Tuesday, January 15, 2008

With us planning on moving to Hungary later this year we decided to drive over at the end of December 2007 and spend New Year tucked away in our little house in Almar. By driving we could take a trailer and transport many of the items that were already boxed up therefore leaving less to take when we move for good.

Getting ready for the trip was a nightmare with having to make a solid lid for my trailer, then I couldn't get hold of a spare wheel for it or any European breakdown cover for the trip. I also ended up without any van insurance for the whole trip but didn't realise this until I returned home!!

We set off for Dover on December 27th and sailed to Dunkerque at 12 lunchtime. The journey was straightforeward and we stopped in a layby off the motorway at 11.30pm somewhere beyond Frankfurt, having covered around 750 miles. Our intention was to sleep in the back of the van to save money. We overslept and awoke at around 8.15am but the battery was totally flat (I'd inadvertantly flicked the spotlight switch when climbing into the back of the van the previous night, thus flattening the battery). Many thanks to the kind German who jump started the van.

On through Germany, Austria and in to Hungary by mid evening, arriving at our destination at midnight. Due to the extreme low temperature (-8*c) the road surfaces were very slippery and the windscreen kept freezing up so we stopped at a relative's house on the 1st night.

We got up the following morning and drove to Sirok where we unloaded the van and trailer and headed back to Eger to stock up on food and drink for a few days. How fantastic it was to finally arrive at our house on the mountain.

The temperature for the next few days only fluctuated between -8*c and -6*c but we wrapped up well and locked ourselves away from the outside world. It started snowing on New Year's Eve and we celebrated on the terrace watching the fireworks and celebrations in Eger in the distance.

Overnight we had about 10cm of snow which brought some problems getting up and down the mountain, even with snow chains. The scenery, however, was absolutely stunning. We went for a couple of long walks through the forests on a couple of days.

Over the next couple of days we visited family and did a little more shopping, visited our Sirok house again and ate out on a few occasions. Unfortunately I couldn't dig the trailer out of the snow so had to leave it behind our house in Sirok. Hopefully it will still be there when we next go over.

We were up early on the morning of January 4th, loaded the van and left Eger at 7.30am with ta temperature of -10*c. Once again there were no problems until we hit the cobbled streets of Budapest where a suspension bush collapsed on the van. I had a look and decided that we should be ok to continue on. Across the border into Austria then on through Germany, only stopping for fuel and food. We finally bedded down near Aachen, only a short distance from the Belgian border at 10.30pm, having travelled around 850 miles.

The following morning we'd arranged to have a coffee with some friends in Tongeren (Hi Didier & Edith) then hit the motorway again towards Dunkerque, arriving at the port with an hour to spare before our ferry left. That night we were kindly invited to stay with Erika's brother and his wife in Leicester which broke the journey up nicely.

Now we're back home we need to crack on and finish the last few jobs on our house here so that we can get it up for sale.

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