Kiri and


A little bit cheeky?

October 17th, 2015 (by Steve)

Bertha is on the move once again. It was only this time last year that we sold her on for £5300 (a fair price considering the potential damp rear under the bathroom), then we saw she was on Gumtree in April for around £7000 (we assume the new owner fixed the potential damp rear under the bathroom), and now she’s on Gumtree again, listed by someone else for an cheeky £9000! We’re also intrigued that she now averages 25mpg – we travelled 11878 miles in her and she averaged just over 20 miles per gallon. And this is what she’s looking like now:


WARNING: The rest of this blog post is mainly about baby wipes. For those of you looking forward to reading a blog post about motorhoming, we suggest you head in the direction of, as Julie + Jason have just set out again on exciting travels. We won’t be offended if you unsubscribe from this blog!

Right, now we’ve got that out of the way, we can get properly started. We’re parents. You know when you enter a foreign land for the first time, you don’t really understand the culture or language? Well it feels like a bit like that… only when we were travelling, we had the luxury of being able to observe a little before participating. So we’re very much in the stage of looking like tourists, being culturally insensitive, talking slowly and loudly when we’re not understood and generally blundering about the place, probably insulting people’s Mums. But hey, there has been some progress over the last few weeks – at least we’re doing it all with confidence now rather than tentatively and filled with fear like we were at the start.


Once I acknowledged that we were undergoing a recalibration of our lives to a new baseline of existence, it all kind of became easier. Our lives were flipped from being at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to right at the bottom, where life revolves around bodily fluids (input and output) and sleep (or lack thereof), with a little bit of work for added distraction. We are very much indebted to friends and family for their support and a big shout out goes to our church family who provided hot meals for us in the very early days – we felt extravagantly blessed.

“But what about the baby wipes?”, I hear you ask (my hearing has become very keen since having a child, you see!). “You said this blog post was mainly about baby wipes”. It’s ok – here it is.

We’re learning fast that baby wipes form a crucial part of parenthood. At the moment, their usage is solely in the context of nappy changes, but we know from parents with slightly older children that they’re essential for mucky hands and faces too. Now we’re trying to carry through our “green” living into family life and chucking wipes away regularly doesn’t sit well with us. We’re aware that you can get biodegradable wipes, but as we’d inherited some Cheeky Wipes (thanks J+J) we thought we’d start with those.

Basically, they’re reusable baby wipes. You’ve got one tupperware with water (infused with lavender for freshness) containing fresh flannels and another tupperware with water (infused with tea tree oil which has antibacterial qualities) for the used flannels. Once the second tupperware is full, you bung all of the Cheeky Wipes in the washing machine, then start over again. Such a simple system and it feels good to re-use something rather than throw it in the bin.


Even from a cost point of view we’re winning. At the time of writing, you can get a 12 pack of 64 baby wipes for £7 from Boots – that’s 768 wipes at just under a penny each (0.91p). The Cheeky Wipes kit is currently available online for £40. With a very conservative estimate of using 10 wipes per day (as I type we have more than that on the washing line from one day), after 440 days the Cheeky Wipes will have paid for themselves and we will have saved 4400 baby wipes from going in the bin and ending up in an incinerator or landfill. I call that a win.

I haven’t been paid to spread the word about re-usable baby wipes – in fact I don’t see why you couldn’t replicate the system with some cheap towels that you’ve cut up and spare tupperware. However, they’ve been such a success for us that I’m keen to spread the word. Saying that though, if you are inspired to buy some, you can get 15% off your first order by buying Cheeky Wipes via this link, and we get £5 off our next order. Oh wait, I’ve just read the small print, and you’ve got to spend over £40. Maybe not the good offer I thought it was.

In any case, cheekiness awaits!

