Dirty and tired we arrived today Sunday to Teheran the capital of Iran. Despite that we were awfully worn out after hard driving and early wake up in a temperature of +38 degrees, the drive into the Swedish embassy had the dignity of a state visit.

To at least able to find our way to the embassy we had to stop at a traffic accident to ask the policemen for help. We got so as to speak surprised when they instantly left the accident and threw themselves into their police cars to drive at the front of us. The drivers at the car crash got angry and the policemen had to remove them from the place before they could engage in their new assignment – to see to that the strange Swedish caravan with three dusty vehicles could advance through the crowded traffic.

They put on the blue lights and even the sirens some times, to be able to drive through. Kjell and Patrik in the Mercedes were ordered to drive directly after the police car, we as well with the blue lights on and when needed the sirens as well.

Guess if we enjoyed ourselves – this was an entrance to the Iranian city of 13-miljon habitants that we will never forget about. We drove 28 kilometers after the police up and down the streets. There were hasty turns at when crossing road junctions, where other policemen stopped the traffic. Not even the police who assisted us could find the embassy, so how could we have done it?

After some tours here and there we found the embassy and we wanted to thank the police as well. But they were not like the other official servants in this part of the world; they declined the gift that was offered.

The night before Sunday we slept at stubble – field in the city of Zanjan. We found the city’s recreation park and we felt that the field was attractive. Truth is that many curious visitors came. But they were mostly from the flock of sheep that grazed right into the camp when we were having breakfast that was the coolest thing. This shepherd as all of his other colleagues that we had met under the journey had a real big discipline with the animals. Every sheep is of high value for a poor owner, the same applies for the small cowherds that are seen everywhere. The animals are taken care of with silken gloves and are absolutely obedient when being guided by the shepherds and their dogs.

So the sheep in the stubble – field, where we arrived at after a hot day through the desert and the mountain via Tabriz. This was a typical driving day changing drivers at each stop everyone made their contribution.

Two happenings under these pauses have to be mentioned. When refueling, a suspicious creaking sound was heard coming from the front wheel of the Ford. In Sweden we should have had to look hard and long for a garage that besides being closed for lunch, would not have had time to help us before two weeks ahead. In Iran you just have to turn around the corner of the petrol station to find a guy with a jack who will instantly and skillfully take on the assignment.

Mended we drove from the place, later lunch was taken at the side of the road. It was there when we met the newly married Dutch couple on their honeymoon journey – nine months on a bicycle from Holland to Hong Kong, a journey wholly in Göran Kropps style.

In darkness we searched for the earlier mentioned stubble- field, where we ate and slept in the tent and cars as well as possible. We had earlier with safety in mind tried to sleep at a police station, but the police officer could only offer us to sleep at the paved car parking lot, besides the main road. We thanked him politely but said definite no.

A luxury shelter in Teheran has replaced the stubble – field. The embassy sent us to two apartments at a special hotel for diplomats, totally new and with a decoration that really made a contrast to the outdoor life the night before. We shared floor with the ambassador from South Africa.

It is just because of the contrast that makes this journey so unreal, exciting and interesting.

We are not trying to obtain luxury under this journey but it has to be admitted that it is very nice to be able to wash in the apartment’s washing and dry tumbler machines as well as get the your whole body scrubbed.

Hospitality has no limits sometimes. Here in Teheran we have got in touch with Mehdi and Kabe Abtai, father and son from Strängnäs and on vacation in Mehdi’s old home city Treheran.

In Strängnäs Mehdi Abtai is known because he drives the Strängnäs Pizzeria. He wanted now to show us around Teheran, he took us to one of the many centers that characterize this geographically divided city. Aligahpoo is a traditional Iranian restaurant, where many go for eating a good meal and listen to Iranian folk music. We ate among other things baghalipoloh (rice with beans and dill), chelokebab (grilled beef on skewer), chelobarg (grilled lamb meat on skewer), and jojemorgh (grilled chicken on skewer), refreshing watermelon and the usual cup of tea ended the feast meal.

