Four Wheels Around - A Road Trip from the UK to South Africa

In February 2009 we are setting off on the trip of a lifetime from Brighton, E-Sussex, UK to South Africa. Furthermore, we are raising money for the British Red Cross along the way. This blog will cover our preparation until we leave and our adventures whilst we are on the road.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Week 1

23.02.09 Stage One Walberton to Paris to Nancy:
Hello everybody, we have been away now since thursday 19 feb and we have covered about 600 miles already. We got to France easily enough... as in there seems to be no passport control between Folkestone and Calais. However there is security. At Folkestone we were immediatly pulled over and checked by British security. They tapped our jerry cans and swiped some contrapction over the back of the vehicle, chatted to us briefly about our adventure and off we went.

At the other end there was no security and we were literally straight out onto the French toll road. We dont like toll roads much. Between Calais and Paris it cost us 19 Euro to use the bloody motorway.We vowed never again. We made it to Paris relatively smoothly, we even found a free parking space outside our hostel! In Paris we discovered a number of things. Namely, that Paris and France in general is very expensive. One evening we paid 7 Euro for a pint of beer. Which is about 6.50 GBP. Shocking. Coffee and food out seemed exepensive, thankfully diesel less so coming through at about 0.90 Euro per litre. About 0.79 GBP. We soon realised our daily budget of 15.00 GBP each wouldnt get us far in France Unfortunately...

We also discovered that the French as individuals are far more friendly and helpful than the stereotypes suggest and that they never clean up their doggy doo. Walking through Paris is like playing a game of dodge le chien shit.

In Paris we managed to get in such sights as the Lourve, Effiel Tower, River Seine, Notre Dame, Momatre and Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise. We ventured to le Republique for some expensive but fun evenings entertainment on Alex's birthday (20TH Feb). We befriended a couple of girls from Denmark who taught us some Danish card games and a freindly Canadian called Simon who is currently travelling Europe.

When we left England we roped along two of Alex's good friends from home, Ewan and Tom to accompany us for the first leg of our trip. We had a lovely time in Paris but sadly yesterday was time to pack them off on a Eurolines bus back towards Angleteere and bid them farewell. Alex and I set off towards our next port of call, Nancy in the Lorraine region, obviously avoiding the toll roads. We detoured via the Champagne region. Not that we saw any Champagne, it was a sunday so everything was shut.

We finally made it to Nancy, where we are currently residing with Annika Thornton one of my housemates from Brummingham University. Unfortunately we had a few problems locating Ani's residence. She neglected to inform me that on her street in Nancy there are 2 x No. 14s either side of the street so inevitably we turned up at the wrong door... twice. Eventually we made it and here we are. Ani is teaching English at the local university here, she has been fantastic as have all her housemates and friends who have been so accomodating and helpful.

Tonight we went along to an English students evening at a local bar where we met some more interesting people and I got to speak some more appalling and broken French.

Trials and Tribulations: Stage One
This first stage has given us a number of small teething problems. On day 1 we discovered our leisure battery was no longer functioning as it should. AKA it wasnt working at all. We rely on this leisure battery for light, water, a cool box, and for the reserve fuel tank to operate. That not working left us up the Seine without a paddle. An hour or two and several phonecalls back to Ian (Alex's dad) we figured it out. Problem 1 = solved. We are also concerned about a gasket leaking water. We still havnt figured out how serious this is yet as it is not leaking too much. Alex is monitoring it and fingers crossed we will sort it out before it gets to serious if need be.

Aside from that you are pretty much up to date. Day 5 is down and we are loving it. We plan to spend another day or two in Nancy before heading to Strasbourg and the German border an hour or two away from Ani's and then to the Black Forest in Germany for some cold weather camping and hiking.

We hope that everyone is well back at home;

Much love, Katie and Alex. X