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Batic Bound and Around Route

Batic Bound and Around Route

Day 36 - Harwich to London - It's Over!!

Now that we have reached our home here in London, the title words from the Roy Orbison song, 'It's Over', spring to mind.

We arrived at Harwich very early in the morning and at 5.30am we had the ship's alarm call to wake us up for disembarkation at 6.30am. Our first sight of England for five weeks through the large round porthole window of our cabin.

We left the cabin and took the lift down to the car deck.

We drove off the ferry back into England. A last look at our ferry, the Britannica.

With the UK not party to the Schengen Agreement, we had to line up and clear UK customs. Behind Kenny and Bob in the queue.

It was such a contrast to how easy and quick it has been to move from one European country to another on our Baltic drive.

Bob had arranged breakfast for us all at the Pier Hotel in Harwich. He had been to the restaurant there before with Jim and Helen, two friends of ours from our various adventure drives with HERO.

The eight of us sat down, overlooking the harbour, and talked about our tour. Many stories were recalled and laughed over.

So this really was the final parting, as we said goodbye to Kenny and DeeAnne, who will be staying with Bob & Thelma for the next few days, before they fly back to the States next Monday. Farewells also to Eric and Lynn who were driving back to near Bristol. The great thing is we will be meeting up with them all, plus also Ahmad and Reza, at DeeAnne's birthday party, which is being held in a West London pub on Friday evening. There will also be many of DeeAnne and Kenny's friends from their drives with HERO at the party. It will be a great opportunity to say hello again to friends we have not seen for a long time.

The drive back to London was easy, apart from missing the turn-off for London from the M25 to the A2, because the road layout has totally changed since I last drove along the M25.  Then, in frustration at being held up by a broken-down truck on the slip road off the M25 for the A20, I took the wrong exit and turned off for Swanley!! I should have been using my navigator, Wendy, but I knew better!

We reached home at around 10am. We really have come to the end of a fantastic tour of thirteen European countries, including the UK. For those interested in some facts and statistics, here are the countries, in the order we drove through them from the beginning to the very end:

The Netherlands
(Sweden) for 100 metres!
The Netherlands

We have travelled a total distance of 5,933 miles. We have bought 1,140 litres of diesel, which has cost us 1,799 Euros, giving the Landcruiser an average fuel consumption of just under 24 mpg.

The five cars, and passengers, all made it. We had four major problems with the cars. First, there was the damage to Ahmad's Mercedes in the container from the US and then the fitting of a new intercooler in Berlin. Second, was Kenny filling his diesel car with petrol! Third, was Eric's Discovery's smashed window in Tallinn. Finally, Ahmad's Mercedes' fuel problem in Finland. Apart from these, we have had trouble-free motoring, which is pretty good when you realise the cars have travelled a total of just under 30,000 miles, which is 6,000 miles greater than the circumference of the Earth!!.

So, as usual to finish the blog -  the thank you's.

First, to Bob & Thelma who have now been on all of our 'private' drives. What wonderful friends they are. They really do make the drives very special for Wendy and me.

Second, to Kenny and DeeAnne. This is their second drive with us and their never-ending laughter is a tonic to us all. We will both miss them when they head back to their home in El Paso, Texas.

Third, to Ahmad and Reza, who overcame such awful problems with their car, but never let it bother them one bit. I wish I could be as relaxed as they are! We will miss their after-dinner jokes which always rounded off an evening so well.

Next to Eric and Lynn - we want to say how pleased we are that they decided, more or less at the last minute, to join us. To have ten like-minded people together for five weeks, has been a real pleasure for Wendy and me. As I have said before, how lucky we are.

Finally, I must not forget those who joined us as passengers. First, there was our passenger, Peter, who was with Wendy and me from Helsinki to Tromso. His encyclopaedic knowledge of geographic and scientific facts added another dimension to the drive. Thank you, Peter. Next to Gos, Ali and Darvish, who travelled with Ahmad and Reza. First, they picked up Ali in Paris, then Gos in Eindhoven and finally Darvish in Helsinki. He had flown over from England for the side trip to St. Petersburg. Thanks guys, for making the drive go even better than I thought possible. It was such a shame none of our passengers could stay longer.

Now, we are in the final planning phase of our next drive, which starts in September of this year and goes from St. John's, Newfoundland to Savannah, Georgia. Bob & Thelma are joining us and hopefully, Kenny and DeeAnne might do so too. I haven't yet thought of an appropriate name for my next blog, but rest assured I'll come up with something. We leave the UK on September 7th and the drive starts on September 12th.

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