As a mean to sponsor the expedition Abtahis treated us to the dinner and all the taxi trips around it. Here in the homepage we once more express a big thank you for the festive break from all car driving.

By the way it nearly ended up into a real break. Jan- Olov struggled tenths of kilometers on the way to Teheran trying to get the Ford into speed. But only reached to around 60 – 70 kilometers/hr and violently shaking. Peter took a look into the bonnet and discovered that a couple of cables were on fire, Luck was on our side – before seriously damaged, the cables were taped and now the car is driving well again.

It a couple of other things about cars must be noted. The police in this country have Mercedes cars of the latest model as patrol cars. There is scarcely even in the west another country that can afford these nice vehicles.

Iran is an extremely friendly country despite the hard regime. Just that the price for one liter of fuel is around one Swedish crown makes one willing to come over here. It is known that the price have risen three times under the winter reaching to the awful price of 98 Swedish öres for the liter. Everybody can afford to drive here and this is obvious on the roads and around Teheran. Until now it is only here the traffic thickens and gets nearly impenetrable. In the rest of Iran the roads are of good quality, which has been a positive surprise, and the traffic is not as dense as it has been announced.

It is said that it is different on the side of Teheran.

Referring to the journey on our way to here, we stopped for a short brake near Qusvin. There we met a happy war veteran and all of his friends. Johan experimented and called one of the gentlemen from our Ericsson cellular telephone cheerfulness raised at this meeting between the industrial country representatives and the gang from the third world. It is in this world that Ericsson is planning to expand the GSM- network. A part of the plans are the communication solutions that we are achieving under the journey. Johans jumping into the role of a telephone operator is just one little fraction of the big picture, which gives proof of the impact tha project has.

The journey continues further within Asia. What makes everything nicer is that everyone is taking care of the assigned responsibilities to the letter.

Kjell leads with an experienced and skilled hand one more travel for Swed Asias, but this time a real expedition with problems arising all the time. He is our man to send to solve all the situations that constantly arise, not in the least is he, self appointed our map reader and the prompter that see to that we get further.

At home our coordinator is sitting constantly at the phone – or mailing. She handles the updates, external contacts and acts with success as a problem solver. It feels secure to have her backup

Christian and Joakim handle the food and the communications technical equipment. Some guys, to keep everything ready and in order. Not a second do they waste in sulking when being pushed around by us with issues around computers and telephones; chairs and tables; gas stoves and cutting – boards; plates and cutlery; pasta dishes and tinned mackerel; tea and coffee, yes, all that has been has to them been allotted can not be summed up.

Peter and Johan put their heads together when it comes to the vehicles. Two very skilled technicians, as a guarantee of a safe and secure journey.

Jan-Olov have taken more than 2 000 pictures. Half of them might have been edited and saved. Most of the pictures from the skilled professional photographer are published on our home page.

Patrik is the responsible for these reports on the homepage as well as for the chronicles around the expedition onn the “Eskilstuna kuriren” .There will be several other medias that will get the articles and pictures when we are back home sometime at the beginning of August.

This is being written late at night in a comfortable sofa in our hotel Saba near the embassy, from where we will fetch the cars to continue our journey. Before that, the signer of this article will serve Christina and Joakim breakfast in bed as thanks for all the nice service they give us.

Kave and mehdi treated us to a feast meal in Teheran. Here we are eating water melon together with Christian and Joakim

With Police escort drove we through Teheran’s streets.
One usually refers to the romantic midsummer light.

But we celebrated midsummer in total darkness. The truth is though that it can not be complained to about the midsummer weather. Yes, we know the weather at home as been unstable. But here in Iran it is high summer time- when we arrived last evening at Garziadin the temperature +34, 5 degrees.

At least that was the temperature shown in the thermometer in the Mercedes from Mora. The thermometer is working well and so do the three vehicles to. Small incidents occurs all the time but this is part of it and can be solved by Peter and Johan, the experts in this expedition.

