After spending two nights at a quiet Carrefour parking lot in the Barcelonan suburb of Castelldefels, we decided that we needed to be in closer proximity to the Mediterranean. That way we could smell salty fresh on a daily basis.
We packed up, or rather secured everything in their little storage room and overhead bins as per our routinely pre-departure checklist. (Adapted to MurphyNo. 1’s more down-to Earth movements from KLM’s pre-flight checklist.)
This time we decided we did not need to journey far. “Head onto the coastal road and find a nice secluded beachy spot somewhere”, we said.
Up and down, and coming around a few mountains we went. Until we reached our perfect Catalonian prime spot, Coma-Ruga. At this time of year a quiet resort town.
With Murphy perfectly nestled under a light on a small parking lot wedged between an empty hotel and an apartment building, with the beach three meters away, we were satisfied with our choice.
As night quickly crept upon us, and moon shone brightly above the palm trees on the sandy beach, we went to bed with the sounds of the waves hitting the shore in the distance.
Then out of nowhere, in the middle of the darkest hour, suddenly, without a warning a loud banging sound from outside the car.
Half-comatose, eyes were opened inside.
Was it the wind? How could that be the wind?
Not a word spoken inside.
Eyes trying to adjust to the light.
BOOM!!!! A metallic-like noise was heard outside. This time on the other side of the vehicle.
The sound of something hitting the ground a few times.
This is definitely not the wind.
Two sets of eyes meeting each other in the darkness inside.
Acknowledgement of the siege going on.
Not a sound from inside.
Trying to carefully look through the cracks between the blinds. Nothing is seen. Nothing is heard.
Then another jolt. This louder. And a different spot. On the car.
The door handle.
Ferocious grabbing on the handle from the outside.
Shaking the entire car. Like the big bad wolf desperately trying to get in.
Another strike. Like something is being ripped off the car. Violently.
In the darkness we wait. In the middle of the night. In the car. With only a few centimeters of 32 year old badly kept plastic exterior separating us from Whomever.
Inside the eggshell that is Murphy, the yolk sits quietly. Listening. Pulse is rising, The alert level is set to above red. Whatever the most critical color is. Is the egg about to be cracked into?
A decision. Police must be called. But softly. Is there someone waiting outside? Just for this? For us to venture out? So that we then can be ambushed?
More waiting. Silence.
Just the sound of the waves and the wind gently brushing the palm trees.
Waiting. Silence. Waiting. Silence.
Police responds. For the second time. The first time they didn’t understand English nor the (perceived) need for us to speak softly, almost whispering. This time they do speak English.
After a long chat they inform us that police might, just might, be on their way. They are not sure.
So we wait again. In silence.
A deafening silence.
This must be a small fraction of the feeling of being in the trenches. Only knowing that the outcome of peeking outside is uncertain.
Yet this is nothing.
But at the moment, it feels like something.
An almost soundless car approaches with blue lights lighting up the inside of Murphy.
This is the moment. We’ll storm our own barricade. We’ll crack our own eggshell like a brash chicken ready to face world.
And so we opened the door.
Someone had been vandalizing the car that night. Most likely in a failed attempt to get inside to rob the car.
Perhaps even more likely, this was an aborted attempt, as they might have seen one of us through the window.
Some of the noises heard were from pieces of the security around the back window being broken off. The back window is now broken.
The nice officers informed us to go to the police station the next morning and file a report. After spending an hour waiting for the wheel of bureaucracy to move, the report was filed.
Luckily this is covered by our insurance.
Now we’re preparing.
For even if this was nothing, it will likely not be last time,
For this is how the world is. And you’ve got to be prepared.
We were somewhat prepared.
Next time we’ll be even more so.
All in all, the beach was nice, though. But it was time to build the house of bricks and move on to another idyllic place.
Hopefully, without the dark character trait.
In the end, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.
And garden gnomes. Always fear garden gnomes. They can’t be trusted.
A beer at DUVEL.
We got invited to spend the better part of the day at the Duvel-Moortgat brewery in Breendonk, Belgium.
Alain and Joe received us, along with Pascal and Filip that provided some excellent refreshments. We started the day off with the Vedett Extra White.
Refreshing. Crisp. Another one, please.
So what is needed to make a perfect Duvel? Well, Pascal was about to show us.
90% of beer is water. Naturally. 90% of Duvel is water. Perfect water.
Thus, following this logic, Pascal ensured us that to maintain a perfect balance of liquid in your body, drink beer! Duvel, of course. Should you be 10% short on your water intake, just drink one more.
Over to the hops. Oh, hops. How hoppy you make us feel. Actually, Pascal informed us that a handful of hops under the pillow makes for a calm, relaxing sleep. But don’t bring the male hops into your bed, or onto your field, they produce too much oil, so much so that they ruin the beer and therefore are illegal in Belgium. If you find one male plant in your field, a major area surrounding it must be destroyed. The male hops kill the head of the beer, the virgin female hops enhance it.
