July 16, 2013

Bagoaz!!! (There we go!!!)

Live from Budapest!!!

Apologies for the long silence but I’ve been having major technology issues. I should be able to post daily updates from now on and at least until I arrive in Kazakhstan, and just in case I don’t below you have a map that might help map my location:

http://www.theadventurists.com/the-adventures/mongol-rally/teams/hemendik-horra

The below is a post I wrote 2 days ago and updated yesterday morning. Enjoy the read and hope to write a new update tonight.

 
Oh yeah, the Rally is on and what an exciting start!: a birthday/farewell BBQ, last-minute shopping, a medieval party with fortune tellers, dancing to Eastern music until the wee hours, saying goodbye in style and my first ever accident! (nothing serious mum :-) )

Launch Date -1 (12/07/13):

After a crazy week in the office what best than enjoying one of those rare British summer days celebrating one’s birthday with friends? doing all that + celebrating my very good friend Bea’s too!

We had fun, we had beer, we had sun and even a deer!

Ok, ok! we didn’t have a deer but the food was great and loved you could all make it. A 10 to Bea for the fantastic organisation and a big round of applause to our friends for sharing this day with us, their continuous support and the amazing presents.

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Launch Date (13/07/13):

As someone said the night before “Joseba is very well organised and always plans ahead” right?, well not quite…

Today is launch date and there’s still some “small” stuff in my TO DO list:
1- Buy currency, as her Majesty’s will probably not take you that far
2- Exchange extra survival kit (1 probably enough) for other goodies
3- Update TomTom as Switzerland and Kazakhstan are not quite the same (or are they?)
4- Record some music for the trip (a big thanks to Wassim, Annie, Ross, Silvia, Max, Daniel and Laia for their contributions here. Laia/Daniel, loved the book, it’s almost as good as watching the movie (and certainly not any slower!))
5- Buy some food and pack

and if that was not enough let’s add a hair cut and couple of conference calls to the cocktail, who said my life is not exciting? :-)

3h after the planned departure we are finally ready to go, Mongol Rally 2013 here I come

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Two hours and a few miles later, afraid of having missed the registration, I manage to make it to Bodiam Castle where The Adventurists (www.theadventurists.com) have prepared a magnificent medieval party, followed by dinner and a folk band playing Easter European tunes until the early morning. What a great start!

 

Camping @ Bodiam Castle
Setting up the tent
A yellow bus all the way from the US!
Long queue for dinner
The show beggins
Bodiam Castle
Live (classic) orchestra
The fortune teller
Dance like a chicken

 

Yes, that’s right, meeting Wally (or a bunch of), a “tit reading” fortune-teller and chicken man laying an egg in front of the orchestra were just a few of the surreal moments of the day…

Launch Day + 1, the UK start (14/07/13):

The day starts early (7:30am) and it’s time to pack the tent, prep the car and have breakfast before the award ceremony and official UK start to the rally.

I leave you a couple of links describing the events but just as a remark, there’s a team that has managed to raise £13k for charity (well done Old Blues Brothers) and one that is taking 7 spare wheels and 2-3 jerry cans with them!!!
http://www.theadventurists.com/the-jibber/mongol-rally-2013-launch-award-ceremony
http://www.theadventurists.com/the-jibber/mongol-rally-2013-sets-off-at-bodiam-castle

This car broke twice on its way here!
The “best” prepared team
About on a Trike
Jousting…
… in a car…
Team photo
Gracias por venir chicos!
Off we go!

And so the adventure starts… Thanks a lot to Borja, Isabel, Casilda, Alfonso, Carlos, Helena, Lucas, Samuel and Edith for coming to wave goodbye, you are the best

But wait, what about the accident?, oh yes, I almost forgot!. Half way to Nuremberg (where I never made it as it was too late and Frankfurt seemed like a more sensible option) I had to put my Punto’s breaks to test as the traffic suddenly stopped exiting a turn. Thankfully we were all going quite slow and it all resulted in a small scratch to the other car’s rear bumper (driver was a Spaniard living a Belgium, what a coincidence!) and a bump to my car’s bonnet.

 

Off to Czech Republic (15/07/13):

Late wake up call after a long day of driving, today it’s a short trip and I plan to take it fairly easy. I start writing this post while having breakfast and when I’m about to press send… oh, oh, where did my email go? (sh*t!)

My good friend Aitor and girlfriend Veronica live in Brno, Czech Rep., and we had discussed meeting in Prague as an excuse to see each other and visit the city, or so I thought. German autobahns are a great invention (hardly any speed limit) until you hit a traffic jam or a lorry decides to overtake another, and then the world seems to slow down a lot (no, seriously, a lot!!!). So after a few of these and agreeing on a new meeting point I finally made it to Karlstejn; beautiful place and roads that lead there, but not the easiest place to get to :-)

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Next stop Klenová Castle, where another party full of surprises awaits. Check this space regularly as I’ll soon tell you all about the Czech Out, its fire jugglers, how to rave in a cave, and some safety tips by Mongol Rally veteran José on how to avoid ending in prison in Kazakhstan.

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