Testing Europe, the Bruce way

 

The sun was shining. The boys were ready. Bruce was prepped. It was time to adventure.

4250 miles. 11 Countries. 1 Land Rover

Context is definitely needed for that sentence to make any sense at all. Bruce is my Land Rover Defender 110 Van. The boys are myself and two of my engineering mates from University. The sun, well in England it was shining. It must be an omen. We were prepared for the journey of our lifetime, driving 4250 miles across 11 countries. And that was what it was, a journey of a lifetime across a continent. Im not going to bore you with the day to day account of our epic adventure, Calais was terrible, but here are a collection of one liners some funny and some not so funny, for my own sake as much as for yours!

“Calais is terrible” – just in case you didn’t get it first time.

France is actually surprisingly nice, I have to say it might even have been one of my favourite countries on our adventure. There was mountains, beautiful beaches, lovely people, interesting towns and many more great things. However, they are fairly terrible drivers and when you spend a significant proportion of your time in a vehicle well that can make a big impact.

Tents can make a wonderful water bed, all you need is a thunder storm and a flooded pitch, just make sure there isn’t a towel on the top of the tent as it will collapse it. This happened and it wasn’t that fun at the time, it made me wish that I had a rooftop tent. Or at least something that meant we weren’t sleeping on the ground. Thankfully the tent only let a small amount of water in but at 1am that wasn’t that fun.

Crashing is learning. Mainly about how close the wall is in a Monaco carpark. Again, yes, this happened. It also was the person who didn’t own the vehicle which was meant it was an interesting day for emotions…

Monaco on a budget

The Monaco Crash scene ^

Maps on the vehicle mean friends. Beers also mean friends. Land Rovers also mean friends. But hostels don’t necessarily mean friends.

“Italy…”

The roads in Italy are shit, wait sorry no I mean the worst roads I’ve ever driven on, I wouldn’t want to offend anyone.

Italian drivers

Franco was in the Mafia. Franco was the man that we stayed with on the top of a mountain near the Italian Rivera, he invited us into is home and immediately gave us the best coffee we has even drank. Swiftly followed by a quick grapper and then we were friends! He house was perfect and we walked the mountains around it the following day. The only thing was we were terrified of him. The first morning we were there we were woken up by Franco literally screaming at him wife and she just took it. On some more detailed exploration of the house we found that two of the doors had been kicked in so that they no longer shut. So obvious conclusion; Franco was in the Mafia.

Land Rover in the Italian Riviera Italian Mountain Roads Airbnb Travel in Italy

Austria. Just Austria. Stunning. Lakes and mountains and coffee and cake and lovely people.

Sustainable Austria Travel

“Epic.”

Slovakia is Epic. Country lanes and rolling hills. We only spent a day in Slovakia as it was on the way to Budapest but it was spectacular.

Slovakian Roads are Incredible

Andorra. Just Andorra. Visit there.

Andorran Mountains in a Land RoverBeautiful Church in Andorra

Bruce needs some upgrades, this is the paragraph to skip if your not into cars. Bruce is a legend I think we have already established that, you will especially know if you follow @escap_aid on Instagram. But he does need a few finishing touches in a few areas. To start, the steering wobble above 60mph (100kph) is terrible and there is a main prop shaft wobble that could shake the best spine to pieces. Bruce also has no large indoor spaces to relax in during rain and sun, homemade awning here we come. I think the home made route is going to be a popular one here as I cant afford to do anything else! Bruce also needs somewhere to sleep that isn’t on the ground, flood story being great evidence. The homemade pop top is the dream as it turns bruce into a mobile office but a rooftop tent would also work too. Some inside storage wouldn’t go a miss either as its a nightmare trying to pack and unpack everything every day.

“Florence, still on my bucket list.”

The friends you travel with are forever so its not worth falling out over Florence, still on my bucket list.

And finally, these journeys are temporary. But, in a cliched way, the memories are forever and you will always lust after the adventure….