Monday, 27 September 2010

Absolute vacuum (Part 3)

Intermediate origin: Koblenz (Germany)


News from HR Spain: nil
Stress level: high plus two broken bulbs.

Probably you will be asking yourself about the meaning of today´s title, "Absolute vacuum". Well, this is just what you feel when you are driving down a german runaway and a Ford focus RS overtakes you at 250+ km/h and your car starts being attracted to the Ford´s trail. Also you can substitute the Ford with any big van brand name, but in this case it was really outrageous given the sudden of the happening and the roar its engine makes.

Koblenz looks like a nice place to be but with the big bill we had to pay we were not in the mood of playing the tourist role that day. So, after being punished at the hotel with the expensive bill we decided to leave Oktoberfestland and head south again. 

TomTom --> Navigate to.. --> Point of interest.. --> POI near me --> Skoda Car Repair

1.5km later we arrived to a big Audi - VW - Seat - Skoda dealer were we asked a very nice german guy about our problems replacing the front bulbs. He looked a bit surprised at first but quickly showed us how to replace the front bulbs in around 60 secs just taking out one screw and taking out also the whole headlight.

He was really really nice and refused to get paid for his 2 minutes help :-) Skoda is again highly recomended. At Audi Spain I would have had to pay at least 200€.

Anyway we started again driving south and reached Luxemburg.
Atchumm!! (sneeze)
Now we were leaving Luxemburg and entering France.

Good thing to have the speeding radars marked by TomTom. Just aftern entering France we found 4 radars in half an hour.

Now we were in Carla Bruni´s country. 130km/h speed limit and a lot of traffic. We were quite observant because of the looks we had and we didn´t want to be deported... who knows... ;-P

From the nothern frontier to almost La Rochelle we drove with no incidents at all. Just expensive petrol (even more than in Germany).

There we found a horrible and not so cheap (price wise) but very cheap (quality wise) french hotel.
A combination of too many frenchies and too little hotels forced us to take it. Also as we were quite close to Bordeaux we just rested and hoped for a better day.

A day to forget. The only good thing is that now we had two working frontlights.

Intermediate destination : Saintes (France)
Total km done: 2^10 km
News from HR Spain: 0.
Stress level: High plus one expensive hotel plus a horrible hotel.
Hotel quality: Bad, Price: Moderate.
More posts: coming soon.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

I landet av korv ätare (Part 2)

Intermediate origin: Lübeck (Germany)
News from HR Spain: zero
Stress level: moderate plus a broken bulb.

That morning we woke up in "The Excelsior" at Lübeck. Even if you are thinking WOW! because of the name of the hotel please rethink it again, since it is just a three starts hotel, not bad at all but not what everyone has in mind when hearing that name.

Anyway I can recommend the hotel, so we left the car in the hotels garage and headed to the center of the village to take a closer look at it. In just one word: NICE (F. --> not the town in the south of France but the adjective).

Lübeck is a old commerce central point that has managed to keep some very good looking buildings. It looked to me like a swedish town with a lot of baroque architects.  BTW, the main church construction history is really interesting and also good to know if you are not so kind of visiting churches ;-)
Anyway, it is a place worth visiting. Also Hamburg is quite close so if you have never seen a massive ship in a massive port with massive number of containers and massive everything, then you have the perfect excuse to take some days off and visit Hamburg + Lübeck.

A bit late after walking down the main streets of Lübeck we were on the road again and forgetting last days happenings we headed south.

At this point of the story I have to explain that some years ago, during a visit to Stockholms Town Hall, I  bought a small present to Gilda in the form of a keyholder named "Emily". It is a small angel like figure with a small Swarovski like glass in the middle. She enjoyed this keyholder for a long time but one day she lost it, and even if I could find a new one in the same place it was not exactly equal so we decided to go to the south of Germany and find the warehouse where they build them (or bring them from China...)
Unfortunately the GPS sent us through multiple 3rd level german roads and when we found the place it was late, it was closed and we where in the middle of nowhere in the german mountains so we selected a close town where to find the next hotel.

Now the day was starting to fade and the only healthy headlight of my car decided to die and we were left in the most absolute darkness.

With only the position lights and after 1 hour of trying to reach a hotel in Koblenz, we managed to find a Mercure hotel. Unfortunately they only had one double room left and it was incredibly expensive. As we had no lights (not in the car not in the brain after driving one hour as a dark ghost car) we settled down for this night. Now I have 2xx€ less but I am member of the Mercure VIP guests....

