Alright. Here I am, lying in the bathtub of my room at an Inn close to Gatwick. How did I end up here?
Tuesday it all started. I received a call from a friend asking me to drive a car. My first thought at the time was “sure, where? Perhaps Stockholm?"
His reply made me think he was joking. He told me I needed to drive the car to Bristol, England, leaving Wednesday evening and arriving 09:00 in the morning on Friday. Sounds absurd doesn’t it?
I’m in between jobs this week though so, ah hell, let’s do it!
My co-driver Lars, he’s the one who drove the car to Sweden and so has made the trip before. Thin man with a massively big thick beard, if he would have been fat he could have been acting in the Hobbit.
We leave 2 hours later than expected on Wednesday and so arrive at Rødby in Denmark in the middle of the night. We miss the ferry by 3 minutes and have to wait an hour for the next one. But we’re looking forward to eating that big industrially fried fish fillet with remoulade sauce and fries! This keeps out hopes up!
When we get on the ferry the kitchen is closed. "It’s the middle of the night after all”. We get a dried sandwich with a slimy piece of salmon on it. Yummy..
When we get off the ferry we realize that we must sleep somewhere tonight. So we call and book a room at a hotel in Lübeck. We arrive there at 04:45 in the morning. Breakfast stops serving at 10:00. Dangit..
5 hours later we have the breakfast of our lives! It was like eating the divine grapes of Eden and drinking the tears of Angels. At least compared to the slimy salmon..
We drive on through Germany and we’re heading to my old hometown of Zwolle in the Netherlands. Why you ask? The answer is simple; Pancakes! There is a ship that serves pancakes in Zwolle and we’re heading for her! Sadly we realize they don’t open until 17:00 and we’ll be there at 16:00. We can’t afford to lose a whole hour. And just then! JUST THEN! We pass a magical place in the middle of nowhere, Peter Pans Pancake House!
After eating two huge pancakes we are hungry again, this time many hours later in Belgium. We talk about how we would love a piece of proper salmon, with potatoes and hollandaise and a nice sallad with that. We make dreams so big we can’t control ourselves so we head for a small town and park and walk around looking for food, it’s over 21 at night so not much is open. We walk past a pizzeria, thinking “do we really want pizza?” we decide to walk the street up and down and if we don’t find another place we’ll have pizza. But we do find another place, we enter a grill house, or a sewing factory, we’re not sure. Fabrics and needles and stuff everywhere and all the way in behind this are a few tables, and a grill. You’re not going to believe it but in this tiny place in this tiny town in tiny little Belgium the lady has something on her menu that makes us drool. Grilled salmon, with grilled potatoes, sallad and hollandaise.
We reach Calais 10 minutes late for the train so have to wait 2,5 hours for the next one, leaving at 02:30. A shame as we hoped to get a night at a hotel in Bristol but now there won’t be time.
We drive the car onto the train, fall asleep and wake up in England. Lars drives the rest of the way and my snoring keeps him company.
We get to Bristol at 5 in the morning. Problem is, the address for the tobacco factory is non-existant in Lars GPS (Lisbeth, or Bettan) and my GPS (Gunn) doesn’t wanna work at all. We do the incredible! We pull out MAPS. We’re going old school and we drive around for 45 minutes and then realize something, old school sucks donkey balls. We stop by the side of the road and by this time we are both really pissed off at England, we hate this place.
When we stand there I see a bunch of signs pointing in all directions by a bike route and on one of them I see it;
The Tobacco Factory
We get there at 06:00 in the morning. No one is there to pick up their equipment. We sleep for 3 hours in the car and then go to the tobacco factory. The theatre group is there and they empty the van. We rest on the couch, half-sleeping.
I drive to the station in Bristol and Lars gets off here, he’s taking the train to Manchester. Now I’m in the car alone, only Bettan (who I got to borrow) and Gunn to keep my company. The wheel is on the wrong side of the car which is on the wrong side of the road. First thing I do is make a right turn (which, in England, is sort of like signing your own death warrant), it starts to rain like crazy, and that’s when I realize; I hate this country.
Everything goes smooth until I reach Feltham. Bettan has the wrong end destination and Hertz themselves give me the wrong address for Gunn.
I don’t know how to describe the next hour without filling this blog with bad words and curses but let’s wrap it all up into: I hate this country.
I finally leave the car at Hertz, top up my Oyster card and start moving toward Camden where I’m going to meet my friend Roni for lunch. Or in my case breakfast.. Because I haven’t eaten yet..
I hate this country..
I didn’t bring a jacket since Sweden is summertime warm nowadays and I thought London would be the same. I was wrong, I am cold and I’m wet.
Finally I reach Camden. I move up the escalators and walk past a 6 foot blond hottie, that’s Roni! We go to InSpiral, best vegan place in Camden and I get to eat and drink a hot chocolate. A lady tries to photograph Roni, Roni answers by giving her the finger, walks up to her and says “don’t point your camera at me without asking please”. We go back to our meals and before we’ve finished the lady comes up to us and apologizes and says she’s a very peaceful person and didn’t mean any harm. She says it was nice to have met us both and wishes us a good weekend. Positive effect, hopefully the lady learned something.
Roni and I are taking the train to London Bridge, problem is, Roni never travels during rush hour (no sane person does if they can avoid it) so the train we get on doesn’t stop at London Bridge. 45min later we get off and take the empty train back. This was a relaxing trip where we discuss the LGBTQ of different countries, wonderful chat! I also realize we’re lucky in Sweden to have such common sense as we do. We also discussed how great the Word “hen” is in swedish.
When we get home Roni cooks lasagne for me and her boyfriend Rob, we watch Prometheus on their HUGE television but I fall asleep after 20min so we turn off and go to bed. Rob fixes a huge air bed for me in the living room whilst I try to stay awake in the couch. There is a leak in the air bed but Rob fixes it with some tape. Sleepy time, such a comfy air bed.
I wake up on the floor 7 hours later, turns out he didn’t fix the leak..
Roni and Rob had free tickets to ComicCon so in the morning we’re off to Geek Central and it is AWESOME!
I got this urge to get a tv so I can play my old video games again!
After ComicCon we meet up with Ron’s friend Adrian and go for dinner at another wonderful vegan restaurant! Lovely! We chat a lot about the taxes in Sweden and England and the movements of fascist/nazi parties and the anti-movements that follow them. Good conversation.
I buy the 24th book of the Horus Heresy series, called Betrayal about the World Eaters and Word Bearers and of course my favorite Primarch, Magnus the Red, is in it as well! It’s about they way these chapters betray the…
Oh sorry, it got a little geeky there. We went to geek central The Forbidden Planet and that’s where I bought the book.
I then caught the bus to the train that took me here. It’s been a long few days.
My cab leaves at 05:00 in the morning… I hate England..but I love London.
Here’s Roni and Rob outside ComicCon in the sunshine. Love you guys and thanks for letting me spend the night! :)