Tuesday, 6 December 2016

We ditch the car

Africa in 2003. We wouldn't put Nellie through that again.
In case it's not obvious from previous posts, I'm slightly obsessed with our car, Nellie*. She's 25 years old, has seen us safely through the wilds of Scotland, jousted with endless London buses, blanked tail-gaters all over Europe, and best of all carried us safely the length of Africa.

She has the heart of an ox. Despite losing her Ardennes Green gloss a long time ago, and random bits dropping off, she has not broken down once. As such, and as more discerning people understand, she has stately charm akin to a favourite, solid aunt.

So with a trembling lower lip we consigned her last week to a big hangar two hours out of Athens, surrounded by speedboats that are picked up by their German owners every August. Maybe between gritted grilles they swap stories about their absent owners.

Jo keeping it all in
I think she'll be OK. The owner promised to put her on blocks (saving the tyres), the tank is full (saving on condensation), we changed all the fluids (saving the engine and transmission) and I'm hoping the solar trickle charger will preserve the instant start when we return in X months.

This wasn't the plan. We were going to drive to Iran and then ship her to India. However an examination of rainfall, sunshine and temperatures (embarrassingly our main spurs to action) convinced us that we had to move pronto to India for a relaxed winter. Maybe we'll visit Iran on the way back.

Athena eat your heart out
And so we have morphed from Overlanders to Backpackers. Jo bought a new Chinese backpack for 30 euros in Athens that may or may not last three months of Indian public transport. We bounce along the road carrying a weight of only 25kg between us, which is a liberating difference from Nellie's 2015kg, and we quite like the change.

6 December: we are in Egypt, enjoying a cheap and warm side-trip, with our plane booked to Sri Lanka for Saturday.

Inevitable photos of Indiana Jones tombs and dodgy hot air balloons to follow. In the meantime here are some new snaps from great places in Greece like Olympia and scary Athens back streets.

* Full name Lady Nelson II. Happy to bore with full explanation over a pint one day.

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