Countries: UK -> France -> Belgium
Stops: Dover -> Calais -> random pit stop somewhere -> Brussels
Playlists: random iPod selection
The ferry was sweet as we got to be on deck and meet some friends. We planned our route from the ferry to Prague - where there is an organized party on Tuesday night. Every team had a different route and we didn't really sort one out ourselves so as we were talking to various teams, we met some Australians with whom we seemed to really get along and liked their plan. Plan was to meet outside of customs once we get off the ferry and to drive down to Luxembourg together, have breakfast there, and drive straight to Prague where we'd spend the extra day touring.
We get off the ferry and keep waiting for customs so we can get through, pull over, and wait for the Aussies.
So we drive. And drive. And drive. Customs isn't happening and we are now on the main highway still going. We pull over on the side of the road to wait for the other team. Nothing. We take the first exit we see thinking maybe they're waiting for us there. Nothing. Eventually we give up and come to terms that we lost our friends before we even made them. We are on our own.
We have no wifi. No downloaded maps, and we never downloaded the map on the satellite phone so we also have no gps. We are flying blind. And now, we can't find the highway.
For the next 1.5 hours we drove through the smallest (and cutest) of towns but all 40km/h max roads. We used a compass and basically took every street going east. Anytime we ended up facing any other way, we immediately took the next east turn. There were no helpful signs and there were a few dead ends.
Eventually we find our way to the correct highway and come up with a plan. This highway goes straight to Brussels - figured we'll make it by nightfall, have waffles for breakfast, make it to Luxembourg in time for lunch, somewhere in Germany for dinner, and still make it in a day early to Prague leaving us with a full day for touring before the party.
Driving along, Justin starts debating outloud if he wants to pull over and grab a coffee. Doesn't need gas, doesn't need a bathroom, just a coffee - is it worth a stop? So we pull off the highway to a gas station just after crossing into Belgium (no customs, no ceremony, just a sign on the side of the road). He's about to park, overshoots the empty spot so we had to continue going around the corner. And we see a Mongol Rally car. We flip out. NO WAY! 3 hours later, we thought we were on our own and we happen to run into fellow ralliers on the wrong highway. As we pull up closer, omg, it's them. Our Aussies. Wtf. What. Are. The. Chances?!? They've been driving full of guilt that they lost us at the ferry. Turns out they had also pulled over (50m ahead of us over the bridge) and were waiting for us at the same time we were waiting for them. While they were waiting, a cop car pulled up and 6 cops jumped out, surrounded them, and started shouting "passports!" over and over! They took photos of them and overall ambushed them until they gave up and went on with their journey.
Regardless, their plan was to make it to Luxembourg tonight around midnight, drive through in the morning and carry on to meet friends in Germany. We decided to stick with our plan since we'd get to see more but exchanged numbers and agreed to meet in Prague a day early.
We made it to Brussels after MANY wrong turns and tried to find down town without maps, in the dark.
We made it and are now enjoying a gyro and a Leffe. It's half past midnight, we'll check out the rest of what downtown has to offer (beautiful!!) and check out the delirium cafe, before heading out of town and camping somewhere just outside the city.