The Opening Stages – France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany

Greetings from Zurich!
Zack and AJ have stopped here to visit a friend from their trip to Kilimanjaro, Minna, and have spent the day luxuriating by the lake, drinking beer and diving off the 5 metre board. The Trip has truly begun.

AJ arrived in Manchester last Friday and after an evening of Fajitas, botched sticker applications and packing the Polo to the brim it was early to bed in anticipation of setting off proper.

Saturday came in a wave of rushed showers and bacons rolls and before they knew it, it was time to go. Brief emotions and they were off…unspectacularly to the Asda around the corner to get fuel.

The boys managed to get lost immediately looking for the M6. AJ’s phone decided to play ‘here’s what you could have won’ when informing them of what corner to take, but eventually we found Birmingham signs and, barring roadworks at the Dartmouth crossing the MMC reached Folkestone in worryingly good time. There was just enough time for the Mona AJ to smirk enigmatically and it was on board the euro tunnel ahead of dinner in Dunkirk.

France was very French. Motorway is motorway regardless of what side you are driving on and the boys arrived into Dunkirk (which later turned out to be the Blackpool of Northern France) in a haze of weather from home. Once the car was parked Zack and AJ set out to find a local restaurant serving indigenous fare. Through no fault of their own they ended up in the one restopub that had a cartoon of a man in a kilt on the menu. Typical.

For Zack it was a ‘traditional’ Flemish stew. Essentially lumpy bovril with a stale bit of gingerbread on top. For AJ, it was a ‘Royal Welsh’. This was ham on bread absolutely flooded with melted cheese in a medium sized oven proof dish and topped with a fried egg. Watching him eat this rapidly congealing mess was both pitiful and hilarious.

Leaving, somewhat unsatisfied, there was time for a quick deek at the main drag before rinsing the wifi in a local McDo’s to find a campsite.
Once sourced the boys were there in a jiffy, stopped only by a security guard who didn’t know how much it cost and tried to write the receipt with a lit cigarette.

Tent pitched for the first time beautifully and there was just time for a quick dip in the adjacent Channel to the backdrop of a massive factory with flaring plumes of smoke.

Covered in a thin film of sludge, it was teeth, shower bed – reflecting happily on a highly successful first day.

Mileage – 532. Night Stop – La Licorne

Day 2 started with a breakfast that couldn’t have been more French if it was wearing a beret and surrendering. Croissants and pain au chocolat demolished AJ nipped to les toilettes to finally banish the salmonella poisoning that threatened his graduation and Zack started chatting to an elderly Swedish motorcyclist who insisted Aberdeen was beautiful. Once rid of this nutter Sarah was aimed for Frankfurt for the World Cup final, and she performed her task faultlessly. The same cannot be said for Zack who left his travel mug on the roof of a Gent service station.

It was Luncheonburg in Luxembourg. Not much to report aside from this found in the world smelliest portacabin, truly provocative stuff.

Driving into Germany was very organised and very green. Frankfurt has a stunning skyline and the hostel was sourced relatively easily. Time just for a quick walk in a desperate bid for shampoop and a quicker shower. The fact that it was a Sunday and the WC final featured Germany seriously tested the legendary Bavarian efficiency and it was off to the street bar to get prime position for football and Frankfurter teller.

Zack and AJ will remember the rest of the evening as long as they have puff in their lungs. What started a civilised couple of steins between friends escalated drastically once Germany scored and The boys realised the Bitburger came in jugs.

What followed included breakdancing in front of a hastily assembled and poorly rehearsed brass band, conducting traffic in grid locked streets to a cacophony of blaring horns and flag waving and jumping on top of something tall and metal with many other Germans. There were flare selfies, chucked cameras and at one point Zack was fully in someone else’s car. The joy and debauchery was something to behold and there was definitely the feeling that once Zack and AJ eventually crumpled into their bunks that they had experienced something they were unlikely to ever do so again.

Mileage- 913 Night Stop – United Hostel Frankfurt

Day 3 started tenderly. The boys evacuated the room to the guttural piggings of some over indulgent Americans and it was across the road to the bakers for breakfast. A photo stop in the Skymall eased the hangover slightly and it was back to the hostel to pack and get going on the way to Greswiller via Strasbourg.

Zack and AJ bid goodbye to some Swedes who we’re debating who got more ‘bang’ for their buck re last nights Romanian prostitutes and Frankfurt was left easily but with a heavy heart. Go if you have the chance.

The company headed south for the campsite in Greswiller, 20k south of Strasbourg. Strasbourg itself was beautiful, it looked almost too French to be allowed. And finding the campsite was only made possible by storming into a hotel and essentially forcing the owners to show Zack and AJ the way after deeming their prices too high. Lovely people, after piling the whole clan and a kitten into an Espace, they drove us straight to the entrance which would never have been found otherwise.

After that there was a check in where the attendant had a conversation with himself in broken Dutch and pot noodles and beans for tea. Tin opener forgotten, strategic use was made of a pairing knife and a shovel and it was whisky and long way round on the iPad before sleep prevailed.

Day 4 was and is Zurich to see Minna. After all hello’s were said and wurst consumed it was down to Lake Zurich for diving into glacial water and drinking beer whilst sunbathing. And that is pretty much where we are. tonight it is drinks in town and tomorrow…who knows. Zurich marks the end of the planned stops and it is rag doll in a washing machine time from here on out.

The boys can’t wait.











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