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23/10

...Must come down

We all know that travel broadens the mind, and on the whole is jolly good fun. But there are always one or two little niggles along the way. Instead of therapy we thought we’d share them with you here.

Big maps and small maps.
Big maps have lots of detail, but inside a car they are like trying to put up an umbrella through a letterbox. Small maps don’t stop you seeing out the windscreen, but mean there are lots of times you don’t appear to be going anywhere and lots of roads that should be there that aren’t. The one thing you can guarantee is that whichever map you need at any given time, you’ll have the other one on your knee and the required one underneath the barbecue in the bottom of the boot.

Rogue bags.
The rogue bag is the thin end of the wedge as far as the discipline of packing goes. One of these and the whole house of cards comes down. The next thing is you have piles of random stuff without homes that won’t go in anywhere. Much effort is needed to eliminate these and stop them creeping back in after they have been stamped out.

Dogs.
Now, let’s be sure that we aren’t misunderstood here. We love dogs. A lot. An awful lot. However, some of the snarling beasts that have seen us on our way past their gates as we trot out on our early morning run have not been of the variety that you want curled up on your slippers of an evening. On the plus side, they have given us a reason to canter just a little bit faster.

Towels.
A breeding ground for a plethora of communicable diseases, these are often found spread out like damp ghosts in the boot in a vain attempt to dry them.

Receipts.
You feel like you should keep them, although you’re not sure for what. Wedged together and generally indecipherable, they simply serve to remind you that the Euro is much stronger against the pound than you would like.

Shoes.
Same shoes, different day. We only bought along two pairs of shoes each, and we can safely say that we are all fed up of them. Couple that with the distinct lack of clean never mind about matching socks and you have a rather distasteful below ankle situation.

Tolls.
Yet more paper, closely related to the receipt (see above). We’re not really used to these back home, but when you are driving long distances across Europe and want to use half decent roads they are a necessary evil, and they do certainly add up. Greece may be the crucible of modern democracy, but there doesn’t seem anything fair about the road charges around the capital. So much so that protesting locals have been known to set fire to the toll booths. We could have easily helped them start the fire with this sheaf of toll tickets we accrued in a few days around around Athens.

Ratchet Straps.
It’s a love/hate relationship with the ratchet strap. On the one hand, they are amazing at keeping all manner of things pegged down on the roof and stopping you littering your smalls all over the Autobahn. However they are also equally brilliant at taking chunks out of your knuckles as you try and undo them on a chilly Icelandic morning.

Cay (Turkish Tea)
We actually love this, and the generosity of the Turks at dishing it out at every available opportunity (we’ve been given it at every petrol station, in corner shops and by random people in the street) is admirable. However, we do find that it means we have to make one or two more comfort breaks that we otherwise would, often leading to us being offered more tea, and so the cycle continues…

Dog/Tractor.
The best game ever ever in the history of everything to play on any drive is Dog/Tractor. Brilliantly simple yet endlessly entertaining, the rules are easy. Every time you see either a dog or (you guessed it) a tractor, you shout out “Dog!” or “Tractor!”, depending which of them you have spied. Whoever spots the most dogs and/or tractors wins a treat at the end of the day – choosing where to camp, having their tent put up for them, extra ice cream, something like that. However, on our current trip this game has been somewhat sabotaged by the sheer numbers of both dogs and tractors we have seen, rendering it almost impossible to do anything else but spend all day shouting about dogs and tractors like a stuck record. Pah.

Lists.
The paper trail continues. Lists provide some sort of way of trying to be organised in the shifting sands of things to do, places to go, people to see. This is a good thing. And you get to use some nice pens as well – thick ones for crossing out and orange ones for highlighting things of urgency. However, lists do have a rather annoying habit of having to have two things added on the the bottom for every one thing that gets crossed off the top.

Rain.
There we were, with visions of ourselves swanning around the Peloponnese in our shirt sleeves pretending not to gloat that the clocks were about to go back in Blighty. However, it was not always to be. We have had more than our fair share of rain along the way, often from countries which frankly should know better. Harumph.

Thank you for listening to our little moan. We feel much better now.

One Response to “…Must come down”

Yann on 18/11/2010 at 12:38 pm said :

Thanks for sharing that

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