Episode 1: From Switzerland to London

Let’s hit the road!

We left on Friday the 31st of July 2015 in early evening with Gisli, Joakim and of course “The Big Blue Whale”, my 1989 Volswagen LT31 van. Our first stop is Chavornay, a small village where we pick up Nils.

Our idea was to drive until late in the night and stop a few hours to sleep before getting back on the road to Calais’s harbour where we would take the ferry to Dovers in England. We avoided highways to save the cost of tolls… But anyway, our old van can’t really go faster than 90km/h.

Back on the road after a very short night, we decided to go as fast as possible to Calais because like always when we travel to France, we get lost following the GPS :). So we came up three hours late! Fortunately, when I booked the ferry I took the option to take the first ferry available within four hours before and after the reserved time.

The ferry is nice (for a short ride) but Gisli and Nils recommend you not to buy a coffee on board, it’s expensive and tastes bad. So think (and drink) coffee before getting on board! Finally, after searching for the van for a while, we left the “cave” as Joakim called it and took the road heading to Harpenden northwest of London where we would meet some friends.

Driving on the left side of the road was not much of a big deal, although I had to get use to the roundabouts and in my case I really needed a co-pilot: it was vital!

After a rather chilled evening eating, juggling and trying to throw (and catch) boomerang, we tried for the first time the two top beds that we made with Gisli, allowing us to have four comfortable beds to sleep on in the van. Good night!

We decided the next day to get to the center of London to meet some friends and see a little bit the city. We left the van in Harpenden and took the train (ouch, so expensive!). After a little sightseeing tour of Big Ben, London Eye and the River Thames we spent a good time in a parkour spot called “Baby 45” in Southbank.

At the end of the day hunger was calling us, we left Southbank to look for a Chinese buffet in… China Town obviously!

After much discussion we finally decided a place where we would eat, it’s quite cheap and it should be (normally) pretty good. However… it wasn’t that good, the taste was alright but it was so heavy and fat, after only a plateful and a half we were all stuffed with a not super happy stomach.

Back at the van we went straight to bed because we had to leave early the next morning to avoid paying the parking fees that start at 8:00am.

Next destination: no idea! The plan was to drive somewhere up north on the East Coast of England.

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