We arrived to the little city (20 000 habitants), at 10:00 o’clock PM local time (7.30 PM in Sweden). In total darkness because of power failure, only some few lamps or gaslights were on. With help from a local escort we were able find our way to the only existing hotel in the place, far from first class with a toilet (The classical hole on the ground that requires a special technique) in a hidden corner out in the garden and a shower connected to the dining room.

Hassan the owner was proudest over three things, a shower with warm, the diesel driven electricity power engine that made it possible for some lamps to be alighted and the throne in the dining room. Two chairs were of a luxury model (compared with rest in the room) for the wedding couple to sit under the celebrations arranged for wishing them wealth and happiness.

Back to our remote maypole rise and bands that have to be tied. We had to be content with the pasta and chicken sauce donated by the department of defense, some few pieces of banana could be found in the dish to create the real sense of celebration, and four 1,5 liters soft drink bottles were bought for the total of 13 Swedish crowns. In this alcohol free country, Hassan managed in one way or another to find some small cans of beer, which became the special treat.

We can guarantee that none of us will forget this moment, we collapsed in our hard beds, exhausted by warmth, impressions, difference of time and this late hour. Especially for the brave Margareta it was delightful, first when the hotel owner closed the gates, could she remove her veil.

The day had begun in our camp in the mountains of eastern turkey. Here we could we could feel safe, bandits could not come near, the only living creatures that approached were some wild dogs. But not even they bothered about us.

But Joakim as a camp leader is nice and knowledgeable. The tent was set up, we ate good food from the kitchen camp and drank up some alcohol that we found in the cars.

We started early in the morning and drove through the wonderful landscape to the boarder city Dogubayaszit, where the only hotel in the city became our base for some hours.

The overwhelming mountain of Ararat in the middle of the desert like a huge sugar cone (5 137 meters above the sea) dominates the city. True, that’s where Noah as mentioned in the bible, arrived to with his arc, an historical mountain that sends time less vibrations. This applies as well to the little Dogubayasit, where life goes on in its own crowded and swarming everyday’ pace. The people live a simple life, but it seems as mostly everything can be found at the stands and small shops. It is common to see “mobile units”, young boys walking around selling amounts of useless items. The most awful sight to see here, was the one of a

young boy that happily and unknowingly went around showing up a young gerfalcon. That it did not find himself at ease/comfortable when being hold strongly by the legs and not allowed to be free was really obvious.

At the hotel’s not existing kitchen even though in the sign outside you could read restaurant, a real god lunch was cooked, this because of the usual service mildness.

Margaretha had to change clothes for the Muslim adventure here. As a woman she is not welcome with open arms in this Iran leaded with a hard grip by the Ayatollahs. Because of this she has to be dressed in clothes sawn down to the ankles and cover her head with a veil. The hair must not be shown, arms and legs must be hidden as well, make-up is forbidden and as a person she, from now on must keep herself at the background and talk as little as possible. She knew about all of these before we left from home, but now we feel sorry for her anyhow. In this horrible heat she must endure this for us, such a rigorous masquerade but for the Muslims a vital rite.

One can really speak about cultural shocks down here.

On all we spent four hours at the customs; first at the Turkish customs, who where as thorough and unfriendly as when we drove in into the country. For the entrance to the EC this country that otherwise is very friendly should consider to send their customs and police personnel to years long charm training sessions.

It did not get any better when waiting at the Turkish a swindler appeared and carried out some bluff money changes, Johan and Jan-Olov were awake and managed to disclose the swindle. Kjell in all his right gave him a good rebuke and handed him over to the customs officer for further treatment.

Welcome to Iran!

With these friendly and relieving words Musaf opened the gates to his country. And even if the rules are many and strange for us, at the Iranian customs friendship was poured on us. Under a couple of minutes the atmosphere was totally changed. Talk about contrast.