Posted in Bertha, Children | 3 Comments »

New life

April 6th, 2015 (by Steve)

Easter. The day that we remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us and try to get our heads around the fact that he conquered death, so that we might have eternal life with Him. Awesome stuff. Also, this year it was the day that we heard that Bertha has been given a facelift and is on the market once again. We have to say we’re a little surprised that her new owners have decided to sell her on so soon, but she’s looking good.

Photo credits: top two are ours, bottom two are taken from the advert

When we were Bertha’s caretakers we were wary of making to many changes to the outside of her; mainly because we were cautious about damaging her seals. However, we also didn’t want to make her look too attractive to thieves on our travels (which worked out well for us, as we had no break-ins!). However, her new owners look to have done a great job on her; from the photos on the advert we’ve spotted new panelling, a re-painted cab, the rear ladder having been removed and what looks like a new rear bumper (the previous one had damage when we bought her; we think she’d probably had a rear impact prior to our ownership). With the addition of a couple of new vents to help to deal with condensation issues, she’s looking really smart.

But it’s not just the outside they’ve focussed on; Bertha’s now got a new carpet inside and new upholstery (we’ll admit that 8 months of permanent living in her had maybe left her looking a little tired). Under the bonnet she’s apparently also been given a new clutch (it was always a “fun” game to try to get her in reverse!) and the mud and snow tyres that carried us on our 12000 mile jaunt around Europe are listed as having been replaced too.

We found out this February via that our Gaslow (refillable gas system) installation didn’t meet regulations. Although we’d ordered a “normal” gas bottle to start with from Gaslow, for which a single strap is an acceptable fitting, we were sent an R67 cylinder (because the normal bottle was out of stock), for which there are specific regulations. To quote the person on the Talbot forum who raised it:

…the mounting and securing of the R67 cylinder needs to comply with N1/M1, which is a proven mounting system of 20G forward and 8G side to side in case of accident. as you strap is screwed in and a basic fiber strap its not mounted with proven 20g and so forth, and as such vehicle insurances are void

We let the new owners know as soon as we found out and we’re repeating it here, just in case the “new” new owners end up reading this, as we would hate for something to happen and them not be suitably protected.

Anyhow, it sounds like an exciting time for Bertha as she begins her new life full of new adventures. And as for us? Well, we’re settling back into life in London and we’re expecting another “new life”. Now that’s going to be a new adventure!

Posted in Bertha, KIST 2EU | 1 Comment »

We’ve come a long, long way together…

October 16th, 2014 (by Steve)

… through the hard times, and the good. To be honest, it seems much longer than the 19 months that we have shared together. After a few hiccups in our early relationship, which were resolved by spending a lot of time together, Bertha (who did you think I was talking about?!) turned out to be reliable, steady and dependable; we really couldn’t have asked for more. We couldn’t have completed our adventure without her. It must have been love, but it’s over now.


For the last couple of months, this van that was born to be wild has been sitting sad and lonely on the drive; she just can’t wait to get on the road again. And so Bertha decided that it was time to move on and find new carers. Breaking up is never easy, I know, but we wanted to make sure that her new home would be a good one… we didn’t want to sell her to someone who wouldn’t care for her. So when Mark and Clare came to view Bertha, we were trying to discern whether she would receive the love she deserves from them.

We were convinced. They are such lovely people and we have no doubt that they will treat her well. In fact, we’re excited to hear that Mark has plans for renovating the outside to add to the renovations we did on the inside. The icing on the cake was when Mark said that if we ever want to visit Bertha, we are welcome to take her away for a little trip. It’s re-assuring to know that there’s a possibility that we’ll meet again. Don’t know where, don’t know when… but I know we’ll meet again. Maybe some sunny day? Maybe not… to be honest ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, adieu our Bertha. Thank you for the memories; I hope you had the time of your life. We certainly had the time of our lives. But now, as we head off in one direction, you can go your own way. Will we miss you? Yeah, probably. Are we going to cry? Na na na na. Na na na na. Hey hey. Goodbye

Posted in Bertha, KIST 2EU | 2 Comments »

