Where the streets are paved with water…

It has been a while, and the above hashtags are only a mere sprinkling of the adventures over the past manic few weeks. I’m almost at a loss as to where to start… but I’m sure I’ll find the words to fully update you on the shenanigans since the week long festival that was Sziget in Hungary and the gallavanting across Slovenia, Italy, France and Spain. It has been quite a roller coaster journey, from the exhaustion that was Sziget, the wacky-racer-esque journey to La Tomatina (which may have included the recovery of a mislaid passport), to our current road trip mission to be at Red Head Day in Breda (The Netherlands) in the next three days. Needless to say the team has been suffering from the road trip version of jetlag, catching up on sleep where we can and adding several thousands of kilometres to the VanGo clock.

Rather than bore you with a lengthy post involving every aspect of the past four tanks of fuel, I will tantalise your eyes with an overview of what we’ve been through. But don’t worry, there will be more detailed posts with glorious pictures on each part of the trip… we wouldn’t want to leave any gory detail out now would we.

We landed in the beautiful city of Venice, a city with streets paved with water, a stunning picture postcard moment. A moment that past far too quickly, a fleeting postcard moment. With an obligatory gondola ride under our belts, a few hours of navigating the windy cobble streets back out to the bus station, it was a swift night cap before heading off at the early hour of the following morning to Florence. The aim was to see Florence and Pisa in one day… yes, one day! Which was almost accomplished… had it not been for one passport, one campsite, and one tired Anton (and team) leaving Venice without it. Yes… yes… Anton had left his passport at the campsite. So, after reaching Florence we then took a detour the following day back to Venice, then, on a driving mission only the Great Nordic God’s of Old would have undertaken, back once again past Florence and managed to arrive in Pisa for a beautiful sunset falling over the leaning tower and all the grounds. Now, breath, this is where things get a little more crazy.

Chris, the caffeine fuelled, ginger machine drove till the early hours the following morning to help team VanGo get back on track. We had a tomato fight to get to! At some point during dawn we parked in a motorway Aire (campers/truckers pit stop), moments from the Spanish border. We could almost smell the paella. Anton took the helm whilst Chris rested his very weary head… he’d driven more overnight than we had during the day, and now we were Valencia bound. La Tomatina only a few days away, we were conscious there was still time to make up for, so onward and upward (or Southward at least, we wouldn’t want a repeat of the Venice-Florence-Passport-Gate now do we). Tarragona halts us… a campsite located on the Balearic Sea, literally, wheels, sand, sea. Well, we have 48 hours to kill, before our bodies are pummeled with several tons of tomatoes. So we stop. Breath. Turn off VanGo’s very hot engine. Get some sand between our toes. Salt water in our eyes. Paella in our faces. Sangria in our gullets. There is even a brief amount of time to ink up VanGo. He is now very proud of his new signage, and we have also had people adding us via the various links.

Lastly, in this (not-so-brief) blog update… La Tomatina! We are still picking tomato seeds out of places we didn’t know tomato seeds could get! Nothing could have prepared us for the day ahead, which started with drinking Sangria from the moment we departed the coaches. 9am Sangria seemed like a good idea at the time, litres and litres of the stuff, being poured and consumed like the world was about to end. The drinking only stopped when Anton started a Sangria fight with the staff, complete barrels of the potent red liquid being thrown over staff and guests without prejudice. Then onto the town square… an hour of climbing a greased up pole to acquire a Thor sized piece of ham from its top wavering 25-30ft in the the air, followed by the hour of tomato fuelled abuse that our bodies undertook afterwards.

Which leaves us here… battered, bruised, tired, tomato seeds literally coming out of our eyes, our blood that little redder from Sangria, the dust from Sziget continually being coughed from our lungs, around 4,500km further along the journey. Red Head Day (GingerFest) in Breda, Netherlands is next. A much more relaxed affair. A much needed low key festival. Till VanGo arrives at least…