Friday 31 August 2007

Nin . Zatan

Spent last night in a samba bar drinking the strongest long island ice tea i have seen. Almost no coke. This morning we got soaked in the storms we had run away from the night before. We headed north a little up the coast to nin . We heard the weather was better. Oops! Got stuck in a huge scary storm. Massive hail stones. We literally were expecting the glass to shatter. We had our faces covered, and marc protected himself by placing a magazine on his head. Sounds funny but it was proper scary. We arrived at the campsite to find the fire brigade dealing with the water logged site, lots of terrified wet campers and all the beach furniture being fished out of the sea. We are now camped up and waiting for the sun to put his hat on. Car doing great running well. We will check it over properly tomorrow for hail dents. I would be amazed he there is none. The merc emblem was knocked flat. We have the whole thing on video will post it once i an back and bleep out all the swearing! All this on the first day i decide to wear shorts. Planning on a lazy day tomorrow. Chillin and catching up on washing. In a 4 star site so its a bit of a luxury.. If a little damp :)

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Thursday 30 August 2007


Marc feeling proud that for once we found a campsite and got the tents up before dark. We are now cooking pasta and using some oil out of the spare fuel container to fry up the sauce ingredients ! We forgot to save some when we filled the tank.

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Filling up near zadar

The weather at plitvice lakes was awful so we decided to head to the coast away from the rain and clouds. We will most certainly visit on the way back. We had a couple of people interested in the car and definately noticed people pointing as we went by. Although that could have been my hair of course. Anyway we picked up 26 two litre bottles in a supermarket after about an hour of cross referencing labels to find out the croatian for rapeseed. Here i am filling up in the midday heat of 34. We were just outside zadar on the croatian coast.

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Dark again

The problem with all this driving is its often dark when we put our tents up. People dont mind me leaving the engine running once they smell its not fossil fuel. This is us setting up near the plitvice lakes in croatia. Its currently raining with visibility of very little. . Ho hum. One of my earlier blogs didnt come out so i will mention that after namur in belgium we filled up with 30 litres of filtered waste oil from a registered seller. We were not allowed to take a pic, for tax reasons. Seemed odd to me ? Nice couple though. Oil was 80c and was waste from a viagra factory.

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Camp oil

I do like it when the bottle holds itself in the filler so i can stand back and say 'yes it really is vegetable oil' to those who ask. 14 litres put in from camp shop. 90c per litre. In this campsite we met up with a german couple who power thier more modern merc from used oil. Apparently as there is a high demand for used oil for use in the cosmetics industry many restaurants charge for you to take the oil. Up to 20c per litre.

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This is where we are staying tonight. Lake bled in slovenia. The scenery just gets better and better. A few toll charges to pay but the sting is taken away when you drive through a 2 mile tunnel or over an amazing express way perched out on the side of a mountain. We also bought an austrian vignet pass.

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Wednesday 29 August 2007


Here is me attempting to smile for the camera. Argh! Filling up with shop bought oil in austria. If you like driving and you like mountains i can highly recommend driving round austria. We put 8 litres in the tank and left a spare 2 in the boot

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Nope, another stash of which there are 2. Without which i would have no room for clothes. In case your wondering, after catching a druggy using a brick to negotiate his way into my car in amsterdam i never like to leave anything on show in the car that suggests my boot is full of treasure.

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Oh look, a harmless cushion to aid comfort for rear passengers on the long journey.

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No, just one of the ways i had to stash my stuff to make enough room for all our stuff. Its my wash and shaving stuff. So far no interest from customs.

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An innocent looking tissue box you may think? Like the kind found in the back of many 190s.

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We are staying in and exploring the beautifull city of salzburg. Home of mozart, quite literally every one here has one of his greatest hits as a ring tone, its a bit odd i am from harrow but i dont feel the urge to have elton john as my ring tone. We seem to have arrived in the middle of some massive event. The streets are stuffed full of beautifull people all dressed up opera style. Then us of course, the only people looking at prices on the menu. Speaking of which, we were concerned about prices in austria but its not too bad. Campsite is a couple of euro more than so far and we have been placed on a septic tank or something, stamp your foot and both tents wobble! Anyway food was 17e for a very very posh spag with chilli lobster and beers are 3e for nice white beer. Buildings stunning, photos wouldnt be a disservis so here is one of the mercedes benz shop :) the drive down into austria was a joy. Great scenery with a mountain backdrop and no speed limits for much of it. Got the car up to 108mph. on the way back i will close the roof and windows and go for 110

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Probably looks rubbish from a camera phone.

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Oil pump in germany

Filling up with pure rapeseed oil in germany. By a german mario brother! Not sure what its actually meant to be used for but we caused great confusion and entertainment as they have never put it in a car before. They normally only sell to companies who join a scheme and get a card but we some how blagged it.

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Titisee camping

Camping at lake titisee. Really nice camp site and really nice people. This time we paid very very carefull attention to the gates rules!

