Namibian, at the loss of both a cooked breakfast and yet more weight, chomped furiously at the bit. You see, he hadn’t planned to go anywhere (obviously), happily surviving without any Swiss shitters if fed and watered.
Eighteen other truckers were likewise stranded in a foreign land, with no foreign money and nothing to eat. On balance, we’re worse off than the fans? Possibly as consolation, we’re issued crew cardigans with hoods.
Oh, you want to know about Claudia I suppose? She is nice, late twenties, with an excellent command of English. She possibly has a shade less vocabulary than Crazy Sandra but without all the endearing mistakes.
Swiss Julian joined us – chiefly to ogle my date, I think – and tells me that tram drivers in Zurich don’t think much of Englishmen warding them off with umbrellas used as light-sabers. Point taken.
We went food shopping instead, delirious with hunger from a lack of catering. As it turns out, euros are readily accepted in Zurich, but it feels a little like bartering in Morocco. Whatever amount is quoted for fruit, or a sandwich, I say, ‘call it 5 Euro?’ They do, and hand the Swiss change to Julian.
Now, are you interested in arcane trucking details? Did you know that many European countries ban trucks from travelling between 22.00 on Saturday night and 22.00 on Sunday night? Coo, what a nuisance.
Annoyingly, the show cancellation happened so quickly that there wasn’t enough time to organise exemption permits; in order to override the restrictions, cash can be coughed up, but it takes a little time.
And in Switzerland they ban trucks at night during the week as well, which is simply daft – we have to clog up the roads during the day instead.
For those who don’t spend their lives bumbling across Europe, perhaps I should mention that the motorway signs change arbitrarily from blue to green and back again as one passes between countries.
It is obvious which road is toll road with the benefit of experience, but I do remember arriving at the Swiss border in a car, tender and naïve at the age of nineteen. It was at the top of an Alp in a Skoda Rapid – an oxymoron if ever there was one.
‘Vignette,’ the surly guard demanded. I promised to remain on small roads, thereby skirting the road tax, and he waved me through.
Strictly avoiding blue roads, as one would in England, and indeed France, I rolled up at Swiss Julian’s house, green with envy at how good the roads are in Switzerland. I was lucky that time, having stuck steadfastly, and ignorantly, to Switzerland’s motorways without a fine.
Lorries though, as you may remember, are taxed by the kilometre. Bear in mind that there is no signpost to Barcelona as you pull out of Zurich; perhaps you can understand how six of us found ourselves turning round at the airport ‘departures’ slip road.
Whoops, I’m not sure how that happened. I might start looking at a map before we set off in future..