Buy-buy Bertha

September 22nd, 2014 (by Steve)

Think of a friend who has been beside you for some of the greatest moments in your life, but also in the struggles. Thought of one? Good. Now imagine selling that friend (bear with me; I know it’s an odd concept). Bet you can’t. But for us, it’s sadly necessary (please read the next sentence before calling the police!). The friend in question is obviously Bertha. She’s carried us safely through many countries and been there as we’ve laughed, cried, shouted, sung and danced. As our big adventure is over though, we’re looking towards our next big adventure… starting a family hopefully… which we’ve heard can cost a little bit of money. Therefore, it’s time to bid farewell to Bertha.

Having passed her MOT with flying colours, we promised her a bit of a pampering session to remove 20 countries worth of mainland European dirt, grime and squashed flies. Inside wasn’t too bad… after all we’ve been living in her full time, so we’ve kept her in good shape. The outside? Well, our thinking when travelling was that she’d be less of a target for thieves if we let her be a bit grubby. Now was her chance to shine again.

We think she scrubs up quite well! And so to eBay, where we’ve listed our beloved Bertha under the impersonal title of 1990 Talbot Express Autotrail Chinook with 11 months tax and MOT. This factual, sterile and clinical listing hides the many months of time, money and love that we’ve invested in making her our home… in fact, the first marital home we have owned. How do you put a price on that?

Well, ideally we would have liked to have listed Bertha for over £7000, but we are well aware that whilst in the care of one of her previous owners (or maybe several of them), there was damage to her rear. Whilst we haven’t been aware of any ongoing adverse effects or any deterioration since we replaced the floor in one of the rear corners, the fact remains that she does have this imperfection. Therefore, we’ve priced her to sell at £6500… although we are open to discussing sensible offers.


We can’t really believe that it’s time to say goodbye to Bertha – it seems like no time at all that we were picking her up from her previous home near Portsmouth. However, good times must come to an end and although she’s served us really well, we think she’s ready to be cared for by someone else. It will probably only sink in when there’s an empty space on the drive where she used to stand…

So, it’s over to you. Can you offer Bertha the love, support and companionship that she yearns? She won’t let you down, and you can’t use the excuse that you don’t know where she’s been…!

Posted in Bertha, KIST 2EU | No Comments »

What Bertha did next

August 30th, 2014 (by Steve)

Exam season. Those sleepless nights as you wait to hear the results of your loved one. The inner searching to decide how to react if the results aren’t quite as you hoped. Well, as it happened, we needn’t have worried about the MOT. I mean, we would have still loved Bertha had she not passed first time and we would have even paid for resits, but it was lovely that the only unexpected work she needed was a fresh rear numberplate light.

So we’ve been back in the UK now for nearly 3 weeks and our feet have hardly touched the ground. Between catching up on paperwork, filling in tax returns, visiting family and trying to negotiate the Hollywood contracts for “Bertha – the musical” we haven’t had much time for Bertha since her exam success. But as our time with her is coming to a close, we’re pampering her a bit; getting her ready for some new owners. First job; the fresh water tank.

Do you remember the “fun” that we had in Slovakia when it fell off? Our angel, Eddie, was indeed right when he said that the ratchet strap would hold it until we got back to England, but now was the time for a permanent fix.


With the ratchet strap and duct tape removed, the broken bracket hung down; still surprisingly strong. But not quite as strong as the nuts and bolts that connected the bracket to the chassis… nicely welded shut with 24 years of rust. After a good hour under Bertha, during which time I managed to break a socket, a hammer and my phone, I finally resorted to the hacksaw for the stubborn nut and bolt. Bertha is surprisingly well constructed!


With the old stuff gone it was plain sailing to create a new, strong sling from a 20mm builders’ band. I can’t say I’m a fan of the original straps that were used (sorry Autotrail) as they have a tendency to drop with the weight of a full tank, hence our original problem. Saying that though, the other original strap still appears to be doing its job quite well, so it made sense to leave it be.