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Titisee video

Phone video doesnt do it justice and i an not sure if it will blog correctly but lake titisee really is stunning if you can put up with the blatant touristy side (we even had an elvis singer) and dont mind only eating shnitzel

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A quick fill up by lake titisee in the north of the black forest.3 litres of Tescos finest brought from the uk. Stunning scenery round these parts and the torquey merc is taking the slopes in its stride. Still quite a few tourists but that should change as we push on. We have had more shnitzel than we could shake a quick at, we tried shaking sticks but in the end gave in !

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Check out the date on the guide we are using to navigate germany! We have a huge pile of guide books generously donated to us through freecycle. We planned this part before hand and have tomtom as well so this wasnt our only guide.

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'view' from our tents in namur, nice but the site owner REALLY should have told us no cars allowed in after ten! We came back from a pretty skanky meal to find we had to park outside and carry all our stuff. Anyone who knows my travelling companion knows this is a major undertaking. The car has been running really well on the bio. We started off with 14 litres of veg, added 30 of bio in ashford and are now in namur belgium with about 18 litres left. Heading off to the black forest now via luxembourg. The bio smells about the same as the veg which surprised me although due to better than expected mpg there was still some veg in the tank when i put the bio in.

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Filling up on bio

Have been trying to blog these for ages but technology and belgiums have been conspiring against me... Filling up with 30 litres of biodiesel in ashford. Just enough to get through france and into belgium.

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Monday 27 August 2007

Kenny and Marc camped near lake Titisee in the Black Forest last night. The scenery was stunning and it attracts lots of tourists.

They set out this morning in search of fuel. In Germany, rapeseed oil is available from over 100 filling stations, but unless you know which ones they are, you could spend ages searching for them. Fortunately, this website shows you where they all are on a map:

Using vegetable oil from other sources involves registering as an oil producer - something that isn't practical for tourists who are just passing through. Germany has been using vegetable oil as fuel for many years and it is treated as a mature technology. They have a DIN standard for rapeseed oil, and anything that doesn't meet the standard is taxed.

After filling up, they headed for Austria and spent the night in Salzburg.

Saturday 25 August 2007

The journey has begun...

Kenny and Marc set out yesterday morning. They picked up some Biodiesel in Ashford before getting the ferry across to Dunkirk, as Vegetable Oil is an illegal fuel in France. The drove a few miles East into Belgium, where straight vegetable oil is legal provided you buy it from the right place.

They camped in Namur in Belgium and filled up with rapeseed oil at a farm in the morning. I had a text from them at 2pm BST (3pm European time) saying they were passing through Luxembourg on their way to the Black Forest, which is their next stop.

The car is running very well and they are getting very good fuel economy (mpg).

Wednesday 22 August 2007

We had a bit of a bombshell yesterday after having been told that it was legal in Italy to run from vegetable oil the Italian customs finally informed us it is Illegal and we would face a fine of 6500 Euro's if caught.

I suspect this means we will spend more time in Croatia and not go into Italy at all although we may swap to biodiesel for a bit so we can explore Tuscany. Its a real shame as Tuscany was one of the highlights of the trip.

Croatian customs however were more than welcoming and very much encouraged us to come visit them. They were concerned that the oil in Croatia may not be of the standard we are used to but were very interested in what we are doing.

We spoke to customs at Luxemburg and they seemed very confused by the matter. I am not actually sure they believed that the car ran on vegetable oil but the upshot of the matter is that as there is no law about taxing the fuel then there shouldn't be a problem using it. This is of course not definitive but I think its good enough for us.

Friday 17 August 2007

Filter testing

Here is a picture to show our early filter test using a hoover bag. This post is really just to check my newly setup mobile phone blogging works.

Posted by ShoZu

Friday 10 August 2007

Plans are starting to come together now, we have decided to get a decent amount of miles covered in the first day so we will be heading across Belgium and staying in Namur. We are contacting registered vegetable oil sellers in Belgium in order to fill up somewhere on route.

The campsite is booked and they have wifi so we should be able to upload to this blog. From there we will head across Luxembourg and into Germany, aiming to get to the black forest by the evening. Day 3 will be spent exploring the black forest and finding somewhere nice to stay for the evening. The rest is a little more vague at the moment but we should be heading down via Switzerland and into Italy where we will spend a few days near the lakes and down into Tuscany.

From there we will head across to Croatia (via Slovenia) and spend a few days there. The route home will take us up through Austria and via the Nurburgring for a quick lap (probably not that quick actually) before heading home.

We apologise to any French readers but as it is illegal in France we will not be spending much time there, and the time that we do spend will be running on biodiesel (which we prefer not to do).

If you have any information regarding the laws in Croatia, Slovenia, Italy or Luxembourg please contact us.

Thursday 2 August 2007

Due to a slight conflict of dates we have had to put the start back one day to the 24th August. The new outbound ferry is booked and we are making preparations.

We have picked up all the things we need to legally drive in europe, fire extinguisher, visibility jackets (very fetching), beam converters and a GB sticker. Being a merc it already has a first aid kit of course.