Posts for August, 2015


VW Project Complete (Berlin, Germany)

Journal entry for Thursday 6th Aug, 2015 (day 563, miles 14884)

Brendon and I have spent the past week working on his VW van. We eventually parked the van at the Kopernicker-Hof so that we could leave it in pieces overnight. The days have been filled with numerous trips to a nearby Hornbach hardware store, lots of grinding, drilling and sawing, but we finally got the second battery, charger and various wires installed under the driver seat. That project now seems complete. It is worth noting that as the week progressed a heat wave descended on Berlin and most of our work on the VW has been done in the blazing sun with temperatures in the high 90's ° F.

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Escape from the heat (Ravensmuhle, Germany)

Journal entry for Friday 7th Aug, 2015 (day 564, miles 14982)

So what about my dental problem? With the help of Brendon and his girlfriend Jessica I found a dentist in Berlin who advised me that I needed a "root canal" treatment and that this would take 3 visits. This morning at 8:30 was the second visit, a short 10 minute affair during which anti-biotic medicine was placed around the root of the offending tooth. The staff at the dentist office speak very little English so during my first visit, last week, I explained my problem using Google Translate app on my iPhone. That explanation, together with an x-ray and examination, was enough for the lady dentist to figure out what was going on. So far the two visits have cost me a total of Euro 200 (about US$220) so provided the treatment works and lasts it will probably turn out to be cheaper than getting it fixed in the US.

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At the sea side (Suhrendorf, Germany)

Journal entry for Sunday 9th Aug, 2015 (day 566, miles 15090)

Yesterday we continued our "escape from the heat". Our northerly route eventually took us to Stralsund on the German north coast and then across to Rugen Island. Traffic on the island's main road was very heavy and slow so we started looking for a campground and eventually settled on Ostseecamp Suhrendorf which just happened to be on the west side of Ummanz Island which in turn was off the west coast of Rugen.

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Dentist final visit (Berlin, Germany)

Journal entry for Wednesday 12th Aug, 2015 (day 569, miles 14884)

We left Ostseecamping Monday afternoon and spent the night at another truck stop in order to get a head start on our return to Berlin (and the Kopernicker-Hof campground) in time for my third and final dental appointment today (today cost Euro 150 bringing the total to Euro 350 or about US$390). Berlin was still in the grip of its heat wave so last night and today we are once again sweating like little "oinkers". The dentist went off without a hitch and hopefully that is the end of that problem.

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Finding a campground in Amsterdam (Uitdam, Netherlands)

Journal entry for Friday 14th Aug, 2015 (day 571, miles 15739)

Yesterday we started the 700 km haul to Amsterdam. It was an uneventful and somewhat boring day of driving German motorways and by the end we had covered 450 km. We spent the night at another truck stop near the town of Osnabruck perhaps 50 kms from the German/Dutch border.

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Amsterdam I (Beesd, Netherlands)

Journal entry for Sunday 16th Aug, 2015 (day 573, miles 15789)

Yesterday (Sat 15th) we made the trek into Amsterdam for some sightseeing. The travel was a bit of a chore as we had a 1 mile walk to a bus stop and a 40 minute bus ride to get to Amsterdam central station. We have not visited this city since 1976/77 and unfortunately in that time memories have faded a bit so today was a bit like visiting a new city.

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Adventure-Trucks, Amsterdam city camp (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Journal entry for Monday 17th Aug, 2015 (day 574, miles 15739)

We spent much of the day with Erik discussing various aspects of our truck and trucks in general. Towards the end of the day Erik led us to a local supplier of truck seats where we chose two new seats for our yellow beast. They will be ready (we hope) in about 6 weeks. Some time before then we will drop the truck back at Erik's place where they will be installed.

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Hook of Holland Ferry (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Journal entry for Wednesday 19th Aug, 2015 (day 576, miles 15925)

Yesterday (Tues 18th) was devoted to a short family get together. Nina's sister Donna and her husband Chris (plus their friends Max and Karen) were in town for a couple of days at the start of a boat trip from Amsterdam to Budapest. Thus we spent much of the day with them sightseeing (with somewhat of a focus on the red light district, at least in the photographs) and then a very interesting canal cruise with dinner in the evening.

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Vario steering, wrong side of the road (Rugby Truck Stop, England)

Journal entry for Thursday 20th Aug, 2015 (day 577, miles 16054)

We were shocked this morning. Having been conditioned by the Iceland ferry's practice of please vacate your cabins two hours before docking we were shocked and more than a little disoriented. Not only did the ferry staff NOT ask us to leave our cabin before docking, but they also unload all commercial trucks before asking drivers of private vehicles to attend their vehicles. This means that we could have slept until almost the official private vehicle schedule docking time of 6:30am.

