We set of in our Toyota Hilux Surf 1996 lovingly named 'The Beast' and there she is below when we took her on holiday to Wales
We absolutely jam packed the car. It was full of things that we were told we could not get over here in Bulgaria and as a self confessed hoarder In went bags of my clothes even though I had eliminated half of my wardrobe already. We were not the only souls about to partake in this journey of a lifetime oh no, we had three furry family members in the back. Jock (A.K.A Commander Pooch) our Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Sir Vladimir and Maud our two black cats. So we waved our sad goodbyes and off we went......
We made it down to Dover safe and sound after many pit stops (yes I have the bladder of a walnut) and onto the ferry. Anxiety hit a high when we had to leave the animals in car down below. We discussed on the upper deck what we would do if the boat started to sink and that was of course go down with our furry loved ones! Finally we arrived in France and all was fine. We decided that I would not be driving at all on the trip as I would struggle with doing so on the other side (wrong side ahem) of the road. Mark was used to driving on the other side as he lived in Germany for a few years whilst in the military and oh what a military mission it turned out to be! We did not sleep for three nights...it was epic and I think you will agree when you read on....
After devouring a constant supply of Monster energy drinks and pro plus we made it to Germany. Many of you will know that in certain countries you need a vignette to drive on the roads and these can be bought in petrol stations and at the borders. Well little miss organised here made a list of which countries we needed to get them in. Well turns out I wasn't that organised as after driving around for three hours to find one and lots of funny looks we discovered in the AA book sitting right under our noses that in Germany these do not exist. So off we go on our way but maybe got a little to excited and got pulled over by the police for driving over 100kph with a trailer on the back, but luckily they let us off and so we carried on...
In Austria something very strange happened, we still can't explain it to this day. We had just stopped at a service station. We had lunch and set off again. As we were driving along the lane that merges onto the motorway another car was driving incredibly fast along the road next to us. So we were somewhat sandwiched between a huge lorry on the motorway and a car the other side. Well there would have been a full on collision and we both even braced ourselves to be welcomed into the arms of death!!! DUH DUH DUHHHHH...but then it felt like a huge air bubble between the two cars stopped us from colliding....we sat in silence for about an hour after that had happened!
Romania was an experience. We needed a Vignette ( yes I was sure this time) so Mark stopped at the nearest, what we thought, service station. He got out and got followed but made it back to the car safely and we zoomed off to a bigger brighter place....but I was still scared and whilst he was getting the Vignette I found no shame in taking a wee in a bottle.
Finally we made it to Bulgaria! Our moral was so high at this point as we were only a few hours away from our new home UNTIL the bloody sat nav took us down an old dis used road. This road was fine at first but then became steeper, narrower and full of pot holes that were more like craters. As we had the trailer on the back we could not turn around so had to carry on, until we drove into the biggest crater of them all and got the axel stuck on a mound. We could not move..then panic set it!
We took a look around and found that we were in a huge sort of valley full of ganja plants almost 6 feet high. The air was thick with biting insects and there was not a building or road in sight. We were two kilometers down this old road with a tiny amount of water which we gave to the animals. Mark decided to dig out the mound with his bare hands and this resulted in him digging out a wasps nest...ouch! We tried putting rocks under the wheels and even an old antique wooden frame that I had collected but this got shredded to bits. We called the AA as we had breakdown with them and they arranged a Bulgarian company to help us. To cut a long story short we waited seven hours and they did not turn up. Mark decided to walk for help. As we had no water he checked some old animal troughs but they were all dried up. We were both hallucinating at this point and Mark said he felt like Russel Crowe in the film Gladiator when he walks through the field at the end touching the grass with his finger tips, but this time it wasn't that type of grass if you know what I mean! Eventually he found a house with an old man sitting in his pants, he luckily had an old Russian Military truck and came to the rescue pulling us out.
By now it was past midnight, pitch black and every tree on the way back to the house looked like a giant squirrel. We didn't recover from this trip for many weeks. We both got sunstroke and only 3 of the hatching eggs that we carried in the car with us from the UK hatched and to top it all off Mark lost his wallet whilst being pulled out of the crater BUT we feel very very lucky to have got here in one piece even though it felt like all the odds were against us...ahhh how lovely