After 17 days, 16 bottles of gin, 14 countries, 10 drivers, 5 currencies and 2 time zones, rather surprisingly 3 London black taxis made it to Athens! Number of unfriendly locals we met– absolutely zero, including those we didn’t give G&T’s to. Even the police were really nice whenever they fined us. Proving, unquestionably what a lovely place Europe is.
Along our journey, we noticed some slight differences between the UK and our European counter parts. Sarajevo does not have running water between 11 pm and 6 am, Albanian banks don’t actually have any money and nowhere but the UK does real ale.
Driving three London taxis through the narrow, café-lined, cobbled, pedestrian-only streets of Athens was reminiscent of a scene from the film, The Italian Job, apart from the fact that we weren’t in Italy, or doing a bank heist.
After a bit of searching in rush-hour traffic, we managed to find a pedestrian-only area to park with views of the Coliseum thingy in the background for the ‘Oh my god, we actually made it photos’. The perfect place to put up our pop up bar supplied by Jim and tonic and give out G&T’s to the locals. Rather surprisingly and a little disappointingly this didn’t get us a friendly chat with the Greek police. I’m sure things would have been very different if we tried to do the same outside Buckingham Palace.
It was slightly concerning the number of children flocking around our “fake taxi” logo, waiting to sign the car. If you are as innocent as I, you will need someone to explain this to you, rather than having an embarrassing browsing history on your computer.
We did still, however, make it to Athens all the same. Well 3 of us did anyway. On day 14, 5 of the 6 mechanics deserted us. They were replaced by Chris Campbell and Martyn Warwick – neither are mechanics and their idea of fun isn’t cars not starting. They do both have great skills in ordering Ouzo shots which added some variety to our gin diet.
One of the points of the adventure, whilst not just spreading some love and gin across Europe was to help some great causes at the same time. We have donated the taxis to an amazing refugee charity in Greece, which was obviously always the plan – http://www.khora-athens.org/organisation/ Not that we wanted to mention that before in case none of the taxis actually made it.
We are also raising money via rotary for a fantastic UK charity – http://aimeducation.co.uk/ that we did the Mongolian rally and channel swim for last year. It would mean a huge thing to all of us if you could take a moment to sponsor us here – https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/davidbartonprice
Now we feel it’s time for a well-deserved cold beer and a huge sigh of relief that there wasn’t a single unplanned collision. I just need to remember that you cannot just drive into the back of normal cars…