Hannah here. We have now driven through 7 countries, covered 800 miles of driving, and, if you add all the hours together, spent almost 26 hours on the road.
As modes of transport go, theres nothing quite like choosing your own pee stops. The freedomt to pull over the car to take photo's of a field of sunflowers. Gesture wildly at a rainbow for a camera. Document a very- rude-in-translation road sign, pause to appreciate the stillness of a beautiful forrest of silver birch trees.
I'm shocked at how affectionate you can feel for a car; our trusty old Daddy wagon (Ford Focus Estate, baby) straining under its cargo, slowing to 30 as it creaks and groans up the hills but never letting us down.
Some further highlights:
Watching the landscape slowly change from country to country; from flat windswept grassland studded with enormous wind turbines whooshing around in hypnotic circles, to hilly, densely wooded forests.
Long, involved stories from Frankie involving teeny tiny cows and her cousin Stanley and a green croissant that tastes of carrot and its really, really important that she have some raisins for her story now...
Entering a long tunnel in calm weather and leaving the other side in a storm, the wind and rain unexpectedly walloping the car as we emerge.
Straining at the seatbelt to see the sky. Agog at the size of it. The clouds forming ice cream cones, elephants and balloons, scudding across the landscape around us, propelled by an ever present and persistent wind.
Staring blankly out of the window, mind clear. A shepherds hut whizzes by. Miles and miles of corn fields, golden spears nodding as we pass, as if in greeting. Strange little truck stops with wonky hand painted signs.
Enormous sea bridges, tunnels so long you can't quite believe you're still inside them.
Waiting in line as part of the road ahead lifts up to allow a ship to pass through.
The warm snugness of the car as a thunderstorm looms, of which there have been many. The darkness billowing above our heads, hitting the brakes as sheets of rain pound the car, window wipers pumping the water away.
The bliss of a sleeping Frankie in the back, with pinked cheeks. Fresh croissants from a service station, and sweet music from the tape deck. Wordless, staring out of the window. Ibibio sound machine, Dhaka Brakha, Tuung, Tune Yards.
Early morning driving, the mist still clinging to the trees and fields that border the road. The weak morning light stretching over the landscape, seeing no one else on the road for 30 minutes.
Admiring my husband’s beardy profile as he drives.
And, lest you think its all been croissants and corn fields, on the other side of the coin, theres the whole dealing-with-your-toddler-who-is-refusing-to-nap-and-raging-against-being-strapped-in-her-carseat thing. But thankfully, thankfully, those times have been few.