UK4UKR Graham Hughes and Chris Rossi

The Long Road

We planned to get up “as early as possible”, but to be honest, after not getting to bed until 4am local time, I think anything before 9am (felt like 7am) was pushing it. After a particularly spartan breakfast (thanks ibis Budget!), we set off from Calais, driving east through Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and into Poland.

Since we knew we’d be driving until at least the wee small hours, we took a ton of rest breaks along the way. It was during these breaks that we learned the following somewhat shocking facts:

😱 It cost €0.70 to use the service station toilets in Germany, even if you’ve put €180 of diesel in your tank.

😱 To fill your campervan up with diesel in Germany costs €180.

😱 German coffee is like a German sausage, ie, it’s the wurst. At first we thought it was just a one-off, a bad coffee machine, but it was all bad, everywhere we stopped. Seriously, Germany, I love you but sort your coffee out!

It being a Sunday and HGVs not being allowed to drive in many European countries on Sundays, the traffic was light and we managed to avoid any significant delays.

I did the bulk of the driving from Calais to the Polish border, and we crossed the frontier around 11pm. After driving for the best part of 13 hours, I had a huge hankering for KFC. There was only one KFC in the area that was still open. We pulled off the highway, parked up and I went inside. All I wanted was a bucket of chicken. And there was so much chicken on the bain-marie!

But… it was all beyond its serve-by time! It couldn’t legally be given to a customer, in case of salmonella etc. All they had that I could actually buy were a few hot wings. Arrgh! I asked my server if he could put a load of chicken in a box and leave it on the counter where I could nick it while his back was turned, but he (entirely reasonably) told me that there were four reasons he couldn’t do that. He then pointed to the four CCTV cameras in the ceiling.

Goddamn it!

At least the fuel we bought at the nearby service station was half the price it was in Germany.

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