Blog Posts, Europe Blog Posts

Day Six: Ups and Downs

Ok, this morning I got off to a bad start. I woke up some time between 4 and 5am to find someone scrambling out of my tent. I jumped out and chased them a short way in my boxer-shorts as they jumped into a car and drove away. I came back to the tent and at first glance thought they had gotten away empty handed. I checked again and saw my camera was missing, it had been in the entrance of the tent in a bag which they had gone through, for some reason they had also taken my toothbrush, toothpaste and a bar of soap. I was annoyed but checked around and my stove and pans were still in place, I got into the main area of the tent and checked to make sure my wallet was still there, it was. Then I noticed my laptop bag was gone, this is when I got a little more angry. The bag had my laptop, external Hard drive and my folder with paperwork. The paperwork included my qualification certificates, Insurance cover note, Motorbike logbook and some other less important things.

I packed my stuff away as quickly as I could and went to the petrol station to call the police. There were cameras around the petrol station so I hoped that maybe the car had been captured on them. The police arrived and took the details, checked the cameras but they were not on there. They said they would send the report to my home address in the UK. I then set off up to Amsterdam, arriving here at about 8am. I managed to find a hostel pretty quickly, locked my stuff in a locker and set off to the library to change all of my passwords.

I’m actually not as stressed about this as I think I probably should be, I figure that there is nothing I can do about it now so there is no point dwelling on it. I have booked myself in to the hostel for 2 nights and have replaced the missing camera, toothbrush, toothpaste etc. The certificates and paperwork should be easy enough to get replaced and posted out to me in Spain. The three or four people I have told about this said that it is fairly common in Holland, the policeman I reported it to even went so far as to say ‘Holland is full of villains’. I’m going to take the next 2 days to relax before I set off through Germany.

Blog Posts, Europe Blog Posts

Recap: The first five days

I originally wrote this section from a tent in a car park just a small distance south of one of the bridges to Rotterdam. It was the fifth day of my journey and it still feels like I’ve just set off.

Day One: I left on the 10th July 2011, a Sunday. The previous week was spent meeting up with as many friends as I could arrange for a chat and a drink. The week built up to Srini and Sandhya’s wedding. On the Sunday I packed up all my stuff onto the bike and set off, accompanied by my Dad and Connor, on my dads bike, and Chris. We rode down to Derby and found a pub for a drink and some snacks, then parted ways on the M1 junction as I headed off towards London. The traffic wasn’t too bad until I got about 50 miles outside London and then crawled the rest of the way. I arrived at David’s house late in the afternoon, unpacked and headed to the pub for a couple of drinks and a chat before heading back and getting some sleep.

Europe Trip

Day Two: David had to work so we left the house and headed into London. After leaving him at his office I walked the short distance to Regents Park and wandered around wandering what to do. I decided to do some geocaching. I found a couple of geocaches and then went to all the main London tourist spots taking tourist style pictures, then sat down in a pub for a couple of pints of Guinness. I headed back to meet David, went back to his for tea and went to bed.

Day Three: I woke up feeling a little nervous but ignored it and concentrated on packing the bike. I said goodbye to David and set off towards what I assumed was East, until I met the M25 and followed it until I saw the signs for Dover. As I got closer to Dover the wind picked up but it was fairly constant to easy to counter. I arrived at the port and was told that the next ferry was in an hour. I checked in early and managed to talk my way onto the earlier boat which set off immediately. Once we arrived in France I followed the signs for Paris and got into the city just before dusk. It was at around this time I realised how much I hate driving in Paris. The traffic is constantly in a jam, there is an aweful one way system and I was too hot. After wasting alot of time driving around I decided to get some petrol and stayed in a small hotel in a bar outside Paris. I dropped my bags in the room and went into the bar, sat on a stool at the bar and stretched the limits of my French while having a couple of glasses of beer.

Day Four: I woke and took a shower before heading back into Paris, took some tourist style photo’s and went to visit the grave of Jim Morrison. After managing this I then set off to get out of Paris, which again wasted alot of time and got me hot and angry. Once i finally got out of the city I headed North towards Brussels. It was around tea time when I crossed the border into Belgium and decided to make camp. I turned off the motorway and looked for a quiet place to set up my tent. I found a nice spot just out of sight of the road, set up camp and cooked myself some pasta, playing some guitar before I went to sleep.

Day Five: I was a little lazy when I woke up and layed in bed for a little longer than I should. When I got up and started packing it started to rain, I got everything strapped onto the bike and put on my waterproof clothes before setting off back along the motorway. I got into Brussels and drove around for a little while without seeing anything of interest, so I stopped at the petrol station to top up and asked the lady in the station if there was anything to see, she said no so I set off towards Antwerp. I drove through Antwerp and didn’t see anything great so decided to head to Amsterdam. I was driving up the Motorway when the weather got really bad, the wind was coming in occasion but very strong gusts, three times I was blown off the road into the hard shoulder. The third time I decided to stop for a rest, I pulled into a petrol station with a rest stop, had a coffee and looked at the map. A little way north was the bridge to Rotterdam, if the wind was bad on the road it would be worse on the bridge, so I set up my tent, got out of my wet clothes and cooked some food feeling that I had made the right decision in staying put I went to sleep in a good mood.