Renee bought me this diary for "Los Reyes", the 6th January. A day more important in Spain than Christmas day for gifts. This is the day the three wise men came to baby Jesus with gifts.
Hopefully I will fill it with news and stories on the trip. Only time will tell. My plan is to keep records as well as perceptions in it.
Trip preparation under way ………………
24th April 1999
|Co-ords||Centre of Madrid|
Has it really begun? Well we did the first 15km today from our home to that of Patrick Dravet. We packed the car completely, which included putting on the roof rack and everything that goes on it. I asked Salavador to come and help me because you need tall people to put the roof rack on. Marisa came along too and we drove the first, very, very small, part of our journey. The car will stay at Patrick’s place now until Wednesday. Our garage is just too low to keep it all in.
So the good-byes began a few weeks ago and Friday Renee and I went
for lunch with the people from work. Great fun. They wrote me a poem, which
played on my bad Spanish, but it was very nice of them. This evening we
had our last dinner at Gino’s and a coffee and tiramisu at Jamaica’s Coffee
shop. Hell I’m going miss this, no need to worry about walking around at
night, no need for the car and now, after three years, we are making good
friends. Who knows what the future holds, maybe we return one day, maybe
Anyway one adventure ends, another begins.
28th April 1999
|Co-ords||N 40 24 15.21
W 3 49 12.7
|Fuel||47.52 L 39 469.4km
53.25 L 39 968.5km
The first day is over and Renee is up to her neck in bubbles. The drive went OK, took a bit longer than we had anticipated but no rush I suppose. We found the hotel we were booked at with no problems. I am just feeling very stressed right now though, so when Renee vacates the bath that’s where I am going.
We spent the last two nights at friends’ houses while our stuff was being packed. The movers did a good job and hopefully all arrives in South Africa OK. We spent Monday with Salvador and Marisa in their new house which is really nice. Salva had hurt his knee playing football so instead of a walk around the "pueblo" we drove. Tuesday night we stayed with Patrick and Blanca, where the car was parked. The kids had been sent to bed with no supper as they had declared themselves on strike.
We woke to rain, a day that reminded me of my first visit to Europe as an adult. Grey, over cast, and when not raining, drizzling. We packed the last few items into the car and set off at about 11am. We went to the first garage to fill up and check tyre pressure and off we go. Two minutes later we were on the roof investigating noises.
We finally left Madrid at about 12 midday and Renee took over the driving at 12:30. The car went well, we could still feel the shudder from the front at 120km/h but decided that after Europe we may not get much opportunity to 120 again, so forgot it. This maybe a downfall later on.
We had a "menu del dia" near Zarragoza and got to Sue D’Urgell at about 7pm. So where’s the stress coming from? Well there is no safe parking we can fit into to. And just when I had found a place I thought was fine the "Guardia Civil" came to us and asked if we were going to leave the stuff on top. They shook their heads when we said yes indicating that it was a bad idea. HELL. So we took it all off and stuffed it into the car. I keep thinking about what we will do if after the first day we lose it all. Phew.
Anyway Renee is in the bath and I’m going in soon. May as well make the best of it while we can.
One more thing, we crossed the Greenwich Meridian at 4:30 today. At last we are in the East, never (no plans anyway on this trip) to cross it again.
Tomorrow Andorra, our first new country. Hopefully the weather is better. Had dinner at a restaurant called Canigo. Good pizza but they had everything. We found a new parking space for the car right at the door to the hotel so I think I will sleep well tonight.
Still cannot believe we are doing this !!!!!!!!!