Tuesday, June 12, 2007

So sure, they named it twice!

How does the song go about about the little fishies? They swam and they swam, all over the dam. Today I drove and I drove all over the damn map: 800 km/500 miles from Prague to the village of Esch-sur-Sûre in the north of Luxembourg.

It was about 9 hours end-to-end, with half an hour swallowed up at the Eastern Czech/German border where the Czech police fine everybody who comes through without a road toll vignette, that they don't sell or advertise when you enter the country (there was no Czech border control at all when I came from the north). Just to lower the tone of the whole operation even further you get a spiel of "the maximum fine is X, but today's special, because you're a tourist is Y", and then they have a currency change desk which gives you a worse rate than the street touts in Prague.

One of the German(?) police seemed to think he was onto the crime of the century or something because a person with an Aussie passport was travelling with a UK-registered car. I'm sure a slightly roadworn right-hand drive Renault is going to do serious damage to the local Trabant market. After dealing with the Czech policeman, I found a cluster of officials (and random observers) around my car going over my UK rego sticker with magnifying glasses - look at this barcode, and the perforated border, see here ... - Criminology 101 meets the high school philately club.

So, we got finally reached our hotel, bypassing Luxembourg city completely. All dog-friendly options there were either booked out or outrageously, I mean outrageously expensive. The hotel in Esch-sur-Sûre has a quite cheap room rate, with a high dog cleaning surchage of 13€ although the total is so low that wouldn't matter, except the bathroom drains obviously have serious reflux problems. Phewww. Just as well I pack Nilodor.

So this is country #31* for Bondi, and very likely the last addition to his collection. The only countries in Europe (west of Romania) that he hasn't visited are Portugal, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Vatican City and San Marino. The latter 4 mini-countries were just a little too awkward to fit into the schedule. Portugal is the only Schengen country that requires a special visa for Australians so that got omitted, as they would probably be like France and Spain, and demand that I have an interview in Australia for a tourist visa. Oh, yes there's Iceland, but that is not on pet passport permitted list, and would undoubtedly require an expensive flight in and out.
*I'm not counting the 2 he transited without an overnight stay: Singapore and Bosnia.


  1. Anonymous5:35 am

    why will this be Bondi's last country? Are you going home now, is he not coming with you anymore? I'll miss his pictures!

  2. It will be his last new country as he will be going back to Australia at the end of the year with me. For the next 6 months he will still be entertaining eveyone with his farewell tour of the UK - assuming no hitches when we try to re-enter on Thursday.


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