London Bombay Cebu LiveEx

Home Page
The Journey
Route Map
The Travelers

01: UK-Scandinavia
02: France
03: Spain-Portugal
04: Andalucia off-road
05: Morocco: Fes/Marrakech
06: Morocco: Atlas/Sahara Safari
07: Gibraltar, Switzerland, Italy
08: Turkey
09: Syria
10: Jordan
11: Iran
12: Pakistan
13: India
14: Philippines

Special Features:
Kirsten writes about exploring the Middle East

Kirsten's dispatch about her Indian adventure

We'd love to hear what you think. Please send us your feedback.

Current Status:
Back home in Seattle as of 1 August 2001

London Bombay Cebu

On the road at last...
by Jim Laurel

Dispatch #1, UK-Denmark-Sweden
9 November, 2000
Somewhere on the North Sea
We arrived at London Heathrow International Airport on schedule and were met by our friend Iain Chapman, who showed up in our recently completed Land Rover Discovery. Following a short drive to "Brook House", we settled in to adjust to jet lag and tie up some loose ends.

No sooner had we arrived at Brook House, than Iain and I began sorting through all the last minute preparations for our long drive to India. This included the tedious business of filling out forms for our Carnet, which is a document required by foreign customs that allows you to temporarily import, then export a vehicle.

There were also a fair number of things to obtain, including spare parts and supplies, water cans, tools, and such. We paid a visit to the good people at "Rangers of Guildford", the 4x4 shop where the modifications to the Discovery were carried out. Rangers did a fantastic job for us and we are very pleased with the work. If you ever need a Land Rover outfitted for an overland expedition, these guys are the experts!

Finally, a few days (and long nights) later, we were ready to embark on what you might call a little "pre-trip" through Scandinavia. We wanted to put some miles on the vehicle, then return to the UK so that Rangers could do one last check before we head off to places where the AA can't come to your rescue in the event of a breakdown. Besides, it would be a great opportunity to visit some friends and family in the region.

The ferry from Harwich (UK) to Esbjerg (DK) is quite enjoyable. You just drive your vehicle into the ferry, then head up to a comfortable room where you spend the night while crossing the North Sea. We arrived in good order at Esbjerg, then immediately set off for Ärhus to visit my friend, Claus Petersen, who is a commercial photographer.

We were completely blown away by the hospitality of our Danish friends during our stay in Denmark. When we arrived, Claus gave us the keys to his very stylish house in Ärhus, then moved to his parents' seldom-used flat, just a few blocks away.

Ärhus is a pleasant city, situated on the eastern coast of Jutland, the land mass that Denmark considers it's mainland. It is home to a large university that includes a medical school and a very active arts program. The local population is generally quite young, and it seems as if there's an art museum on every other block. In fact, one day we were invited to a gallery opening by another friend, Jens Bygholm. We spent a wonderful day with Jens, his girlfriend, Kette, and his two sons, Louie and Victor, touring the "Gamle By", a town built from old houses that have been moved to Ärhus from all over Denmark.

From Ärhus, we drove north to Fredrickshaven, where we caught the ferry to Göteborg, Sweden. There, we met Karin's relatives, Staffan and Suzanne Sandberg. Our time in Göteborg seemed to revolve mostly around meals, and aside from a lot of walking up and down the main avenue, we didn't do or see much while there. However, we did enjoy connecting with Staffan and Suzanne, and spending a little time with them.

On the morning we left Göteborg, the Land Rover drew the usual crowd as we parked in front of the SAS Radisson hotel. There we met Lars-åke Weimar, who works for Volvo in what you might call the "executive briefing center". He was on the way to give a factory tour to a group of executives from a Turkish trucking company, and invited us to come along. So, we followed him to the Volvo plant on the outskirts of Göteborg, and were treated to a personal presentation of the truck division, followed by the chance to drive a range of Volvo trucks around their test track! Karin chose the 40-ton "Globetrotter" model and found it easier to drive than our Discovery.

From Göteborg, we headed south towards Malmo, where we crossed back into Denmark via the new bridge to Copenhagen. There, we met up with Claus Petersen again, who had fixed us up with an excellent hotel right downtown. We spent the next day touring Copenhagen, with Claus as our guide, which was quite enjoyable.

We expected the Scandinavians to be a pretty sober lot, but couldn't have been more wrong. Instead, we found them to be a warm, friendly and fun-loving people. Denmark and Sweden are clean with great facilities and excellent roads. Everyone speaks English, which made it very easy for us to get around. In a way, these countries reminded me of Germany, but with a much more casual attitude. And the Danish countryside is an absolute delight, with its gently rolling hills and well tended farms.

Like so many places, I regret not having more time to spend in Scandinavia, but we had to catch our ferry back to the UK on the 9th. So, it was back to Esbjerg for the overnight DFDS ferry back to Harwich. This time, the North Sea threw our ferry around like a toy. As I tried to sleep while being internittently tossed out of bed, I imagined the cars below decks being crashing into each other as we slammed into the waves. Kirsten became seasick, and now she moans every time we talk about boarding another ferry.

Quicktime VR Surround. Plug-in required.

Once back in the UK, we took a few days to rest, have our vehicle checked and serviced, and see some of the sights in London. The Tower of London is, of course, a must, but the children mostly enjoyed the pigeons! I also wanted them to see Madame Tussaud's, which brought on loud groans of boredom, until we got inside! Tussaud's was always one of my favorites as a child, and sure enough, Kirsten and Connor had a great time. A wax museum sounds boring until you come face to face with the figures. It's very eerie to stand next to one and look it in the eye. You half expect it to reach out and grab you at any moment.

Next dispatch: Onward to France!

Home Page Dispatches Gallery Technology About
© 2000