Travel the world with Alfie and his crew members Jude and Ben

Monday, April 10, 2006

Dober Dan!

well, we left spain a few weeks ago with 150 litres of oil on our person and bags full of oranges and lemons from Mirit and Tony,s laden trees. We took Alfie for an ITV - mot - in Granada which was a complete fiasco.
Usually if i don't understand a Spaniard i rely on gesture and facial expression as my means of communication... understand my horror when a particularly
no-nonsense Spaniard handed me a walkie talkie and disappeared under Alfie barking instructions at me. We resorted to a process of elimination "do the indicator Ben!"
"NO!" Booms the voice from below "try the windscreen wipers ben!" "NO!"... it was a long afternoon (and Alfie sadly failed, 40 euros down the u-bend)
all that was missing was the benny hill music.

We deove up the Spanish/French coast desparately avoiding toll roads although still being mystically lured there by some strange tarmac force.

The Rhone Valley region of France was wonderful, fortified towns high up on hill-tops, only accessible by crossing precarios bridges over rivers, St. May is
the only name i remember. One of the French hitch hikers we picked up somehow persuaded us to detour via Avignon (strangely enough it was his destination
too...) but on arrival he lead us to the glorious "Palais des Papaes", the Popes Palace in the 1300's, what a historic gem! Apparently there is a wonderful
Festival d'Avignon in july that rivals Edinburgh - I'll come back one year i think.

The French/Italian Alps were exquisite! I didn't imagine them to look so.....Alpine! Everywhere you looked was a postcard scene - once in Italy we hopped
out of Alfie and took Lyla to play in some mountain snow.

We drove through North Italy, West to East - it was quite industrial and uninspiring so we came off the beaten track at night to find small villages to park up
in which was lovely. Montagnana was the most impressive of all Veneto's walled towns, 2km's perimeter with 4 gates and 24 magestic towers - and it's in pristine
condition even though it dates back to the 13th century, amazing!

We planned to spend a few days in Venice - parking 20 euros - so we tried to park 7 km's away with a thought to walking in - but even that proved ridiculously
difficult so sadly Venice will have to be included on the next trip - i was SO excited about going, so we overcame our disappointmet with a pistachio ice-cream
whilst heading for Cividale del Friuli - right on the Slovenian border. HIstory lesson, Cividale was founded in 50BC by Julius Caesar and it's medieval centre of cobbled streets
winding up from the bright blue river to the bustling square gave it a cosy, warm atmosphere, this was a lovely place to be before leaving Italy.

THEN CAME SLOVENIA! The perfectly ordered woodsheds set in the immaculate gardens of the uniform Alpine houses - the dramatic rise of the Julian Alps is breathtaking.
They appear terrifying and wonderful - modest in a way that france and Italy's mountains aren't - humble too.

We are cureent;y exploring the Soca Valley - i think it's the most beaautiful place i've ever seen. on reccomendation from 2 German lads we spent a night with we went to
the source of the Soca River - North of Trenta - the snow up there was thigh height - Lyla had a whale of a time, it was incredible - luckily for us the 2 lads had walked up the previous
day so we just followed their huge foot-prints. The Source was an avalanche, it looked like a static river of snow tumbling down the mountain side. We aer staying 6km's from Bovec right next
to the Soca River with a 360 degree view of the mountasins with their dramatic snow line 2/3 rds of thre way up, it's completely awesome. The river is emerald green, so, so green it's crysla cleat,
we use it for washing, bathing (only on brave days)...

we've made frinds with the lovely girl in tourist information who rang up all the local farmers to see if anyone wanted us to help - in return for food, and if anyone wanted any oil (we,ve resorted to asking in restaurants and bars if anyone wants to buy 5 litres at a time, have sold 20 litres in Slovenia so far). Well, she found us a guest house close by run by Milan- so off we went
to try and get a job; "So" said Milan without looking at us "what are your wishes." "W...w...Well" i stammered, "We've been working in Spai-" "I'm not interested in what you've been doing - I couldn't care less.
I'll ask again, what do you want?" "Well Milan, we would like some work if you have it!" "You want work? Go and clean my toilets. And clean them well." So that was the start of the strangest relationship i've ever had,
with a man who acts like a James Bond villain, talks to people like their some sort of excrement and wears unneccessarily tight leggins and an oversized hat with a feather in it.

While i was elbow deep in Ajax and urinals Ben had 3 hours to cook a curry for Milan's guests, and it's become stranger still. We've worked there for 3 days now and put up with Milan's outrageous comments about not working
hard enough and not using our brains, and if i'm lucky i even get called "baby". Luckily, we've met a lovely Dutch guy called Roly who introduced us to his friend Barbara who needed some land clearing, which we gladly did. We
had dinner with her and her son Blash the other night and met her beautiful husky dogs. I love it here, the people are open and accepting, and we're slowly learning Slovenian. The best thing of all is that we haven't met ANY BRITS!!!

So, take care you lot, let me know what you're up to..... are the Spring flowers out?

Na svidenja,

Jude x x x x x

by the way, we may go back to spain next feb. to pick olives again with a thought to selling it in England. Does anyone have any contacts? Also, Dea and Marienna, we may go to Denmark in August, would you have any contacts up there?


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