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Travel Diary - 2003
5 January | Senegal
22 January |Gambia
18 January |Guinea
9 February | Mali
22 February | Burkina Faso
3 March | Ghana
19 March | Togo
20 March | Benin
25 March | Niger
12 April | Chad
15 April | Cameroon
16 April | Nigeria
30 April | Congo
24 May | RDC
31 May | Angola
5 June | Namibia
27 June | South Africa
30 August | Lesotho
10 September | Swaziland
9 October | Botswana
17 October | Namibia
19 October |
Zambia
29 October | Malawi
4 November |Mozambique
16 November | Tanzania
12 December | Rwanda
16 December | RDC
18 December | Uganda
24 December | Kenya

Travel Diary - 2004
9 January | Ethiopia
6 February | Sudan
21 February | Saudi Arabia
23 February | Jordan
3 March | Syria
5 March | Turkey
12 March | Greece
21 March | ...And Home

 

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17 months, 43 countries, and 2 vehicles

Greece

The border crossing was one of the easier ones - I was of course re-entering the EU, and there was no more need for the carnet. Insurance, however, was a little more tricky as I discovered when I tried to buy some at the first decent town I came too - they would only sell it for Greek registered cars - a slight problem...

Greece was, like Turkey, far newer and shinier than I expected - the towns I was passing through were smallish provincial towns, but the air of sophistication and the expensive shops reminded me that I'd been away from civilisation for too long (and now here I was driving though the very cradle of civilisation without insurance...)

I'd arrange to call in on Pantelis, who is the moderator of the Camel Trophy Owners Club forum, and decided to try my luck in Athens, so after a night in a hotel along the way I arrived in time, appropriately, for lunch.

This sort of set the tone for the next few days - Pantelis and his wife Constantia obviously though I needed fattening up, and what I thought would be a brief stop to say hello ended up as being a marathon of Greek cuisine and splendid hospitality.

Pantelis arranged for Antonis, a local mechanic, to carry out the minor repairs that the Camel required - mainly a bent steering rod, and a general service - but I was so impressed with his work that I stayed on to get a pair of anti-sway bars fitted. As part of the competition spec these were omitted - it allows greater movement of the suspension, but means the ride is a bit like being in a ship with a crosswind. The additions made a tremendous difference to the handling of the Camel, and I can now drive comfortably at high(ish) speed.

I was also finally able to organise insurance over the phone with a Gibraltar insurance company - quite an ordeal, but it's comforting to be legal again...

Meanwhile Pantelis took me around the Parthenon - very crowded but it is of course a must-see. I'd decided to be very selective in my tourism - Greece is full of ancient sites, and I'm supposed to be in transit. Pantelis has two CT Discos, and helped me sort out a few minor problems with mine - he's a veritable land Rover encyclopaedia... I also got to meet Nicos who owns another CT Disco, and who invited my to stop off at Patras on my way to Italy, which I duly did.

It was a shame to leave such friendly people behind, but I could feel the call of home, and so I bought my ferry ticket to Ancona, Italy (57 for me, 65 for the Camel), and drove aboard the open deck ferry (which meant of course that I could sleep the night in my roof tent).