Saturday, February 24, 2007

T-6 days

Preparations for our marathon journey are well under way for departure on March 1st. I'm not feeling rushed or particularly stressed by it, as the itinerary has grown quite organically.

In addition to the wonderful support I've been getting for the Norwegian & Swedish sections of the journey, I've had some great tips for Italy, Croatia and Poland. The latest itinerary is posted above. Anything after mid-Croatia is still pending, and the higher the numbered label is, the more conjectural regarding dates; our path through the bottom half of Sweden is particularly open to change.

After having the car serviced last week, I had the misfortune to get a puncture in one of the new tyres, Chris hearing the ominous sound just before we drove onto the M4.

Because sourcing an identical one was problematic, I ended up having to replace both on one axle, but at least I now have a better spare. I also trawled around for locking wheel nuts and a better wheel brace to handle emergencies. For other auto emergencies, I've just been told of the Aussie product below, but I doubt if it's available locally:

Start Ya Bastard

Bondi went in for a service as well today, to make sure that he's got his arthritis medication and some worm tablets for the trip. I managed to get him onto some scales and was surprised and gratified to see that he's down to about 65kg. Let's hope his hosts over the next few months don't spoil him too much. Packing a practical amount of dry food for him is one of the biggest space issues.

My International Driver's Permit arrived from Australia, which is probably an unnecessary piece of paperwork, but worth it for peace of mind. I hope no border bureaucrat is anal about my license being Australian and car registration being British. I could happily drive on my Australian registration plates over here except that I couldn't insure the vehicle. The UK re-registration allows the insurance cover which I don't get with my travel insurance.

Final steps involve distilling clothes, books, maps, paperwork down to manageable quantities. Everything is being examined for utility - how many Euro/UK power leads vs adaptors do I need etc.

The only thing that is still annoying is that I can't top up my O2 mobile pay-and-go account from Europe ( apart from a small number of places on my route ) since they won't accept non-UK credit cards for online use. Their suggestion of transferring money to a UK account is extremely expensive and impractical. More thought required here.

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