From HRH

Day 45 Monday 21st April 2014 – Lesleys update.

Hi Everyone,

You probably think this has been a long time coming but I thought I would experience some weeks on Plodd before I expressed my feelings.

Not a great start to be honest with the windscreen before we left the U.K. followed by the problem with the exhaust, then the suspension in Hungary and then the blowout in Croatia. I expected a few hiccups ‘en route’ but not quite to this extent, now considering air suspension needed in Turkey!

On a lighter note Plodd is just great, I actually talk to her when I’m scared or cleaning up, (yes I probably am going nuts) she is very homely and I feel completely safe inside her. We have every amenity that we need, (actually wouldn’t mind a dishwasher) albeit on a smaller scale and sometimes very frustrating when everything you need is “under the bed!”
However as time has progressed I’ve learnt to store things differently, now all WCG’s gear is “under the bed” lol!

Washing/Ironing has been done sometimes by me, sometimes by the places we have stayed. Cooking is ok not so much of a chore as I first thought, actually made roast beef last Sunday. I prefer to eat out then someone else gets to do the washing-up, but then I always have! Got the dinky fridge off to a fine art nearly get as much in this one as I do the American one at home Lynn, only problem is when WCG opens it, everything falls out!

Maybe I should explain Dave’s alter ego “WCG” (Wing Commander Goodchild) this came about many years ago when our friend Darrell Bevers accompanied us on a trip to Vientiane in Laos – Dave’s foot was applied to the accelerator as we left Pattaya and never took a “brake” only when we were stopped by traffic police to pay yet another fine! Darrell referred to setting off as “seatbelts on – we have lift-off!” Hence his title WCG.

We have had some fabulous meals, tasting local delicacies, homemade produce and some really bad ones swimming in oil and butter. The Hungarian food up to now has been my most favourite, some in restaurants and some at families homes, where nothing was too much trouble. Thank you Judit, Adel, Jozsef and Magdush. Judit suggested I write a cookbook next year. A very unusual dish was in the Czech Republic – carrots and Feta cheese in orange juice served as a starter, sounds weird, but was really lovely. There has been so many different dishes to mention so maybe I will do as she suggests.

The roads have been a medley of good, bad, terrible and treacherous. Poland and the Czech Republic became the downfall of Plodd’s suspension, however, they were made to look amazing feats of infrastructure when it came to Montenegro and into Albania through Bosnia. I can honestly say that when travelling through Laos from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng I thought the sights were “toe-curling” – but Croatia, even though I was scared half to death, was spectacular (if you can bare to look down!). It’s a shame the photos wont portray the beautiful sights we beheld, but at this point I couldn’t operate the camera!

People we have met on the way have been a pleasure, I would like to say thanks to:- Everyone that came to say “Au Revoir” in Blackpool,
Hilary for a lovely send-off,
Chez Max in Luxembourg,
All the staff at Kassell in Germany,
“Pizza Boy Rescue” in Berlin, Wulf,
Fellow campers in Berlin who were invaluable about public transport!
Hotel Apollon in Litomerice, CZ and the dog,
Irena in Czech Rep
Judit, Adel, Jozsef and Magdush in Hungary,
Niche Camping in Hungary – very welcoming,
Gold Haus Hotel in Hungary,
Borkamp in Croatia,
Seka and her hubby in Croatia
Leah and Arthur in Albania.
If I have forgotten anyone then I’m sorry maybe should have made some more notes on the way.
(God, I should love to give an “Emmy” speech! Lol!)

Along the route we have accompanied meals with some very nice wines, especially the one we found in Hungary, (cant remember the name, we did get another bottle to take to Thailand but unfortunately got thirsty two days later).
Beer on the other hand has been quite diverse, blonde beers (lager) have been the most popular, the exception being in the Czech Republic. We went into a “News” café and ordered two beers, after drinking half of this poison I thought it must be very strong so I asked the waitress, she said 18%ABV – Good God, a third more than most wines!!! This proved to be the “norm” in CR so it is possibly the only time Dave and I have accompanied our dinner with a non-alc beverage!!!

I’m beginning to think at this rate all the eating out, drinking etc., that I will roll off Plodd into Kamoncilli in Thailand. An added extra being this weekend is Easter and I actually found some Easter eggs in Albania so I thought it would be rude not to buy them (and consequently eat them). @jeansgettingtightereveryday! Missed my chocolate buttons R’Trace!

It was difficult to prepare clothes for this trip not knowing how the weather would fair, and I have to admit I got it wrong.
Too many warm clothes by far as the weather has been brilliant since we left Folkstone, cold in the evenings but T-shirts in the day. We will be heading North again soon so I suppose that could all change – if not, any excuse for a bit of retail therapy. Biggest drawback is I appear to have the same top and jeans in each photo – yes Adel the red one! Lol!

WiFi (or lack of) and SIM Cards have been problematic, only using cafes/restaurants/bars etc., and sites when available. Most places advertise 80% WiFi guaranteed – I think they must be stood on the roof with their arms in the air to achieve that! Dave has actually sat outside places that we frequented the evening before with his Macbook trying to update the website. This apparently will only get worse in Moldovia/Ukraine/Russia/Mongolia. But will improve in China.

Well you are probably sick of reading by now so I will sign off for a few weeks. I do need to say thanks to Lynda (Loops) for updating all photos etc., to this site.(Luv Ya Loops!) Thanks to Arlo for help with this site.
Also to mention our thanks to Warren, Ray, Linn & Mark who without them we couldn’t have attempted this feat! (I’ll get my own back! Lol!!!)
To all family and friends for keeping in touch – you are keeping me sane, (more quips A.J. you make me laugh). I miss you all.
Love to my babies:- Dam, Ben, Fray, Gyzzi, Lucky and Mr Tidds xxxxxx

NOTE TO SELF: Am I ready to give up my designer “twin set and pearls” – HELL NO!!!!!!!!!!!! (justhopetheystillbloodywellfitattheendofthisexpedition)