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I wasn’t joking when I wrote that the place we stayed in on the German-Polish border was, like, AMAZING! Really really amazing. I got such a good night’s sleep, the first in a good few days.

In the morning, the hotel surpassed itself with the most outrageously incredible breakfast spread imaginable. I was torn between my desire to have something light for brekkers and wanting to try EVERYTHING!

By 8pm we had gathered our belonging and checked out. Definitely going to stay here again!

And thus began our journey to Dusseldorf.

With Alex and Alexandra’s agreement we started our livestream again, Bear and I discussed our experiences on the border at Medyka the day before. We stopped along the way for Maccy D’s and a few other rest stops, tried not to buy too much diesel in Germany as it was still insanely expensive. Which, honestly, given the state of the planet right now, is probably a good thing.

We got to Dusseldorf just after 5pm and were invited in to Alexandra’s mum’s flat for some really good coffee and delicious mlyntsi pancakes (a Ukrainian staple) as a way of saying “thank you” for bringing Alex and Alexandra safely to their destination. Alexandra’s stepdad plied us with so much food I thought they might have to roll me out of the flat! 

After well and truly recharging our batteries, Bear and I said our goodbyes. Alex and Alexandra came down to see us off.

Alexandra was studying in university and has had her life, her future plans, her hopes and dreams rent asunder by the monstrous machinations of Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator (let’s call a spade a spade here) and his army of psychos and terrorists. I offered her and her cousin some of the funds we had raised here at UK4UKR, she refused, but Bear plonked it in her coat pocket anyway.

We wished them both well and agreed to keep in touch. And by 6pm we were back on the road, navigating our way out of Dusseldorf and through The Netherlands and Belgium towards Calais… we had a train to catch!

No queues or bother on the French side of the tunnel, and we pretty much drove straight on board (I was a bit worried we were late, but the guy at the check-in just laughed and said we had bags of time).

And just before 11pm British Summer Time, we were back in the UK. I drove Bear back to his home in Banbury and we said our goodbyes… until next time my friend! By then it around 2am. I considered pulling over and getting some kip, but to be honest I wasn’t that tired, so I slammed on an epic playlist and pressed on back to my parents’ house in Liverpool, arriving at around 5.30am. My mum was just getting up for work!

After a few hour’s kip, I cleaned out the van (you wouldn’t believe the number of coffee cups), and drove it back to the camper van hire place in Maghull from whence it came. So I wouldn’t be walking back to Liverpool, my lovely mum took time out from work to come pick me up.

All that was left to do was to get back to my home in Durham and by beautiful (and incredibly patient) girlfriend. My mum dropped me off at Lime Street station, I grabbed a quick coffee and bordered the train to Durham, which I had booked last week so it wasn’t eye-wateringly expensive. For me to catch that particular train meant everything on this first trip out had to run pretty much like clockwork. Which, barring a couple of minor diversions and delays, it totally did.

Fingers crossed our next trip out is as successful.

We’ll see you then!


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