One after another, the nice custom officers checked the odd characters coming from Sweden. Naturally the questions were many when they realized that seven men were traveling with one lone woman. Even more questions were arisen when they discovered that she besides was the owner of two ambulances. How could she then drive the both?

Kjell was advised to put the question in turn:

How do you handle issues when cars from a truck firm arrive at the same time with different drivers at the border?

It might be that was the thought that solved and made everything loosen up.

Kjell made them not to bother any longer in going into a more thorough control of the cars, which had taken lots of time already. The extremely friendly man could not see between his fingers though, when it came to the three bottles of vintage wine from Hungary and Turkey that openly exposed. The grieve showing in Johans looks when he was forced to throw the bottles against the mountain over a high gate is something we will never forget. This was a big sacrifice in the honor of Allah.

Earlier had Joakims magazines and some card plays already become a welcomed souvenir for the personnel at the hotel in Dogubayazit. That kind of sinful articles cannot be brought in to Iran. Nobody asked us about the technical equipment at the customs. We know that the cellular phones are working, but not without any problems resulting in that they can’t be used for sending to our web page any longer. We shall try to send through the satellite instead. Regarding the communication issues we have just heard that our honored sponsor, Ericsson on a high international level is willing to venture on the expansion of the GSM-network in the third world, specially focusing on the catastrophe areas. The Minister of Industry and Commerce has brought up the item to the agenda in a statement to the FN and it is with proud that we under this trip are working in building a natural base that will for the development of many of these contributions.

Now we continue our trip towards Teheran with a weather that could make all the Swedish people on their summer vacation green of envy.

Our wandering man Jan-Olov, see earlier report on how he was registered as a walking tourist from Sweden at the boarder to Bulgaria, became the big attraction in Dogubayazit yesterday evening. The digital camera attracted lots of men to flock around him. He took pictures and signed autographs – as Christian filmed them as if they were movie stars.

Now four pictures are coming from Mister Schröders camera:

The views at the east of Turkey are breath taking. Snowed mountains mixed with poor villages, where the minaret is pointing right out towards higher heights.

Ambulating sellers are common, here the baker with new baked bread in Dogabayazit.
The views at the east of Turkey are breath taking. Snowed mountains mixed with poor villages, where the minaret is pointing right out towards higher heights
We had already left Istanbul and Ankara before the terrorist attack. The NATO top summit starting under the weekend, in which the President of the US will participate not only attracts around 50 top politicians but also all mal intentioned terrorists, that regards the US as their enemy

The situation is tense in Turkey, something that is noticed in all police activities across the roads. But we have already reached Eastern Turkey, thank God and have left the hot cities behind us. Yesterdays attack to Bush’s hotel in Ankara, were two policemen where injured, and in Istanbul a bomb killed at least five people, are two devastating incidents shaking the world. We are pretty much aware of the tense situation and want to leave Turkey as fast as we can. We have set up our night camp 350 kilometers from the Iranian border and approximately the same distance from the boarder to Iraq.

We have the intention to leave as early as possible so as to reach the Iraqis customs and police by daylight. It feels easy when thinking that we will be passing one of the customs with a reputation of being the worst in the world. Nothing escapes these men guarding one of the hardest dictatorships in the world. Kjell has given us detailed instructions for when we pass through. Among other things we have removed all the antennas from the ambulance with the purpose of not waking any unnecessary interest. All the papers have been checked, and we think that we have a pretty good idea on how to handle questions around the fantastic Ericsson technical equipment that we have brought along. No body knows if we will succeed in getting through the customs the satellite telephones, the computers, our walkie-talkies or even the cellular phones over this critical border.

It might end as badly that this daily report will be last one for a while. To decorate a maypole will definitely not be part of our midsummer celebration, the removal of all our communication equipment will be more like it.

For the rest we hope that everything goes well even if we know that the boarder controls take an awful lot of time. We have counted on it before the trip through the desert continues in Iran.

