Our trip to Scotland
Overall I have to say this was the most desastrous trip in the last years that I have been on. Not only got we robbed on the way up, our truck got broken into on the way home also - in Germany of all places. We have been in many countries in the 'Wild East' and never ever have we had any problems. Not even in eastern Hungary, close to the Ukrainian/Romanian border! Our police in Austria was just only shocked when I talked to them today. They would never have expected something like that - and twice on one trip is most unusual.
On our way to Scotland we had four dogs in our camper: one red and white setter and three Hungarian vizslas, one of which is well trained for hunting. We spent the night at a rest area/service station in Belgium. The place was well lit and there were several trucks around us. In fact, we parked right at a big light. When we woke up in the morning we were slightly dizzy, had a headache, a sore throat and our eyes itched a lot. Archies eyes were in a bad shape and he did not want to go out but just wanted to sleep. Found that quite strange and all of a sudden I noticed that there was something wrong: the doors at the front were not locked, our mobile phones and my camera bag and equipement were missing. The police came and told us we had probably been drugged and the dogs also, as they had made no sound at night, but in the evening and in the morning, as soon as the police entered our truck, they were going berserk. Archie did not move. He had spent the night on the driver's seat and probably got the worst of it all. But other than that he seemed to be fine.
After reporting everything and sorting ourselves out again we went on, to find ourselves in a major storm - a lot of fun with a camper van and 3 metres solid high board! The boarding for the Channel crossing was fine, everything was okay - all microchips where they should be, all shots correctly done and the lady at the border was most pleased to find someone who had their stuff in perfect order. The crossing itself was fine, but we were slightly late because of the storm.
The trip up to Nottinghamshire, where the first dog got handed over, was smooth and fast. The campsite, where we spent the night, was absolutely great as still OPEN!
The next day we went up to Carlisle, where the two other vizslas got handed over to their new owner. Again a fine trip, no problems, no wind, just smooth travelling. We spent the night at some service area, but no problems at all as they are usually under police survaillance.
After one uneventful night we went up to see Margaret. And of course, the weather changed, it got windy, cold and the rain started. Absolutely lovely if you go into the mountains, trust me, not a tonic for people like me with heart problems. Crossing the bridge into Margarets driveway is an adventure of its own and I would not advise it to anyone with weak nerves. Bruce's nerves are better than mine, I have to admit and he did the driving just so great! So Archie was finally home again. And not sure if he was going to stay or going to leave again.
After long chats, seeing all the dogs and admiring Geraldines puppies, supper more chats and a good nights sleep we went up to Inverness to see our 85 years old Uncle Bill, who was ever so happy to see us again. And we were so happy to finally get into his driveway and out of the wind (storm?). That day was Bruce's birthday - what a way to spend ones birthday - driving through the storm!
Two days later, being well rested and having left some money in the stores of Inverness, we started on our trip back.
On our trip home we had planned to meet Evie at some service station that we were not able to find. I am really sorry about it as I had wanted to see Fergal so much. I was quite impressed by Sandy looking exactly like Archie, and Archie is my great love. When we left him with Margaret he was not sure if he would go back or had to stay. He was prancing around our truck door, it was almost funny but very sad to see the old boy so unsure of what was going to happen. I am sure he is where he belongs now and is going to stay there forever. Sad as I may be about it I also know where he belongs.
We will be over sometime next year, we are not sure when though - will it be Crufts, the EuroDog and the Festival, I don't know if we will attend any, honestly. You can quite imagine why!
Monday evening we reached Dover, the ferry was booked for Tuesday night, but we had heard there would be some strike on at the docks, so we tried our luck and it worked. We got on the ferry on Monday without extra cost. We got in and out of Belgium without any more problems. and that was were our short luck ended again. At some service area south of Frankfurt someone wrecked the second lock on our camper and broke in, stole Bruces fleece jacket and thermo vest and one empty wallet, and apparently the motor of the window on the driver's side was also messed up.
Did I say the trip was a desaster - well I have to correct myself: it was a f****** desaster!
From Frankfurt down the trip was quite okay again. We did run into some detour though, that cost us over and hour! Well, there wasn't anything that could happen still, that hadn't happened already!
I did get my mobile phone replaced today - not the phone itself but the sim card, the phone is an insurance thing - boy, I am fed up with all that crap that I am up to now. All that insurance stuff is most annoying and nerve racking. My houshold insurance should cover the things from the robbery, but the car insurance should cover the damage to the truck and then there is the travel insurance from my visa gold card, that should also cover some - but who will do what?????? Better wish me luck on this adventure, that will be some expedition into the jungle of insurance companies - as I also intend to settle something on the master card. So between the three of them I should be getting all my things replaced although the camera I had is no longer on the market and the equivalent is a LOT of money....... cross your fingers please!