The Road Through Europe 1/3

If you combine a bunch of roads that have been taken in a strange, different and unique way, does that make it the road not taken? Maybe not, just an idea. 

So I decided to do something a little bit crazy; I decided to buy a Land Rover Defender in London, and then transport to Iceland. How? By driving from London to the White Cliffs of Dover, crossing the English Channel, driving through Continental Europe up to the north of Denmark  and taking the Smyril line ferry from Denmark all the way up to Iceland, via the Faroe Islands. Stopping at:

  • London, United Kingdom
  • Dunkirk, France
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Bremen, Germany
  • Hirtshals, Denmark
  • Thorshavn, Faroe Islands
  • Halfway across Iceland via the northern Route 1
  • Reykjavik, Iceland

This post is about the first part of my journey through Europe with the Landy, up until when I got on the ferry in Denmark. The map below shows the entire journey.

The Route Through Europe

I left first thing in the morning from London on Easter Sunday. It was a straight run with absolutely no traffic. The sailing from Dover to Dunkirk was at 10am but I arrived at 07:30. DFDS offered to put me on the 08:00. Absolute win! I was in Brussels by 14:00.

Once in Brussels, I men up with Frank who is also gearing up to bring his Landy to Iceland. In just a couple of weeks time, he will make the same journey that I made! We made some nice modifications to the Landy, like fitting a wading kit to allow the axels to breath, fitting a subwoofer, new stereo, spot headlight and an LED lightbar. After three days in the workshop, we were ready to roll out for Amsterdam

 Frank's (very) photogenic cat, Nolan

Frank's (very) photogenic cat, Nolan

Amsterdam was great. Awesome to arrive there and chill out for a day. The original idea was to go to the Rijksmuseum which is easily one of the world's finest museums. However, the weather was so fantastic on that day that we decided to laze around in Vondelpark instead and soak up some rays. Not a bad choice at all, and the Rembrandts will have to wait. It helps that I have already been there, and I will almost certainly be back so it wasn't too difficult to turn down.

And then, there were the tulips. They pretty much speak for themselves. Easily one of the highlights of the trip. What was tricky about setting up the shot that I had in mind was that I needed a road right next the tulip field. Mostly all you would find would be a ditch dug out around the field. Sure enough, we drove around for a while and eventually found this tractor access road arounf the edge of the one of the fields. The way was solid and dry, but dusty and slightly bumpy. No problem for the Landy, and this marked the first "off-road experience" for the Landy since I took possession of the Landy only 5 days before.

Quick day time stop in Bremen after landing there very late, left that afternoon for Hirtshals and it was in Bremen that the expedition ported ways. William and I continued to Hirtshals while Frank turned back around to Brussels. It was absolutely awesome to have him as part of the journey.

We set off from Bremen with a full tank of Diesel and 40l in the trunk in two jerry cans. We decided to push the Landy all the way to the end. It got into the RED zone of the reserve somewhere 70km outside of Hirtshals. Knowing that we had half a tank in the back as insurance, we pushed it all the way. By some miracle, we got the Landy ALL THE WAY THERE! We stopped at a nice hotel in Hirtshals at 2am (the only one that was open) and when we turned the Landy back on in the morning it huffed and puffed and made all kinds of noises. A quick refuel from the jerry and a quick shot of diesel through the engine and we were off!  

That morning, we had enough time to visit the lighthouse after a sumptuous breakfast before getting in line to check in for the ferry, where there were plenty of other Landys also waiting in line, I even managed ta make a few new friends!

And so, the journey was half over.

The next post will be about my 17 hours in the Faroe Islands. Stay tuned for more!

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter Signature

Joe Shutter

Photography by Joe Shutter and Frank Nieuwenhuis