So that’s all done. Next job? Cleaning off 12000 miles worth of mainland Europe dust and dirt without disturbing any of Bertha’s seals. Maybe we’ll just book her in for a luxury spa treatment. After all, she deserves it!

Posted in Bertha, KIST 2EU | 2 Comments »

Saved by a Slovak

June 26th, 2014 (by Steve)

What is it about us and water? Nearly every single issue that Bertha has faced is to do with water… damp problems in the habitation area, leaking water heater, leaks in the roof, missing water tank cap… and once again.

We’d planned to do a short drive from our campsite in Bratislava to Devin Castle, so we did the standard emptying of the loo and filling up with fresh water at the campsite before we left, then set off on our way. We were just lamenting not being able to stock up with food at Lidl on the way (they were charging 2 Euros per hour to park there!), when suddenly there was a big clunk, followed by the sound of something scraping along the road. With hazard lights flashing, we checked mirrors, then slowly drifted into the side of the road to investigate. Kiri was first out of the van, therefore she discovered the culprit first; one of the brackets holding our fresh water tank had snapped, leaving the tank perilously close to the ground (but still intact) and the bracket in intimate contact with the road surface. Now the tank has appeared to have been getting lower for a while, but not really knowing what we could do about it, we’d chosen to ignore it. Probably a bad call. We were now stuck by the side of the road, at a bit of a loss. We got out our warning triangle and hi-viz jackets and decided the best course of action would be to lighten the tank (by draining off water), then use duct tape to hold it off the ground.


We were in the process of draining the water when a police car passed us… and didn’t stop. We were just about to start the duct tape fix when a Landrover stopped in front of Bertha and a guy in a suit got out. Now I’ve never met an angel before, so I’m not sure whether this guy actually was an angel, or just an incredibly selfless, kind and loving person. He asked us what the problem was, so we explained our plan with the duct tape and that we’d try to get back to the campsite to re-assess, as we’d probably need to find someone to fashion a new bracket for us. He was having none of it and, giving us his phone number, he said he lived in the next village and he would get it fixed for us. We’d just finished our temporary fix with the duct tape (great stuff!) and were gingerly heading towards the village, when we received a text message:

“Three miles, village Devin, right turn follow main road, up hill, church, doublepark on right, ring me, wait one minute. Tools and parts ready. Eddie”

Upon arrival, we did as instructed and sure enough, Eddie turned up with wire, ratchet straps and a guy called Mickey who was doing some building work on his house. He then proceeded to instruct Mickey in securing the fresh water tank properly to the sound parts of the frame, ensuring that the sharp edges of the metal frame wouldn’t cause the straps to fray. Half an hour later, Bertha’s water tank was more securely slung under the chassis than it’s ever been in our ownership. As Eddie said, under the Communist regime, you couldn’t just take your car to a mechanic, so you learned to fix things with whatever you had. Refusing payment of any sort (although we did give him a tin of Earl Grey tea), he asked us if there was anything else he could help us with before waving us on our way.


So… that was that then. We were once more on our merry way! We were ravenous by the time we arrived at Devin Castle at about 2:30, so treated ourselves to a meal out before climbing up the hill. The castle offers incredible views from its strategic position where the Danube and Morava rivers meet and there are interesting remains of various fortifications from over the years at the top of the hill. I’m not sure that we appreciated it quite as much as it deserved though, because we were still a little bewildered from the events of the previous few hours.


After a noisy night in the castle car park (we were the victims of the noise, not the perpetrators), we set off up towards the Czech Republic, planning to stop in Malacky overnight en route. Sadly, the overnight stop wasn’t suitable so after stocking up on baked beans and mature cheddar at Lidl (it’s British week there apparently) we moved on to Austria. As you do. We’re getting quite used to having to improvise!

