White Cliffs of Dover

Day 101: The final journey

The drive to Calais was one of our most memorable journeys and we talked nonstop for five hours. “I got done for robbin’ the Queen’s cousin in the Cotswolds!” Singher told us, “Me and couple a mates knew they had some precious antics in this poorly guarded old mansion so we tried o

Day 100: Stuck in Belgium

As we prepared ourselves for the final push on Day 100, the final day of our journey, I started to think about the Rich-Mike Hitchhike as a marathon. At the beginning, in South-East Asia, we were running on adrenalin and exuberance. We then settled down in China and found our rhythm, powering out th

Day 99: Luxembourg

Luxembourg had a gothic, almost sinister feel as we walked through the dark and drizzly afternoon. The black turrets in the skyline, oblivious to the winter rain, watch over the city-state as if it were still medieval times.  Judging by the stories the Luxembourgers tell their children here, I

Day 99: Storks and Scum in Strasbourg

These days Strasbourg is a big deal. The city is one of the few in the world which is not a state capital and yet hosts international organisations of the first order.  Strasbourg is now home to the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament, making it the

Day 98: Monsters in Basel

What do you get if you cross a bird and snake? If you said “Basilisk” then you’re either an ardent fan of Harry Potter or perhaps a resident of Basel.  Sitting at the confluence of Italy, France, Austria and Germany, Switzerland is a country straddler and Basel is “the Switzerland” of

Day 97: Lucerene

One night a fisherman saw an angel holding a lantern in the sky. The fisherman followed the path illuminated by the angel to a heavenly lake. “Wow!” said the fisherman, “This is the most beautiful lake in all the land. I proclaim the name of this lake to be: Vierwaldstättersee” The angel sc

Day 95: to Bellinzona, Switzerland

The Swiss love folklore, tales, myths and legends, so I knew I’d like here before I arrived. A common theme is wily peasants outwitting the rich, usually Austrian authorities. William Tell is the most famous example.  Many believe that William Tell is no myth, that he really existed and that

Day 93: to Candela, one of Italy’s ghost towns

Candela is one of Italy’s dying towns. Different countries deal with their ageing demographics, – the result of young people leaving, families having fewer children and people living longer – in different ways. Georgia grants 1-year visas on arrival, presumably in the hope that vis

Day 92: Durrës, Albania

King Zog, ruler of Albania from 1928–1939 was once shot as he entered parliament, once in the hand and again in the hip. The assembled leaders of Albania were aghast as Zog calmly sat down at his table to continue working.  “Such things happen often,” said Zog, puffing on one of his 200-a-day

Day 91: The power of Bougatsa in Thessaloniki

The reason we were heading to Thessaloniki was that the BBC were making a documentary about the pilgrimage of St Paul, narrated by David Suchet. St Paul was famously converted to Christianity after seeing “a sign from Jesus Christ” while on the road to Damascus. After the conversion, Paul travel