Intermediate destination : Koblenz
Total km done: 650+-n /n[10-100]km.
News from HR Spain: no.
Stress level: High plus two broken bulbs.
Hotel quality: Good, Price: Expensive.
More posts: coming soon.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Run Like the wind (Part 1)

As therapy for digesting what is going on those days and I will disclose soon I have decided to describe the trip min flickvän (aka Gilda for blogging purposes) and I have done across half Europe recently.
Also if I can get a smile from anyone my objectives will be completely fulfilled.

Day 1, wake up point: Stockholm, stress level: moderate. News from HR Spain: 0.

As most of you already know I decided to take my car with me so I could transport all the stuff I have gathered in those last three years to Madrid. As good IBMer I decided that something could go wrong and took with me most of my clothes in my last flight to Spain (20kg max as I had to check in my luggage) so I could get now enough space in the trunk and not look like gipsys (we had to cross france so we wanted to be very careful ;-D ).

We woke up really early and started to put everything in the trunk. Three hours later we had to discard some cardboard boxes (bye bye Gitar Hero box) and could fit finally everything as a complicated tetris in the trunk and over the rear seats.
Thanks God VAG group makes good cars with heavy duty suspension systems becouse the car looked like starting to jump at any moment. The rear of the car was closer to earth than any youngster modified car after watching The Fast and the Furious cuadrilogy.

Once on the road (11:00am) we switched on the GPS and headed south, good weather and normal traffic. Malmö, here we go!

First stop in Stavsjö, for some light lunch and last minute shopping.

By the way, it looks like a nice place to stop if you need to take a rest in your journey. Highly recommended.

Once we recovered we headed south again, not without almost going back to Stockholm since the road signs are not very clear and I had to do a slightly "extrange" turn to get the right direction.... hope nobody saw us, I still want my 14 points in my driving license.

Without any other incident and one tank refill we reached Malmö but as we already have been there and it was still early afternoon we decided to cross the bridge and head towards Deutschla... Denmark.


I have crossed this bridge three times now but I am still impressed about it. It is a magnificent structure. No doubt about it.

When we were at the beginning of the bridge I looked backwards and I could see Sweden dissappearing... I have to admit that my throat turned dry and something punched into my guts... but let´s be possitive, it is a "see ya!" not a "good bye!".

Hi Denmark! Heavy traffic and a lot of people smoking in their cars... disgusting :-P so we crossed Denmark and reached Rödbyhavn. As the intelligent person she is, Gilda suggested to find a hotel there and sleep until next day, but as the not so intelligent person I am I suggested crossing the channel with the ferry and sleep in Oktoberfestland.

As she was probably a bit tired she agreed and we went to the port terminal, after fighting with the damn danish guy in the tickets selling point (it is incredible, he even didn´t try to speak in half english!!) we parked inside the ferry. At this point I have to say that we were almost alone, just a couple of eastern language speakers, some Oktoberfestlanders and a group of countryofthefreedomlanders :-P.

The ferry reached the other shore quite fast and we jumped into the car. In front of us there was a van filled with the north americans (those looked like the intelligent ones since they were driving a van with manual gears...) and there our problems started.
How many times do you switch off the lights of a swedish car? answer --> never
But I decided to switch them off (you only have to select the position lights to switch them off) and then switched them on again. Damn decision!!, one strange simbol appeared in the dashboard featuring a switched on bulb.... after some neuronal work I decided that it could mean that the car had detected that I had switched off the lights and as it was quite dark so it was asking me to switch them on again.

So we drove out of the ferrys belly and drove towards Hamburg. I thougt then... I have to be really tired since I can see very little... and after five min we realised that no, the problem was of course as most of you have already discovered that it was a broken front bulb :-(

With half of the lights we headed towards a hotel. It is incredible how far away are hotels when you need them. Anyway thanks to TomTom`s database we found a nice hotel in Lübeck. The guy in the reception was just like John LeCarre´s "The night Manager" so I decided not to let him keep any envelope for me ... (You have to read the book to understand this one). I will talk more about it in the next post.

Intermediate destination : Lübeck
Total km done: 920km plus some stupid kms done in the wrong direction in Oktoberfestland while trying to reach the hotel.
News from HR Spain: nol.
Stress level: moderate plus a broken bulb.
Hotel quality: Good, Price: Moderate.
More posts: tomorrow.

Flying in the AVE