Posted in Bertha, KIST 2EU | 3 Comments »

What’s the Dutch for “Sikaflex”?

May 4th, 2014 (by Steve)

Water is something that you become very aware of when you’re living full time in a motorhome. It’s a resource that you have to manage very carefully; being aware of how much fresh water you have left, ensuring that no water is wasted when you’re using it, then making sure that the grey waste tank (the stuff that goes down the sink, not the toilet tank) doesn’t get full. Water is everything. But sometimes you can have too much of it!

Having seen plenty of water in the form of canals at Kinder Dijk, our next destination was to be the Hoge Veluwe national park, near which we found a free aire to stay in overnight. The plan was to spend the following day cycling around the park, but we woke to ominous skies and over breakfast the heavens opened… not really the best day for cycling. We sat tight and prayed that the following day would be clear.

The mist wasn’t the best of signs as we munched our breakfast the next morning, but we nevertheless optimistically set out for the national park. After paying to enter, we set about selecting our trusty steeds for the day; two of the many white bikes which are free to be used whilst in the park. It took a little while to get used to the upright position of the bikes and braking by pedalling backwards, but actually, they were perfect for purpose. Well, our purpose of trundling around the park anyway. If your purpose was trick cycling backwards, these would not be your bikes.


The park is a combination of woodland, heathland and sandy (almost desert) terrain with over 40km of cycle paths. We chose not to explore all of them, but we probably covered 26 or 27km through the course of the day, stopping for lunch at the centre of the park, several times for photos (we especially loved an area of scorched earth through which green grass shoots were conquering) and for an icecream in the last 6km. As we wolfed down the last bit of waffle cone, the sky was darkening, so we hastened back to Bertha. It is with dented pride that I admit that I fell off right at the end of the cycle ride (I blame the stupid child seat that I caught my leg on whilst dismounting), but in my defence, the first drops of rain were falling and they were big. Once in Bertha… torrential rain; we’d (somehow) timed it perfectly!


We drove on to our overnight destination, parked up, then sat back to enjoy the thunder and lightning. There’s something lovely about being warm and dry inside when the rain is coming down in buckets outside. As Kiri found out though, there’s nothing lovely about a little trickle of water going down the back of your neck when you’re meant to be warm and dry inside. I believe her exact words were “ah” (or something to that effect), “that’s not meant to happen”. As the water plummeted to earth from the sky, so my heart plummeted also. We thought we’d fixed all of the leaks last summer. Obviously not.

After some minor investigation with a screwdriver (i.e. removing the pelmet, the curtains, the window blinds and some of the inside rear wall of Bertha), we discovered that all of the beams were dry in the wall. Good news. This one trickle of water was making its way between the aluminium and the wooden frame, then pooling atop the batten above the window, from whence it falleth onto the head of mine dear wife. That suggested a hole, rather than one of the seams leaking, so we headed outside and sure enough, a hole in the aluminium skin that I’d filled with Sikaflex previously was open to the elements; more specifically a compound of 2 hydrogen atoms bonded with 1 oxygen atom.


The rain ceased overnight, allowing us to seal the hole in the morning with copious amounts of Sikaflex (given the number of times we’ve mentioned this product on our blog, we are considering seeking sponsorship from them). Job done. And so to wend our merry way towards a dam built out of ‘amsters… now I know they can retain food in their cheeks, but who knew they could retain water!?

Posted in Bertha, KIST 2EU | 2 Comments »

The taming of Bertha

April 8th, 2014 (by Steve)

When we last wrote about our plans for loop 2 of our trip around Europe, they were all up in the air. You’ll be pleased to know then, that 2 weeks on, we’re still pretty much in the dark about plans, but we’ll come to that in a bit. The big bit of news is that Bertha is sounding like a totally different van… it’s amazing what a minor operation can achieve.

