Dust Diesel Rally # 1: The prelude.By Elisa | On 22. November 2019 take an adVANture · On November 22, 2019
When the alarm rings, the time on the flashing display of my smartphone shows just 5.00 clock in the morning. Lost in half sleep, I search a little disoriented the snooze button, which I actually meet on the first try. "Only 10 minutes left", I think and turn with too much momentum on the other side. The foam mattress under me is such a cheap part of the Internet, 1.20 m wide and 2.00 m long, and so thin that I bump my hip on the wooden plate below. This is followed by a brief dull ache, but it helps me to wake up. I'll stay a bit in the rusty VW T4, which has been my home for a few days and it will be almost three weeks for the next couple of days.
Since Saturday we are on the way. I think about which day of the week we have and hang on Thursday. Or is it already Friday? A handful of days for 2,700km - definitely the opposite of slow travel, as I prefer. It was raining in the Allgäu, a typical weather in late April, when we packed the old buses and made our way to Spain. South, towards the sea and Africa.
A bit of wood, a lot of gray paint, a few stickers here and there, a lot of patience in fixing some vehicle defects and generous ignoring of various rust spots inside and out. In addition, there is a massive underbody protection, a Höherlegung and two auxiliary lights. The instructions could be something like that, if you want to build a camper very provisionally in order to transport him to West Africa.
The first unplanned stop we already made on Lake Constance.
The diesel line of our bus licked and had to be patched again. Shortly after the border with France, somewhere near Belfort, the first day ended and even now I know the beautiful feeling that I had back then. When the stress of everyday life drops and the excitement gives way. Ignorant of how the following weeks will be, but knowing that it will be an adventure.
A big piece of Europe was still ahead of us. A continent that stands for diversity and passion. For countless cultures in a small space, for spectacular landscapes in the kilometer cycle, for short distances and wide views - a potpourri of >
I still remember the narrow streets and the small villages. To my rusty Spanish right after the border. Of bad coffee and delicious pastries and the cold asparagus, although I thought to have ordered fried potatoes. At first it was still cold at night, and the hat, scarf and well-being were always in attendance. Sometimes the mountains were our view, then again flat hinterland.
With each kilometer it became warmer and the Chucks finally gave way to the flip-flops, which will alternate from then on only with the barefoot. The sun rose at the sea and even if I rather belong to the "Team mountains", I can not deny that the sea still holds some magic. On the Penyal near Calp, we could stand our feet and shortly afterwards enjoy a clean shower - I love the fact that in the form of travel, something as trivial as warm running water gains in importance again.
Our first destination was Andalusia.
Now I'm lying here in one of the gray buses, my husband next to me, my friends a little off, and think briefly about the last few days. Until the alarm clock on my phone reminds me to get up again. At some point I should change the annoying standard sound in melodious singsong with guitar sounds, to give the start one day new momentum.
The sparse lighting on the campsite here in southern Spain is the only source of light, moving only a few meters away from the lantern, it is pitch black. I hear the sea rushing and try the morning toilet, which runs so completely automated so early. First the teeth, then the face, the hair stays as they are. Less than an hour later we are already standing with our vehicles at the entrance to the small harbor area in Tarifa. It starts to dawn and as we plunge into the belly of the ferry, the sun slowly fights over the hills of Andalusia.
Fourteen kilometers separate us from Africa - just a stone's throw, compared to the last few kilometers we have covered in recent days. Here, at the southernmost point of mainland Europe, the Strait of Gibraltar connects the Atlantic with the Mediterranean Sea. History and geography meet and the place could speak, he would certainly have a lot to tell us. But now he is silent, only the engines of the ship roar and the first seagulls squeal wearily over us. I go on deck and watch as Europe gets smaller and smaller. On the other hand, Africa is getting bigger and we are getting closer to the actual starting point of our journey with every nautical mile. Shortly after 8.00 clock we roll on the gray asphalt of Tangier. Salam aleikum, Morocco. I'm looking forward to my third trip through the country, which has already given me a broken toe, a little panic attack and countless beautiful moments in the past.
We are, by the way, a total of eight friends, the four gray VW T4 buses and one destination: Saint-Louis in Senegal. But we are also 33 other people and 19 other vehicles, mainly the Mercedes Benz brand. And we all take part in the Dust Diesel Rally , an amateur rally for anyone with a good cause. Because shortly before the end of the trip, we will sell the cars in Mauritania and donate the entire proceeds of the AEPN Mauritania help eV , a German-Mauritanian aid project for disadvantaged children. But until that happens, there are still some 4,000 kilometers to go.