Updated: Mar 9, 2021
We figure you already had bets going and are probably curious - which one was the first of many parts to give up on us? Giovanni informed us the next day that Bogdan’s alternator needed to be replaced and that it would take 3 days for the spare part to arrive plus another one to install it. We were relieved since it was not that big of a deal, neither time nor finance wise. So, once it was clear we had to wait for Bogdan to be fixed we got a hotel room and rented a car (which, for the sake of the Italian lifestyle, we later switched for a scooter).
There we were, on the spur of the Italian boot in a town called Lido del Sol. Cruising along the coastline on a scooter you can almost get into a melancholic mood when the once charming and uprising small towns pass by. Now you find them deteriorating - abandoned buildings, never finished hotels and once colorful now sun faded deckchairs on the beach. Very few tourists were there, the end of the season was nearing and probably due to COVID19 there were mostly Italians.
" It was really frustrating, but the next morning we turned the page on our wise words calendar and it read: love it, leave it, change it. "
The feeling that had been travelling with us since the beginning of our trip was now at its peak: we were in a place where we didn’t want to be and now, we were literally stuck. Driving through Italy was nice and the very last attribute we had in mind for our trip was nice. We wanted adventure, navigate through tricky situations and get out of our comfort zone. Now we were staying on campgrounds with Karl-Heinz and Helga whose daily struggle it was to keep dirt off their rug in front of their house on wheels. Occasionally we did meet people like us - stranded overlanders who were supposed to be in a place somewhere far more remote and uncomfortable with cars that were not made for European streets and campgrounds. It was really frustrating, but the next morning we turned the page on our wise words calendar and it read: love it, leave it, change it. We couldn’t leave it or change it, so we decided to love it. Ok, that’s probably too strong of an expression … we came to terms with it. So, we spent our days on the beach and pool, enjoyed free Wi-Fi for the online classes and didn’t say no to daily Spritzers (at least Katharina didn’t, other people believe Jacky Coke is a drink you should be enjoying worldwide).
Nevertheless, we were super excited when Giovanni called us that we could come and pick up Boggy. We packed everything up, showed up at his Garage in the morning and were still smiling when Giovanni told us that there was just on more liiiiiittle thing he needed to tell us about. Turns out that thing was the leaking vacuum pump which, if not being fixed would eventually cause the breaks to stop working entirely. Why we were not given that information beforehand will always be a mystery to us. After Giovanni had basically told us we were going to kill ourselves sooner or later, it took us another hour and two calls to Gregor to decide to leave Bogdan once again. AAAARRRGHHHH. Who the f*** said to love it, leave it, change it?! We couldn’t take another 4 days in the same place, so after some research we decided to treat ourselves to a small luxury and rented a Trullo in Puglia on a huge olive plantation with a pool all to ourselves. While Boggy recovered from his breakdown we recovered from our own little breakdown, which was more on the mental than on the mechanical side. It was probably then and there that we came to fully understand what it meant to own a 23-year-old Defender - constant troubleshooting, accepting that your car will never - never - be entirely waterproof and most of all staying chilled about it.
When we picked up Boggy a couple of days later, our ferry was already booked and we were eager to enter a new country which turned out to be a first timer for both of us (except that one time when little Bjoern almost sailed on an air mattress from an island towards the Turkish shore, but that's a story for another time).