We left Bertha with our friendly mechanic just over a week ago and he soon came back with a slightly worrying diagnostic; the exhaust manifold gasket had blown… and the studs holding the gasket in place were heavily corroded. If the studs broke when trying to take them off, it would necessitate going in from the other side… which would mean taking the front off Bertha, taking the whole engine and gearbox out, as well as dismantling the front axle and suspension. Just a minor operation then! We waited with bated breath for a few days, then went around to see Bertha. We found her getting intimate with a small crane:


Of the 8 studs holding the manifold and gasket in place, only 1 of them didn’t break! Fortunately we have a very patient mechanic (as well as being friendly) who took everything out, replaced the gasket, had the exhaust manifold skimmed (as it was a little misshapen), put everything back together again and didn’t have any pieces left over! We went round today to pick our home up and he warned us that she sounded like a new van now. He popped Bertha into neutral. Switched on the ignition. Wow. No longer will we rock up to a petrol station and the attendant ask us if she’s a diesel. No longer will we have to shout over the noise of the engine as we drive along. No longer will we have to turn the music up to 11 just to hear it. Our tiger is now a kitten. The roar is now a purr. To be honest, it was a little disconcerting driving Bertha home as you could hardly hear the engine to know when to change gear!

Now we have our home back, there are just a few little things to do before we set out again, including giving her a bit of a groom to go with her new sound. Folks, we should be back on the road by this time next week! We know that we’re heading into northern Europe (probably Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark to start with), but we don’t really have a plan.

So, it’s over to you – have you any suggestions as to where we should go within these countries (or anywhere else within northern Europe)?

Posted in Bertha, KIST 2EU | 8 Comments »


March 26th, 2014 (by Steve)

You know how it is. You’ve just put the finishing touches to a plan; you know roughly what’s going to happen and then a spanner gets thrown into the works. Or several spanners even… in several plans! It’s not all bad though and after 4 months of travelling we’re now getting used to being flexible with our planning.

The first change of plan / delay has come courtesy of the great British weather (oh, how we’ve missed you!). Bertha was due to go straight to our friendly mechanic the day after we arrived back on British soil at the end of February for a routine medical. Sadly though, that soil was rather saturated and with more inclement weather imminent, Bertha was unable to be seen to properly until the weather had cleared up a bit (as work on her has to be done outside). However, whilst she’s been standing, waiting in the doctor’s queue, we’ve seized the opportunity to move the fuse box in the habitation area, clear up some of the other temporary wiring we put in place on the road (see previous blog post for details), replace the bathroom sink waste pipe that had perished and, most importantly, put our Talbot Owners’ Club tax disc holder up (yes, we know that the paper disc is becoming obsolete)


The other main change of plan is to do with our second loop. We’ve always been keen that our trip should be more than just an adventurous holiday; we want it to be purposeful and we want it to fit with God’s plan for our lives. So, we planned out a route for the second part (in Bertha… we’ve decided that she’s solid enough!) around Northern Europe and contacted a few projects that we wanted to visit. We then prayed that if that wasn’t what God wanted, we’d like Him to make it clear. He’s made it clear… either timings haven’t been convenient for the projects, or there aren’t opportunities there for us to serve… so it’s back to the drawing board.

The time that we’ve spent back in the UK so far hasn’t been wasted though. We’ve managed to spend some really good, quality time with our families and catch up with some of our friends. Going back to London for a while was a bit weird, but not in a bad way… it just seems so long ago that we lived there, even though it was only 7 months ago that we left! As well as socialising, we’ve also been busy with a few tweaks to this website – our route map page now allows you to filter the types of places you want to see, and we’ve made the site responsive, so it should display better on mobile devices and tablets (please let us know if you have any issues!).


So in general, although things aren’t quite going to plan, we’re pretty happy. Saying that though, we can’t help but read the blogs of fellow motorhome travellers Julien + Anais and Rhys + Kristen and feel the call of the road. Our time will come again soon though. Patience.

