So we’re on the road on the continent and thus begins the great 40 hour sleepless haul to Romania where we are promised food and a cold beer – and even the possibility of Wi-Fi. This means traversing Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary and about 5 miles of Romania.
This is a long way.
At around 17:30 we got stuck in a traffic jam on the Brussels ring road and viaduct and then again near Luiz – turns out that they have the same problems that we do, just on the other side of the road! They also have potholes and endless roadworks – another myth dispelled.
I look took over the driving again at around 8pm just before Aachen and the German border. Drove my shift of about 250km to Warzberg. Saw Frankfurt airport and the new KPMG building which was pretty amazing.
Whilst driving on the autobahn couldn’t get away from a town called Ausfart, every few kilometres (yes kilometres – when in Rome etc) there was an arrow with ‘Ausfart’ printed next to it. Bloody big place Ausfart we thought – but this turned out to be the german word for ‘exit’. Stopped at the worst smelling truck stop where the ground was covered in piss and a couple of inches of shit – owing to a 0.70c charge to use the toilet. Decided that I’d pay the charge and had a nice wee.
Just after 07:00 I continued driving and entered Austria, stopped off for a €7 road tax disc, the lorry had to pay over €200 for something called a go-box- the heavens opened and it rained all the way through Austria – ruining our view of what was probably a really pretty looking country. I was extremely tired and so we switched drivers just after Wein in the afternoon.
I had a nap and woke up on the Hungarian border. Stopped off at a really nice looking service station that didn’t stink of piss. Resisted the temptation to buy some rather tasty looking salami and salad sandwiches – paid 0.50c for the toilet -it seems that they’re getting cheaper after peaking in Austria. The quality was outstanding, automatic sliding doors, mood lighting, fresh cut flowers and relaxing music. Weird. Turns out that they have Dyson hand dryers in Hungary. Good tech travels far.
Incidentally, when we passed through the Hungarian border the sign said ‘Magyar’ as we were all a bit delirious by this point there was a small debate about exactly what country Magyar might be. My geography skills are pretty reasonable and I know my EU countries and I was damn sure Magyar wasn’t one of them. Turns out of course that Magyar is the Hungarian word for Hungary? I wonder if it annoys them that everyone else calls their country something completely different to its actual name?