog to drive through I entertained myself with my favourite German game, bouncing up and down on the dashboard. Shouting FAHRT at every exit we passed. This has to be my favourite sign across Europe, I’ve never fahrted so much. Not sure we’d agree
with that! With us trying to ignore the Mammoth we flew through Germany, crossing the Rhine and catching glimpse of pretty villages.
Woolly says - without any warning we shot though the border and into the Netherlands, while Jo quickly tried to grab a shot of me. I spared a thought for those poor girls in Amsterdam with hardly any clothes. Should I pay them a visit and offer to share my scarf with them? I started to keep my eyes peeled for windmills but as fast as I had my vision trained on the fields we were out of Holland and into Belgium. STOP I cried, I haven’t seen anything yet. The kilometres carried on disappearing under Ollie’s tyres and when we realised that we were only 200 KM away from Calais a debate started. Should we go for it and head for the ferry or take an early stop and finish the journey tomorrow? FERRY I screamed. I knew that by arriving in the UK today it would be my fifth country of the day and therefore I would equal my Mammoth World Record set early in the year. No brainer, let’s go! Much as we tried to ignore Woolly it did make us think, we could be in the UK and at our destination by 7.30pm including the ferry time, though it would mean that Ian would have driven over 1000 KM in a day but it really was tempting.
Woolly says – DO IT, DO IT I passed the ball to Ian, since he had to drive it I felt he had to make the decision.
Woolly says – DO IT, DO IT, can I play with the ball? Several minutes passed and we sat in silence with our own thoughts before Ian said ‘let’s see how we go’. The flat fields of Belgium surrounded us and we started to see more and more Brit plates.
Woolly says – Brit’s were everywhere as we passed the French border in a blur of speed, only 40 KM to go to the ferry I started begging, pleading and offer up my last sausage to Ian in an attempt to get my five countries. I offered to let Ian play with my JCB when I get it
for Christmas and to share my pistachio nuts, I even offered him a promise of my silence for ten minutes if he would assist me in my challenge. I heard the two of them talking quietly and strained to listen and then to my delight Ollie was following the signs for the car ferry. With the decision made it all hinged on whether we could get on a ferry. Running into the terminal I found myself leaving with our ticket for the ship leaving in 45 minutes, someone was definitely smiling down on us.
Woolly says – as we showed our passports and were given our lane number I bounced up and down in excitement. We rolled onto the boat and patted our wonderful Ollie before going upstairs for a well-deserved coffee for Jo and Ian and a small snack for me. The crossing was only a little bumpy and by the time I had run round the decks twice and been banned from duty free we were climbing back into our trusty steed. So that’s equalled the record, can we set a new one? How far is Wales? I was told
to “button it!” With rain pouring down and cars back to back on the motorways we found ourselves with the road blocked due to an accident, as we crawled the last eleven miles our journey was nearly done. After six days of travel, over 3500 KM of roads and ten countries we were back!!!!! My record equaled and a lovely welcome waiting for us at Jo’s Aunt’ and Uncles we couldn’t ask for more. Time for a few days rest, I think I deserve it.
Tot: 1.307s; Tpl: 0.054s; cc: 16; qc: 40; dbt: 0.0227s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb