Thursday, 11 July 2013

Slovakia - Day One: Antwerp


Dear All,

The journey has begun. I am writing from a church in Antwerp where we are staying, but won’t send this until we get to Berlin and I have some internet.

Jo and her dad dropped me off at the car place and we hired the vehicle with no difficulty, despite the stressed Lara’s many emails and texts. There was a bit of trouble to start off with; I noticed the vehicle was acting strangely, and when attempting to move from first to second gear, would continually stall out. My fear immediately was that I had forgotten completely how to drive in the last seven months, and did my best not to panic. We limped along, and the girls—bless them—didn’t say anything but as I later discovered were extraordinarily nervous, fearing they had put their trust and their lives into unsafe hands. A moment later I realised the emergency brake was on, took it off, and the car drove normally from that point on.
We had a few hiccoughs after that, but nothing so frightening or unnerving. In hindsight, it was hilarious.
The second car was separated from us, we got lost in London, and ended up getting the later Eurotrain, but all in all it was a lovely journey and we had up to 4 drivers at once so if I had died I am sure the girls’ expert driving advice would have kept us from harm.
We arrived in Antwerp in the evening and squeezed into a parallel parking space with inches to spare on either end. A late dinner at an outdoor café followed by a walk around the castle and the riverfront ended our evening and I got in bed several hours earlier than I have done in the past few weeks. Today we’re driving to Berlin, where I will update this further and relate any of the more hilarious stories that are best suited to telling with written word, saving the orally suited tales for an in-person situation.

Okay so I haven’t had time to write an update from Antwerp to Berlin. Know that I am safe and will write when I can.

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