journey - Journey out
[participant 'BKA' assumed to be Dave.]
The first part of the log is traditionally taken up by the journey out.
If this is of no interest, here is a link to the caving!
1st intrepid explorers left on Thursday 20th, closely followed by those taking more luxurious forms of transport (!) on Friday. The streak lightning team Millers, xxxx and Jenny, arrived at the campsite first (17½ hours after leaving Cambridge, despite xxxxting in incredible storm with spectacular lightning before arriving at Dover, we managed to get an early ferry (thus missing meeting Rover). There were absolutely no momentous events (well, as far as I am aware, as I spent most of the journey in the land of nod).
The S.L. team arrived at about 2.00 and after spending an incredible amount of time pitching our tents, a short walk was taken (the weather being v hot) and then we decided to get 4 people into a two-person dinghy. Much fun was had and the 10-person attempt must soon be made.
The evening was rounded off with a pint and looking at surveys.
PS. A Slow worm crapped on Ian when he picked it up.
PPS. A short while after we had returned to the tents I (Jenny) was awakened by a shadow (of a man !) kneeling down by my tent. When I opened up the zip I saw someone running away - V. suspicious I'm sure. After a couple of minutes a timid voice said 'Are you a caver ?'. The mysterious intruder proved to be Juliette's boyfriend, Stonker.
Team 'Wet Sponge' left Cambridge on Friday at a caving 6 O'Clock (ie. 8 O'Clock). Chris took the wheel after leaving to see how to drive, and managed to get to Dover without getting struck by lightning or even given a breath test. They wouldn't let Jared on the ferry (in case the extra weight made it roll over), so he had to get the ferry to Ostend a few hours later. Got to Zeebrugge without mishap (they closed the doors this time) where Mike drove to Ostend to pick up Jared (his ferry overtook ours). Mike drove a few hours, then Chris slogged out the rest with an occasional prod whenever he threatened to drive off the road. Easy drive (not as if we were going to drive into the back of anything else on the road !) We had a small detour in Germany when we took the wrong autobahn (foreign dignposts !) Got lost driving around looking for petrol and got strange looks from the garage attendant when the land-rover started urinating on his forecourt. No-one stopped us at the customs (too smelly) so hit Bad Aussee, Austria by about 12.30 at night GMT. Arrived to see a mysterious furtive rustling from a green tent at the site (who was groping whom is of course confidential). Since the faster smoothie didn't buy us a crate, we had to go to bed sober.
Grubby hitchers (Andrew and BKA) made it around 12.30 Sunday (3 days of _variable_ going) - Train London -> Dover, ferry 2 minutes later, got amazinbg lift to beyond Köln - unfortunately the Geordie had already been up well over 24 hours, had driven ~14 hours, and was definitely fading by the time we met him. Embarassingly, he even gave us DM10, being as we had no marks. Arrived salubrious service station 3.30 am. Good hitching on Friday - Haydn's Firework music blasting through lorry cabin, two highly hirsute types, furry car-seats and closed car-windows, sauna-style, excessively fast Audi. Had Bournvitas, approached by stick-insect type hitcher, were evilly snotty to him, and he turned out very nice, felt reet bastards. Service station just outside München for the night, nearly trampled by horses, eaten alive by midges. Found ourselves on local dogwalk as emerged next morning. Blissful lake swim, then HELLISH day hitching - did ~15 km. Finally get 5 min lift in open-top Merc (no leg space and _v_ windy, but fun), then sweltered in mid-Munich, getting _nowhere_. Finally got two buses and a tram, to cross München. Approached by crippled lurching tramp wanting food for his dog. Spoke English too, malheureusement. Andrew collared poor Australian (complete with didgeredoo)(who'd just smashed in a car's door $200 worth, was broke) who took us to a service station. _Bad_ hitching there, tried 'till 9 pm. Camped on filthy, slimy, smelly mat of grass, in traffic island being lulled to sleep by 5000 cars per hour. Watched, in amazement, as put in contact lenses in morning, by audience of 5 gaping gypsies. _Finally_ got amazing lift _all_ the way to campsite car park by V.V. kind Austrian couple (with appropriate slobbering grovels). Devoured half of expedition food (after 4 days of stale bread and sweaty cheese). Juliette arrived, after we'd 'swum' in river (v. necessary). Walked, swum, washed clothes, walk, ate, ate, etc.
Its hard to envisage the raw courage of one lone feminist setting out into the raw uncivilised wastes of Europe to get to .... sin city, Salzburg. Actually, wasn't too bad - found someone on the train who'd been to Peterhouse. Of course, ferry'd been deserted by the Townsend Thoresen "Spirit of Commercial Consideration over Public Safety" disaster. Same couldn't be said of train - spent night breathing Japanese feet. Didn't wake up because hadn't slept (sulk). Saw alps rising suddenly and majestically out of plain, blah, blah, poetry etc. Lots of cataracts, forests, precipices and poets standing on hilltops. Out of train onto Postbus (gosh ! isn't Salzburg pretty ?) SPEAKING GERMAN AND BEING UNDERSTOOD. Lots of lakes etc. Changed onto train at Bad Ischl STILL JUST ABOUT COMMUNICATING. Very pretty of course, gosh, wow. Found Bad Aussee and bus immediately (good excuse not to walk) and Gasthof and NO CAVERS. Bloody Hell, sulked in river and talked to local cats, flashed myself at car drivers and eventually ate cold rice pudding. Don't want to cave - am going to lie in river for 3 weeks.