Kiri and


Tyring to get a grip

October 10th, 2013 (by Steve)

We’re currently waiting to have our new boiler tested by the lovely gas safety man, which should be the final modification to Bertha before we set off. In fact, we intend to start packing the van tomorrow! In the meantime, Kiri’s been editing chapter 1 of our KIST 2EU video and I’ve been frantically researching road rules, foreign phrases and the like for our country profiles as well as sorting out travel insurance. We were pleased to find out that we’ve got kidnap and hijack cover. Less pleased to find out that it only pays out £25 per day. If any would-be kidnappers or hijackers are reading this, it’s not worth bothering – monetarily we’re worth very little, although we’ve been told that we hold a lot of sentimental value…

Anyway, back to the country guides. It’s been worth us doing all of this research, I mean who would have guessed that:

Flag of Austria

You’re not allowed to use your horn near a hospital in Austria

Flag of Lithuania

Speed limits depend on the time of year in Lithuania

Flag of Macedonia

It’s illegal for a drunk person to sit in the front of a moving vehicle in Macedonia

Flag of Romania

It’s against the law to have a dirty car in Romania

Flag of Slovakia

Your GPS device must not be attached to the middle of the windscreen in Slovakia

Flag of Slovenia

You must not indicate when entering a roundabout in Slovenia… only when exiting

Flag of Sweden

If you hit a moose and it runs back into the woods, you must mark the position it went back into the woods with a plastic bag in Sweden

Now some of those would make great questions in a pub quiz round! We got rather scared when researching driving in Albania, and have concluded that Bertha would probably struggle on the roads there, so we’ll give it a wide… ummm… berth.

It wasn’t all fun and games though – as part of researching, we realised that we would probably need an International Driving Permit for some countries, so we’ve ordered those. We also possibly need an “Umwelt-Plakette” for Germany – basically a sticker to say what your emissions are (by this we mean Bertha’s emissions), which will then dictate where you can and can’t drive… a bit like the low emissions zone in London. That’s been ordered too… they might turn around and say that our emissions are too high for a sticker… we’ll see!

The main impact that the research had though, has turned out to be another big hit on the wallet, but hopefully not too much more of a delay. Due to all of the setbacks we’ve faced, our departure date has been slipping further and further towards winter. Now we’ve got snow chains – they’re all good – but it turns out that winter tyres are mandatory in a lot of places between November and March. I don’t want to scare anyone, but November is only just over 3 weeks away. Without winter tyres, we’d basically be restricting ourselves to France and Spain in our first loop of the trip, which isn’t ideal. We’ve therefore decided to order a full set of winter tyres (including spare wheel), get them fitted before we go, then change them back to our current tyres when we come back to the country in March. To be honest, we’d probably have to change a few tyres on the trip anyway so it will be a worthwhile expenditure that will give us a bit more flexibility, even if we’re still planning to avoid driving in snow (where possible).

Hopefully tomorrow we’ll report back that we have a gas safety certificate… at which point we should be in full control of our timescales again and we’ll be able to buy ferry tickets! Hmmm, we’ll see!

2 Responses

Hi guys! Quick, head south! Just one tiny tip: if you head for the mountains, keep an eye out for pass closures. We avoided the hills during the winter, as we were snow tyre and chain-less, but from what other’s told us they were beautiful places to be. Looking forward to reading your updates. Jay xx

Thanks for the tip Jay – we’ll keep our eyes pealed 🙂

Leave a Reply

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.