Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - Spain - added by Steve

The immense size of Songololo starts to sink in... Arriving at the ferry we're told we are in the wrong place as we are clearly a commercial truck and should be with the other truckers! After assuring the ferry operators that Songololo is in fact a campervan, we have to pay a surcharge because they claim we exceed the recognised dimensions of a campervan... the cheek! That said, I have my suspicions this may become a bit of a recurring theme! We're also the last vehicle onto the ferry after having been one of the first to arrive. Perhaps, after seeing just how much crap we'd brought along, they were scared we'd sink the whole ferry?

At last we're on board. The Pride of Bilbao this ferry may be named, but luxury cruiseliner she is not! Flinging open the curtains in our cabin we're greeted with a blank wall! We desert the cabin, intent on finding more sumptious surroundings from which to watch Britain slip away. Armed with a celebratory drink, we get to watch about 2 minutes of the departure before the curtains are drawn and to our horror, disco lights came on and five performers emerge onto a stage clad in pink spandex with feathers on their butts! With voices more reminiscent of crows than canaries, they proceed to murder several Broadway hits before we flee to our windowless bolthole!

Accompanied by the blue-rinse brigade and chavs on a ciggie-run, we eventually arrive in Spain - not a moment too soon! A little too anxious to escape, we almost end the journey before we've even begun by taking a 180 degree turn onto the freeway forgetting we have 9 tonnes of momentum pushing us in the wrong direction! At least we made it to Spain hey?! Travesty narrowly avoided we get to Bilbao where we must pick up a guide for Spain, as the entirety of our planning has been focused on Africa, and somewhere along the line we forgot we have an entire country to cross first! After heading down several 3.5 tonne limit side roads during rush hour and almost taking out half of Bilboa's car wing mirrors, we realise our approach to driving is going to have to take Songie's rugged and beafy appearance into account! (Please don't forget she has sensitive side too though!)

Back at the car park there's a knock on the door, and lo and behold, two other overlanders, Jo and John (thereandback2seehowfaritis ) have found us. Having swapped itineraries online before the trip we realised we'd miss eachother the whole way, but with the nature of these things there's always a chance we'd bump into them somewhere in Africa, so I'd said "look out for the *@!&$ massive blue truck!" My description of Songololo was clearly pretty accurate!

We have renamed our GPS "Crack Whore Garmin" because she is clearly suffering from some form of addiction and the associated withdrawal symptoms. More often than not she loses track of our location and sends us down tiny side streets to random destinations which seem to have no bearing on where we're actually headed! After multiple narrow side streets several more wing mirrors are almost abducted and numerous angry shouts are received from locals. Deciding caution is the better part of valour, we eventually give up on locating a campsite and find ourselves spending the first night of our African adventure in a car park, nervously awaiting a knock from the local police telling us to move on!

Spain has been a great introduction to the trip, as we still find ourselves in the First World and thus able to locate any last minute items we deem to be vital to our success in Africa. Why we need anything more is beyond me though, as we have left a veritable Hansel and Gretel trail of junk behind us as we discard numerous things which neither of us can fathom why were brought along in the first place! Unfortunately time hasn't been on our side, as we have been aiming to meet up with a British biker Nick who will be joining us on our trip as far as the Gambia. In order to meet him in time, and to have Songie ready for the rigours of Africa, we have for the most part forsaken sight-seeing in favour of getting ourselves more and more sorted. We think we have accomplished this and now feel ready to take on Africa... we can't wait!


1 .
Shall we say "told you so"!" We also left a trail of excess stuff behind us to the joy of many campsite staff! We are in Mabilingwe in the Waterberg - very rygged hilly country which isn't all that conducive to game viewing and there isn't all that much game here anyway due to the size and carrying capacity of the park, but it is great to be in the bush anyway. Going to De Wildt Cheetah Research Station this afternoon which should be interesting. Love you! Mumsie
Mum - 18 Oct 2008, 8:29
2 .
My motto is keep everything that could be of some use;but there again you have seen my wardrobe.We haven't had any news since 15/10,presume you have been busy learning the vehicles foibles.I hope that you will be somewhere reasonable on celebrate in style.
Gran - 20 Oct 2008, 15:17
3 .
hey guys...sounds like its been such an adventure already and you've only just started. things here continue to remain the same :) look forward to reading the next installment.
Gareth - 24 Oct 2008, 18:48

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