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Narrow boat virgins (Hillmorton, England)

Journal entry for Friday 21st Aug, 2015 (day 578, miles 16054)

We had been a little concerned that the parking facilities at the canal boat depot at Rugby Wharf may not accommodate our truck so it was with some relief that we discovered, plenty of space, no low trees or structures and a bunch of laid-back people who seemed to have no issue with us parking a big yellow truck on their premises for a week. Phew!

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Sun (Priors Hardwick, England)

Journal entry for Saturday 22nd Aug, 2015 (day 579, miles 16054)

Our first full day dawned fine, but cool. As we prepared breakfast we were visited by a large white swan who was very insistent, and persistent. We quickly deduced that feeding the canal water birds was a common pass-time of boaters and that the birds had come to expect this. Hence the swan was quite determined that we should provide food.

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Ride a cock horse (Banbury, England)

Journal entry for Sunday 23rd Aug, 2015 (day 580, miles 16054)

Banbury is one of the few sizable towns along the Oxford Canal and we had known from the start that we were headed towards it. Hearing the name got Nina and I searching our memory for the words of a childhood nursery rhyme. It took us almost an entire day to drag up the words:

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Return journey (Boat, England)

Journal entry for Monday 24th Aug, 2015 (day 581, miles 16054)

We travelled past Banbury today in generally rainy weather. There were some really pretty sections of canal but also some not-so-pretty sections of decrepit boats that have either been abandoned or are permanent housing. Some what unkindly we thought of some of these as canal-side slums. We even saw evidence of slum-lords at work. Along some sections it was evident that farmers had sold/leased a small section of canal front land to permanent boat dwellers.

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Return journey (Cropredy, England)

Journal entry for Tuesday 25th Aug, 2015 (day 582, miles 16054)

We spent the day retracing our earlier route, lots of locks, bridges, other boats. Some nice farm land, loverly forests and the occassional canal boat "trailer park". But all in all a relaxing day.

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How to make a country house from a boat (Napton, England)

Journal entry for Wednesday 26th Aug, 2015 (day 583, miles 16054)

We came across this unusual way (see photos) of making a country cottage. The recipe seems to be :

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Almost done (Rugby, England)

Journal entry for Thursday 27th Aug, 2015 (day 584, miles 16054)

We spent the day in generally nice sunny weather working our way back into the neighbourhood of Rugby. About mid afternoon we decided to reward ourselves with a few beers in the garden of a comfortable, quant pub.

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New photo albums and an update to the front page

Posted Friday 28th Aug, 2015

We have recently posted a number of new photo albums on the Photos Page, and makde some changes to the front page of the site that you might like to take a look at.

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Rail strikes, bungee jumping and bus tickets (Blackmore Campground, England)

Journal entry for Saturday 29th Aug, 2015 (day 586, miles 16124)

We thought today would be a nice restful day at Blackmore Campground with the only pressing chore being the need to find a train to London for tomorrow. After an hour or so on the internet we concluded that it was probably in our interest to go to the nearby town of Worcester to buy and pickup our tickets as it seemed rather complicated to buy and pickup tickets online. So that is what we did and after 30 minutes and GBP30 we walked into the ticket office at the Worcester station to be told The trains may be on strike, come back tomorrow and see if they are running.

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Bus to London (London, England)

Journal entry for Sunday 30th Aug, 2015 (day 587, miles 16124)

The uncertainty over the trains had an impact on our bus and its driver this morning. There were only a few passengers waiting at Worcester when the bus arrived and a few of those did not have reservations and had to buy tickets from the driver. But unbeknown to the driver there were a lot waiting down the road at Cheltenham; enough to fill the bus. Thus unfortunately the driver, by selling tickets to those few without reservations, had overbooked the bus. This seemed to be a big deal to the driver and he talked about the problem off and on for the entire drive to Cheltenham and then paid out of his own pocket for those overbooked passengers to catch a train from Cheltenham to London. Amazing, we thought.

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Nina the solo tourist (London, England)

Journal entry for Monday 31st Aug, 2015 (day 589, miles 16124)

Nina displayed her usual fortitude and set forth in the rain to make the most of the time in London and visited a number of sights, including Kensington Palace, The gates to Kensington Palace (still a shrine to Dianna), Kensington Gardens, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Sherlock Holmes Museum near Baker Street. I, on the other hand decided to take advantage of the good internet connection in the hotel and catch up on some chores that have been outstanding for a while.

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