If you are one of those -obviously super cool – people who never plan their journey then this is for you. Some people call us lazy but I prefer to think of it as pure awesomeness. Recently this pure awesome lead to another incredible (and totally accidental) adventure. At the start of the journey, all I had was a bus ticket and the vague idea of travelling to Amsterdam. Luckily my friends are far better at planning than me and so by the time I arrived they had already decided my itinerary (told you being lazy pays off). This is a super quick guide for those seeking patchy EU inspiration.
Five countries, one car and a tent… What better way to start your travels?
1 – Start as you mean to go on
Return home from your pre-holiday holiday – prep is everything – seven hours before you are set to leave for your adventure. Accidentally arrive during a surprise birthday party and end up frantically packing everything you own at 3 am.
Top tip: Order a massive delivery of clothes to arrive the day before you leave. These babies arrive already clean and folded so all you need to do isshove them in your bag. Plus who doesn’t love dungarees?!?
2 – Make it complicated
When booking my travel to Brussels all I had in mind was the price. This is why I ended up spending a million hours on the slowest bus in the universe. Honestly, how can a bus be an hour late when it starts fresh at Victoria coach station? Although the first journey was bad, boring & traffic heavy it had nothing on the return trip! Catching the bus at midnight (it was late again) at the end of a week on the road only to be informed that instead of the train this bus is taking the ferry. Roll on 4 am when everyone bails out of the coach while I desperately try to remember which deck we parked on and memorise the face of my coach driver. If this wasn’t bad enough we finally reach London and our driver gets lost, resulting in a merry cruise circling the bus station and passing my house three times…
Top tip: Don’t cry with rage and exhaustion as your bus driver merrily heads in the wrong direction
3 – Have amazing friends
From Brussels to Brugge he drove. From Brugge (via the beach – obviously) to a campsite somewhere in Holland he drove. From a campsite somewhere in Holland to Copenhagen (via a £110 45 minute Ferry ride and a couple of Hitchhikers) he drove. From Copenhagen -via many bridges to avoid the ferry extortion) to Hamburg he drove. And finally, from Hamburg to Brussels he drove. This does not include a trip back to Germany on either end of this Journey.
Over 1500 Miles he drove…. whilst I held the sandwiches.
When the maps become a blur after 13 straight hours
Top tip: Eye-spy gets really boring after the 500th mile/ 4th hour in traffic…
4 – Have more amazing friends
Arrive in Copenhagen grumpy, fidgety and smelly only to be greeted by two wonderful people who have (possibly stupidly) agreed to let you stay in their grown-up apartment in the city. If possible make sure they are going away so you can completely steal their flat while they’re gone….. even though it was lovely to see them of course! (Thanks, guys ❤)
Wishing you had taken more interesting photos
Top tip: Balconies are awesome
5 – Eat Cake
Head out to town with the best intentions of sightseeing and exploring a new city. Get a fancy looking map from the tourist office. Three hours later you’re lost, tired and eating cake in a tiny cafe and gazing wistfully at the boats on the canal next to you.
Jealous of a dog….This guy is living the dream
Top tip: Copenhagen is a great place to people watch. Also, check out the food markets!
6 – Do it properly
Wake up late after a long -vodka-fueled – conversation about how you are both going to get up early and fully immerse yourself in Copenhagen to make up for your lazy failings of the day before. Bumble down to your, now usual, local sandwich and coffee shop for a quick (£12 sandwich & coffee) breakfast. Start your tourist experience by catching the boat taxi to really get into the spirit of things. Forget where to get off the boat… walk a million miles further than needed. Finally, find the little mermaid statue and try to take photos – without other tourists in. Wander through the park and the old town ogling windmills and beautiful quirky buildings. Decide to walk home…. this takes about 3 hours…Its cold and the grumbles are coming on…. then your phone breaks so the German has to preform emergency techy surgery.
Que photo montage:
Top tip: Copenhagen is bigger than you think… following the river home is not a good idea.
7. Take it easy
Spend your day planning the awesome evening out you’re gonna have. In reality, buy a whole load of food, cook a massive dinner and spend the evening drinking vodka while weaving survival bracelets – don’t ask.
Top tip: When making salad be sure to make too much.
8 – Party (finally)
Leave Copenhagen later in the day than planned. Drive to Hamburg and find the weirdest campsite you can (seriously it was just someone’s back garden filled with caravans). Head into town for the party you’ve both been dreaming of. Find yourself four hours later, sitting by the harbour – mid-DMC – gazing at the boats with the local beer in hand. Get exceptionally, disgustingly merry. Lose yourself in the horrible tube system – rage. GIve up on the tube & splash out on a taxi and KO.
Top tip: You have to find the scariest pub in Hamburg and try a Mexikaner – they are life changing amazingness (tomato juice & Vodka – like a bloody mary only stronger and more awesome!)
9 – Regret
Wake up after your big night out with a stonking hangover and a patchy memory of the night before. Heave yourself out of the tent and roll it up “like a sausage” keeping all the bedding inside. Chuck everything in the car and set off. Cram in a McDonald’s breakfast. 2 hours into your journey realise that you are both exhausted and slightly sicky. Take a detour resulting in a nap in a wood next to a field of corn somewhere in Germany. Arise refreshed. Power through to Holland for another service station dinner.
Top tip: McDonald’s breakfast three times in a week is an awful idea. Also, they have awesome hot chocolate in Dutch service stations.
10 – Leave
Abandon the German at the bus station and bundle yourself back into the coach. Wish you had coffee – especially when you reach border control at 2 am and spend two hours shuffling through cues.
Dreaming of liquid power
Top tip: To add that extra excitement to your trip to catch the bus realise that your chauffer’s fuel gauge is in the red… watch and panic internally as he continues to drive for another hour. His cheery “it’ll be fine, I know my car”s chirping at you periodically while you try not to gnaw your arm off with stress…
I hope you have enjoyed this whirlwind tour of my whirlwind tour. All I can say is, if you haven’t been on a Euro road trip then you really should! Also, Dungarees are the ultimate travel companion.
Feel free to get in touch if you have any Euro trips you would like to share.