We had to delay our flight to the U.S. for almost a month, due to the Donald's shutdown rage. I already lamented here, so not any more. But I have not yet mentioned that the shutdown made us homeless, too. Our appartment got leased in the beginning of February when our departure was still a far-off dream. We had to wait for an EPA stamp and did not know for how long this might last.
As we felt shattered and worn-out of waiting in Prague and all this "injustice form the top", we decided to flee from there. Thanks to our friend Mejla who is reconstructing and old mill in the southern Bohemia, we did not have to seek asylum for long. Here, we re-packed our stuff, cleaned the camper and waited for the stamp in a less stressful milieu.
Finally, after 50 days of waiting, we were given th EPA exemption for temporary import of a vehicle. Oh my! This guy, David was his name, who passed it on us must have hated us for our phonecalls and incessant questions. Well, who cares. After all, I think it was no one else than Homer Simpson who helped us to get it. Because the day before we got it we saw this scrap of The Simpsons:
With the stamp in hand we scheduled the shipping and set off for the journey to the Port of Antwerp. A charming 9 hour drive in front of us. We divided this chunk into two and slept over in Lower Franconia where you shall greet "Grüss Gott".
The sleepy camp near Würzburg was run by two amiable people, probably a couple, who stubbornly evaded all my attempts to lead a dialogue. They simply asked question, overheard my answer in something which once was fluent German, and remain quiet and observant.
Our evening was salvaged by a Greek tavern nextdoor and some Weissbier. Girls slept calmly in the car when we came back and suddenly, in this chilly February night, I had this strong feeling - it will do. It is going to be superb for us all.
The next day, we were to cross Germany, Netherlands and Belgium - a 5 hour drive. Girls were super patient, and still, we were losing our temper every now and then. Antonína realized that in the camper one can move a bit more than in the regular car and wanted to avail herself of the services of the front seat passenger. It was rainy and the sky could not be more grey. Yet I realized I am so happy about mere crossing of the European countries. Here are few reasons why:
- I feel a pleasant pathos and weird pride when I read the name of the highway in Germany "Via Carolina" (named after Czech king and Roman Emperor Charles IV)
- Suddenly I caught myself thinking of Regensburg and abbeys and things and concepts I would never normally thought of - traveling is inspiring and it works immediately
- The "Europeanhood" is something great, I am really proud of it and screw all the eurosceptics - neither the war, nor the borders are around!
- I love pronouncing all the local names to myslef, like the river Maas or Pffaffenhofen
- Antonína (3) is able to declare the Flemish an ugly language
After we had got to Anwerp and dropped off the car, we took a train to Brussels where we would stay in our friend's place (thank you, Kaca!). Our homeless period will end with March in New York where we will wait for our second home on wheels and, after all the logistics, will start working properly. We can not wait.
Next time from the U.S.!