Posted in Bertha, KIST 2EU, Web Design | 1 Comment »

Bertha takes up drinking and smoking

November 11th, 2013 (by Steve)

Following our last blog post, we had lovely warm showers at the campsite near Interlaken the following morning, and as a result, decided to stay an extra night there as well. It might not have just been the showers that convinced us, but they helped. A little investigation (as a result of lots of help from friends in the UK) suggested that oil was probably getting into the carb through a breather pipe. but the clutch was ok. Placated by that news, we proceeded to have a lovely day in Interlaken; loving the stunning snow-capped mountains and appreciating the symphony of cowbells.


After another hot shower the next morning, we bought some engine oil (for our Swiss readers, there’s 20% off Mobil oil at Co-op Bau+Hobby), topped up, then set off to conquer Brunig Pass; the mountain road that would lead us towards Zurich. 2nd gear was required to get to the top, but Bertha climbed well and there were no signs of any smoke… at that stage. However, once past Lucerne we caught a whiff of burning once again, and spied smoke from the exhaust; clearly blue. This got worse and worse and the oil level was dropping, so we decided to take Bertha to a Peugeot garage. They fired her up and asked how long the engine had sounded like that… it didn’t sound any different to normal! Their reaction was that there might be an oil leak inside the engine, but they didn’t want to investigate, so they told us to top up the oil and get on our way. How encouraging… ummm… really?!


At this stage, our plans changed and we decided to head to Germany to see if any German mechanics would be willing to look at Bertha. However after a very long tunnel, which we polluted heavily with thick plumes of oily blue smoke, we conceded defeat, donned the mandatory reflective jackets, put the warning triangle behind us and called breakdown. I think the Swiss may have taken our smoke signals as a sign of invasion, but as they’re such a peaceful people, they just let it happen. I hope it doesn’t mean that we are inadvertently ruling Switzerland… only time will tell!

When the Swiss breakdown arrived, they took one look at the engine, said it looked terminal and asked whether we wanted to be taken to a Peugeot garage (which would probably be the one we went to earlier in the day… no thanks!) or their depot, prior to being sent back to the UK. A quick call to the UK breakdown people led to us being informed that we would spend the night at the depot, then they would decide in the morning whether Bertha would be repatriated or scrapped. Scrapped? Bertha? But she’s part of our family!


We didn’t sleep well that night, but began to adapt to the idea of going home; already planning how we would continue this adventure even if Bertha was condemned. The night brought heavy rain and hail, which dented Bertha a little, but not our resolve to fight against her being scrapped. And then the sun came out… in the form of Paschal the mechanic, who informed us that they would investigate the problem a little further to see if she could be fixed. To cut a long story short, a compression test revealed that all of the cylinders were sound (to everyone’s surprise), but a blocked air filter was leading to the carb sucking oil into the engine rather than air. With a new air filter and 300 Swiss Francs lighter (labour’s expensive in Switzerland!), we were off again; a little dazed and bemused by this turn of events


That afternoon we drove 80 smoke-free miles to Liechtenstein, where we stopped overnight in a stadium car park, overlooked by beautiful mountains. All for the princely sum of 1.50 Swiss Francs! The morning brought sunshine and although we were still a little nervous about Bertha’s health, we were able to enjoy the journey into Austria. We didn’t see much of the sun though, as we were mostly driving in tunnels. Lots of tunnels. And then a toll tunnel. And then more tunnels!


We stopped in Schwaz, just past Innsbruck, where we parked up for the night and had a little wander around the town. One thing we equally love and dislike is that our destinations are basically decided for us in terms of where we can park overnight. Without the limitations of finding somewhere to stay, we would have probably gone to Innsbruck… but then we would have missed the beauty of Schwaz.


So we’re on the road again and back to Plan A (carrying on south east), via Plan B (heading to Germany) and Plan C (being sent back to the UK). Happy times!

Posted in Bertha, KIST 2EU | 4 Comments »