Tales of catastophe, sex and squalor from the Alpine Underbelly...

Belle de Neige

Friday, 4 June 2010

Road Trip

'Agua please!' Sbh yells to the barman in Space before being handed the minuscule container of precious fluid - about enough to shove in your eye, or quench the thirst of a very well-watered flea.

'Seven Euros' smiles the barman, palm outstretched.


'Yes. Seven. Welcome to Ibiza, my friend.'

We've been dancing for 6 hours, and the tap water in Space is salted.

* * * * * *

Distance traveled: 1.137 miles - Belle's Hometown to Ibiza
Number of hours at wheel: 18
Rollups smoked: Many thousands
Wrong turns: Several. Barcelona via Bordeaux. Interesting detour.
Cash rinsed: Intense amounts
MGBs of emergency iphone sat nav use downloaded at extortionate roaming charges: Don't even want to know.
Years added to life in stress: 3 or 4
Minutes to spare before departure of Barcelona - Ibiza ferry: About 15

Amusing place names spotted: Angergville (population me!), Lardy....and Pussay.

So we made it to Ibiza by road in my dodgy red Alfa Romeo, which is now falling apart at the seams. And I have learnt several important things about the French, having been sucked down a dual carriageway wormhole of despair around Paris way. As well as being unable to grasp the concepts of the words 'The' and 'It' the French have not cottoned onto the idea of roundabouts. Judases.

The journey was eventful to say the least. I even got spot breathalised for absolutely no good reason, around Monnerville, our halfway point, by a policeman wearing what was suspiciously reminiscent of a Thunderbirds uniform.

'Ello Madame. Ave you been drinking alcool today?'
'Non monsieur.Pas de tout. But there's an eighth of weed in my coffee pot in the back there if you're interested?'

After a feast of pasta cooked over a tiny camp stove in the oddest campsite in the world (lots of Dutch people and miniature gardens), a bottle or two of red procured from an obliging lady and few too many joints we slept. It was a chilly night huddled in SbH's at best basic, at worst cobbled together tent. Next day 11 hours of driving stretched ahead of me like a death sentence. Feeling drowsy I made a decision. Modafanil. Yes. Loved by narcoleptics the world over. Let's experiment with prescription medication and drive at very high speeds on the continent! Super idea.

...But hold on....I don't remember these side effects.... Soon it was sweaty palms. Slurred speech.Short term memory loss. Slight foaming at the mouth and a state of tea-strained brain vegetation which rendered me unable to concentrate on anything but the road tumbling ahead of me. Fear and loathing. But at least I was awake. We did the maths. In order to make it in time our speed must not drop below 95 mph.

By the time France's autoroutes melted into Spain's orange skies, black mountains, Popplars and creamy cloud formations I was able to engage in conversation again. We limped into Barcelona, close to tears and into yet another wormhole of one-way streets. We made the overnight ferry just in time.

A beer and a plate of chicken and chips has never tasted so sweet. The wooden floor in a dark corner of a ferry has never been so cosy. The perfectly formed bicep of a sexy man has never made such a comforting pillow.

...and take it from me...the best way to arrive in Ibiza by far is by boat. Hand in hand with a treasured friend, as the dawn floats up from behind the hills into a yellow sky and the purple sea lays like a silk sheet all around.

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