Days 11 – 13: The home straight!

Vilnius to Gdansk

On Day 11 of their challenge, Alex and Simon woke in Vilnius, happy to be in a bright modern city – a stark contrast from Minsk, just days before.  The day’s itinerary took them across Lithuania and into Poland.  So with the sat nav fired up, they set off…!

As they drove they kept seeing stork nests on tall poles.  Storks nests are considered to be good luck, so local people place these platforms on their land to attract the birds.

A couple of hours later Alex and Simon reached a border, and as they were getting used to, joined a long queue of traffic. Sitting waiting gave them time to think…it wasn’t meant to be so hard to get into Poland.  And that’s when they realised, they were queuing at the wrong border!! It was the border to the Russian city of Kaliningrad!

Setting off again, they got back on track and finally crossed the right border, into Poland, only 5 hours later than intended!  They found a beautiful country of lakes and forests.  A sight they really appreciated after the poverty of the previous days.

They were hoping to spend a rare evening off in the city of Gdansk, enjoying the culture and nice hot meal.  But with the wrong-border-saga of earlier in the day they just had time for a quick exploration.

They visited the offices of Lech Walesa (above), Poland’s second president and their founder of freedom, taking the country from communism to a post-communist state.

Then time dictated the end of their sight-seeing, and then headed for their hotel, with another early start planned for the morning.

 Gdansk to Hamburg, via Peenamunde

Behind the wheel before 7am, Alex and Simon head off Germany-bound.  They had 450 miles to cover, including a short ferry ride just before the Poland/Germany Border at Świnoujście.  

See the sat nav plotting their journey across the water!

Once into Germany they headed for Peenemünde.  This was where the V1 and V2 rockets used in WW2, were fired at Britain.  These rockets were developed by Wernher von Braun, known since as the father of Rocket Science, and who went on to develop the Saturn V which put man on the moon.

V1 – 

V2 –

And Simon with Wernher von Braun!

But they didn’t have any more time, they had another 4.5 hours of driving ahead of them.  Once again, they reached their destination late, with the city shrouded in darkness and fog.  They explored the floating walkways up to the Cap San Diego (if you’re counting, that’s the 4th ship they’ve found to visit along the way!)

The end of the road: Hamburgh to Home!

The final day of the challenge had finally come!  Alex and Simon had one more long road ahead of them.  They crossed the German border into Holland, and past hundred of vast green houses.

Soon their transport was within sight!  The ferry was calling them home!

On board, Simon shows everyone just how far they come, next stop Aldeburgh!

The sun began to set on a long long challenge…

The following day, the Alex, Simon and their faithful banger made it to our offices in Badingham.  Here we all are welcoming them home!

Before they left many people thought that this challenge was just a good excuse for a few days off and a jolly around Europe.  I think now we can all see what a challenge the last 2 weeks have been for Alex and Simon.  They covered over 5,000 miles in a 19 year old car which cost them less than £500!

In total, with team UNDY,they have raised over £11,600 for The East Anglian Air Ambulance and St Elizabeth Hospice.  And for our very own Best of Suffolk Charity Fund they alone have raised an additional £1,416 (+ gift aid).  Sponsorship is still being taken, so if you’d like to give them a pat on the back, head over to our JustGiving page and show your support!