See some bridges. I like bridges.
I already said bridges, didn’t I?
Given that I’m an IT contractor (so only get paid on the days I actually work), I won’t be taking weeks off for this journey — I expect around 10 days, hopefully fitting around a bank holiday to minimise the days that I’m not earning. Realistically, that probably means I’ll only be able to tackle Northern Europe on this trip (if I do need to do the follow up after the Brexit ‘implementation period’ then Southern Europe can be tackled then).
A quick look at next year’s calendar reveals that the wisest use of bank holidays would be the 2 weeks that has Good Friday, Easter Monday and Early May Bank Holiday (19/04–06/05) inclusive. That’s 18 days off (when I’d only have gotten paid for 10 of them anyway). My cat will never forgive me.
First choice I made here was that I wanted to do this trip in a car, not on a bike. I’ve done the bike thing… maybe a little TOO much — I have a small collection of motorcycles and have done plenty of European trips on a bike. Truth be told, out of my collection of bikes I have ~3 that would be “good” candidates — but bikes are pretty similar these days so there’s not much in it, and I’m not the kind of rider to get my knee down anyway.
I’ve only a handful of times done a substantial European trip in a car, and like the idea of not being significantly bothered by the weather, and having creature comforts like air conditioning on a half decent sat nav.
I’d normally do around 250 miles per day if I was on a bike, I expect this to be closer to 400 miles per day in a car. I usually only spend half a day travelling — the other half is spent exploring wherever I end up at the end of that day’s travel.
My usual method to work out where I’ll be staying is pretty boring, TBH. Ride or drive in a direction I like the look of until I get bored, pull over, get my phone out, go on Hotels.com (other websites are available…), find a half decent hotel that’s not too far off the direction I’m going, go there.
Additionally, part of the challenge of this trip is to find out how much additional hassle I get as a Brit — being in a car provides more opportunity for any police/border guard to stop/block me if they wish to. On a bike, it’s a smaller object to notice, it’s easier to ride around any blockages and the only clue that it’s a British bike is the number plate (on the back) — which you can’t see that until the bike has already passed.
Ofcourse, if I’m going to be driving some of Europe’s best driving roads I’m going to have to be driving one of the best drivers cars, because “obviously you can’t go looking for the best driving road in the world in a Japanese hatchback or a people carrier”(Richard Hammond, Top Gear S10E01)— so essentially, this is a DIY version of The Gumball 3000, but without the $100,000 entry fee. And without the parties, the other cars and drivers, and the hot girls.
OK, in retrospect, in most ways it’s NOT like The Gumball 3000, but you get the idea.
In the next instalment I’ll talk about my selection criteria for the car that I’ll be taking, and those that have made it onto the shortlist.
Hmm… it seems Google Maps doesn’t like Medium. I’ll find a way to fix this (or use an alternative by my next post)