Travelling with treasure: an epic courier journey (Part 2)October 29, 2012 Blogs
Here is the second installment in Nickos Gogolos journey to Russia.
Day 2: After five hours sleep, I don’t want to miss breakfast. It is still raining heavily and I catch up with my emails.
11.30am: The drivers arrive and we set off for the next chunk of the trip, 420 miles from Brussels to Travelmunde. Today’s count of countries – three: Belgium, Holland, Germany
I stopped by a nearby supermarket and stocked up on supplies as I am warned that the food offer ahead of us can hardly be described as appetising. Are the drivers too pessimistic, fussy, or simply experienced? I decided not to take a chance; after all we have a small fridge on board. I take my seat and start writing this blog. Needless to say, the Lower Countries are very flat and the Autobahn is long, unremarkable…
We have not driven for an hour, the phone rings and we find out that our preceding truck got stuck yesterday at Travelmunde for seven hours waiting for the ferry (yes, the ferry…to Helsinki!). I decide to think positively. Besides, in a short while we drive in Germany and the signs point towards places that bring to mind memories from the summer of 1994, my stint at a German language school. Duisburg, Essen, Hannover, Bremen: so many places, so many art museums – what a brilliant month that was!
10.30pm: We arrive at the port of Travelmunde. We park in what seems like a huge lot for multi-coloured, multi-national trucks waiting for their containers to arrive from the north Baltic, before they start their journeys dispersing goods to the four corners of Europe.
Our ferry, which will cross the Baltic Sea on its way from here to Helsinki, is due to depart at 3am. But there is a port workers’ strike, things move slowly and there may be a delay.
We hit the tax free shop that sells alcohol and chocolates to mostly Finnish and Russian truck drivers. I take photographs of the vodka bottles in the shape of Kalaschnikov firearms complete with packing case (!) and choose a small bottle of the Finnish product with Nordic berries, which is more to my taste. We then head back to the truck to watch Ice Age 4 with Dutch subtitles. We laugh at the same funny scenes and we bond over cans of a grapefruit-flavoured fizzy drink that Kees bought earlier.
1.30am: We board the ferry, the drivers plug the truck’s A/C system into the ferry’s main electricity supply and we head for our cabins.