But as with everything and anything, all in moderation.
In the beginning, Duvel was given out for free. The (still) family-run brewery wanted to get input from regular pub goers. They loved it!
Today these tanks hold 1 million liter of Duvel each! And there are 28 of them. They rest here for 90 days to give it that perfect Duvel taste, before they are bottled. 50 000 bottles of Duvel are filled every hour. And the enormous dishwasher that clean the bottles can take 70 000 at the time. The one we have at home is definitely slacking off.
After the bottle pass the test by the FBI, the Fill Bottle Inspection, they are packed into crates and shipped off around Belgium and around the world.
Just in case, Duvel-Moortgat keeps around 11 million bottles of Duvel in stock, one for each Belgian. We hope they’ll increase this to at least two more, one for each of us.
Make that two. For each of us.
THANK YOU TO ALAIN, JO, PASCAL, FILIP, CEO MICHEL MOORTGAT AND THE REST OF THE DUVEL-MORTGAT CREW FOR A FANTASTIC VISIT TO THE FACILITY. THE ONLY WAY TO TOP THIS IS AS VISIT TO WILLY WONKA’S FACTORY (DON’T WORRY, WE’RE WORKING ON DIRECTIONS).
Status: Alt er bra.
Distanse dekket: Ca 1000 km + Oslo-Kiel.
Maks. hastighet: 110 km/h (i slak 3 km lamg nedoverbakke).
Gjennomsnittlig hastighet: 80 km/h.
Overnattet: Oslo (fergekaien), Enschede (Nederland), Antwerpen (Belgia), Breendonk (Belgia).
Frivillig stopp: Itzehoe (Tyskland), Oldenburg (Tyskland) Arnhem (Tyskland), Doel (Belgia), Spa (Belgia).
Nåværende posisjon: La Chouffe (Belgia, i Ardennene nær grensen til Luxembourg).
Ferger: Oslo-Kiel - Schacht-Audorf-Nobiskrug - Gluckstad-Wishhoffen - Bremen-Stedingen. (Prøv å klikk på bildet.)
Rapport første etappe: Kiel, Tyskland - Enschede, Nederland (460km). Start klokken 10:00, avkjøring av fergen.
(Vi nevner ikke navn på rederiet da vi ikke har fått betalt for produktplassering fra det fargerike linjerederiet.)
Murphy stryker seg som en ørn i vinden gjennom Nord-Tyskland til Sør-Nederland (etter ca. en time med usystematisk navigering i Kiel fra analogt kart). Han starter på kommando og holder seg rett under melkesyregrensen. Letter sagt; Han går som ei kule. Skulle nesten tro at han var laget for dette. Hvem skulle tro det?!
Byene som passeres på småveiene i Tyskland, Bredenbekk er en, ser ut som om de er tatt rett ut ifra eventyrboken. Det er landsbyer i varierende størrelse der hver by er mer unik enn den andre. De har et slående unikt preg av samlet strukturert arkitektur som ubevisst gir en behagelig og harmonisk følelse. Alle husene er bygget av murstein og det gror gress og/eller mose på samtlige tak. De glir inn i landskapet som om det skulle vært naturlig at de stod der. Som om de vokstre opp i takt med trærne. Trærne som alle er over 30 meter høye. Står på hver side av veien og skaper en naturlig skogtunell. Og selv om mørket begynte å legge seg så lyste de nylig falte rødoransje høstbladene opp skogen og veien som ingen lys noen sinne kan gjøre. Man kan ikke annet enn å visualisere at her lever de i evig lykkelig harmoni.
(Klikk på bildene for større bilder og, utvalgte steder, bildetekst.)
Men hva vet vel vi, vi kjører jo bare igjennom.
Etter sikksakk kjøring i de små landsbyene gikk turen radigere. Det ble et kort matstopp i Oldenburg.
Veien ut av Oldenburg var noe mer kronglete. Etter fire forsøk med kart og kompass måtte vi ty til mobilen for å finne veien ut på hovedveien. Det ble et gledelige gjensyn da de brede asfaltveiene endelig kunne skimtes i det fjerne.
Noen timer senere ankom vi byen Enschede. En mellomstor by som stryker grensen til Tyskland og ligger i midtøst-Nederland. Vi ankom rundt 22-tiden. Det var søndagskveld og regnet noe, så byen virket ferdig etter helgen og klar for å starte den nye uken neste morgen.
Etter noen timer søvn stod solen opp og skinte noen solstråler på byen. Gatene var bemerkelsesverdig rene, bygninger med en blanding av gammel og moderne arkitektur, fine romslige grønne lunger og usedvanlig høye folk. Fleste menn over 1.90 og kvinner der etter.
Og det er mulighet for meget fast fast food.
Neste stopp: Lenger sør og lenger vest.
Håper du har det godt, vi koser oss gløgg.