Posts

24 June - Ahaus to Sandwich. 351 miles

Image
The forecast for the western edge of Germany was 35 degrees, so it was never going to be much fun. At that temperature, it does not matter how fast one drives. The air will still be hot.  And that is if one can keep moving.

Today's route home started south towards Essen, then west in the direction of Eindhoven, Antwerp, Ghent and on to the Tunnel. We opted for the fastest roads just to get the job done. Even in The Toad, 17 consecutive days in the saddle was enough.

It became a mix of no-limits autobahn bombing at 80 plus, and M25 crawling for miles on several occasions. And when we did slow down, the heat was roasting: my right arm now looks like a cooked lobster. 
In the passport queue at Coquelles it was difficult not to miss this, in a typical Lamborghini "look at me, I'm vulgar" colour.

Perhaps because it was a Monday, the lower deck of the Shuttle contained just two cars, The Toad, and a dozen bikes. I know this because I wandered from empty carriage to empty ca…

23 June - Lubeck to Ahaus. 248 miles

Image
This is the craziest hotel in which I have ever stayed. For later.

A shorter drive today to Ahaus, which sits about as close as any German town could be to the Dutch border. 

It might have been sensible to add another 100 miles in order to get back earlier tomorrow, but there we are. 
It was mostly quiet country roads through pleasing farm and woodland and small villages. No signs of any agricultural work, but I did spot this plane at one farm.


The owner clearly in touch with his feminine side.

It was 25 degrees and we tried to keep moving at some speed to create a cooling draught.


Even though it was Sunday, we were surprised that there was hardly a soul about wherever we went. And so quiet! Not even church bells ringing.
When we reached Ahaus, it was also deader than the deadest man in Dead Man's Gulch. But it was Piccadilly Circus compared to the hotel. We parked and wandered around all four sides. All doors locked. No obvious entrance. No lights on or sign of life within. 
After an …

21-22 June - Jyvaskyla to Lubeck. 944 miles

Image
I am sitting on the top deck of the boat to Travemunde as I compose much of this (because of Finn Lines’ wi fi charge of €70+ for the crossing, no doubt priced to exploit parents whose children cannot manage for more than ten minutes in an analogue world, this blog will not be posted while we are on board and will go live on 22 June). There is a light breeze, the temperature is in the 20s, and the view from this side as we await departure from Helsinki is more than good.



Less so on the other side.

We are on the way to what I think of as mainland Europe after a short drive this morning (with apologies - Google maps does not like sea crossings, so this was pulled from TomTom). 

TomTom decided to avoid motorways and take us through pleasing countryside that could have been Hampshire. Mile after mile of roadside Lupins.

And at last we found a sports car (Cayman) but he did not want to play. What is the point of having one if it never exceeds 60? 

Blue skies and very warm - that insulated woo…

20 June - Pello to Jyvaskyla. 366 miles

Image
What didn't happen today? Just about everything.

It is 06.30 and the locals are already on the gambling machines at the charming motel that I was crass enough to book for last night. There are six machines and five are occupied.



The route, like yesterday's was straight down the main road south. We planned to stop at Jyvaskyla, which I felt was at the limit of our stamina for the day. I suppose we could have pushed it the final 160-odd miles to Helsinki, but old men wear out fast.





What a boring drive. In Norway, it was visual treats at every turn. Finland may have its wonders, but not along the E75. Just trees, trees, trees. An occasional field, almost always uncultivated (we have not seen any sign of agriculture thus far). No Reindeer. Actually, we did not see a living thing. Even stopping for roadworks brought on a frisson.


Three lakes. Here is one of them. Brace yourselves.




What else? Oh yes - they like simple, pithy place names here.






























Even the good as gold Toad slipped up, a…

19 June - Lakselv to Pello. 312 miles

Image
What in God's name possessed me to decide to stay here? Later.
There was a lot of this today


Straight, fifth gear roads. Not much to see. Just checking the satnav every so often in the hope that there might be any improvement on the 89 miles it said it was to the next turn.
A bit of an end of term feeling today as we set off south on the path to home. I am just taking the fastest routes from now on.

A few miles left of Norway but my fjord-ogling days were now past; then into Finland, keeping close to the Swedish border (which meant that I was continually getting texts from BT changing its mind about where I was roaming). Pello was chosen as our staging point because it seemed like a reasonable day's march and there seemed to be nowhere else hereabouts. (Are you ahead of me here?).
The drama of the previous eight days' panoramas was immediately replaced by more gently undulating scenery rather like an upland moor. Heading out of Lakselv (which I forgot to inform those hungr…