Everyone in the group is sleeping just now, Peter in the Ford, Jan-Olov in the Mercedes the rest in the tent. Peter’s two-men tent crashed down but Kjell seems to be snuggling cozily inside anyhow.

Patrik, myself is sitting writing this diary in jeep’s front seat. On the roof, three persons are sleeping. The only ones that seem to be awake together with me are the moths that fly and get stuck to the computers screen.

This day has gone well, over very high mountains, (the road at its highest point goes 2 100 meters above the sea) through a landscape that belongs among to the most beautiful that can be seen.

It is unbelievable that there are still places that are this wonderful on earth, that have not been reached by tourism yet. The east of Turkey is one of these areas, with lovely valleys, extreme vegetation, splendid tree alleys and standing at the back of these scene the snow covered mountains. The scene is so breathtaking that it makes it difficult not to stop at each curb; it made me think of the Norwegian “Hardangervidda”, which might be a bit wilder landscape than this one.

Kjell urged us to continue and saw to that we kept god speed so we could keep the time schedule towards the boarder. We got plenty of time for eating Joakims excellent light lunch tough, this time by a little lake nearly 1 000 meters above the sea. We were suddenly visited by a group of gentlemen in a car that turned out from the main road to check if an accident had occurred. There were ambulances on the field, you can never know.

Joakim, Christian and Johan found the place where we are now standing, around 100 meters from the main road. The cars build three walls and the middle there is a table, on which we have been eating tasty pasta with vegetables and some other good stuff.

As alcohol is forbidden in Iran, all whiskey and the leftovers of gin were drenched this contributed to a highspirited atmosphere. The entertainment was on Christian and Peter, the first mentioned showed a short film about three male friends during the preparations of their recently celebrated graduation, the last mentioned playing eminently the harmonica. Of course the cheerful atmosphere did not diminish when it was time to
carry through all the nightly procedures, during which a tent crashed down an the burst of laughter’s roared between the mountain walls. The wolves might have heard the Swedish cries of joy, which kept them away.

Don’t go on wishing Sweden only, good luck at the football EM, but think a little about us to, so everything goes well under the next two days, when the journey progresses through difficult areas.

A little notation for the day, in yesterdays report I told you about the hotel owner Mutlu, whom we stayed at the night before today. He is extremely interested in Sweden, he speaks German thanks to 33 years of living in Munich and he is very service minded. At very early morning he fetched newly backed bread with egg at the bakers and was standing besides the breakfast table shining as a sun holding a bunch of paper cups. These he had gathered after us the night before and had touchingly washed them up. Talk about recycling!

If you are missing an acceptable midsummer weather at home you could borrow some from us – sun a clear blue sky and really warm.

Now it has become midnight with the stars as a ceiling. In the middle, the half moon is shining and looks as a Turkish symbol. And soon it will be time to jump into the cars, this time for an exciting trip into an Iran that we still know very little about. This will be a most different midsummer evening that none of us will ever forget about.

Vi can inform that the situation at the Swedish embassy in Ankara is well. We have taken the embassy in Turkey, not as violent as it was under the time the Vikings in their usual unfriendly manner went on their excursions.

We got help finding our way to the embassy. Kjell had an agreement with the embassy's chauffeur to meet at the outskirts of the city. With his Volvo at front we made it into the city swarm. The embassy garden felt the same as the one by the consul in Istanbul, a real oasis, a badly needed lung to breath out with in the city.

We arrived here after a day through one of Turkeys best roads, the excellent highway that goes through mountains and valleys. The landscape and nature are breathtaking and varying.

Here at the embassy we can do everything. Jan - Olov and Margareta are boiling water in the special percolator we brought along. That is each day we get the badly needed water, we are drinking a lot, at this moment the temperature is 22 degrees under the shade and in the sun the temperature reaches up to 34 degrees in the middle of the day. It is then when it is comfortable to have an AC in the Mercedes, when we get out of the car it feels like entering straight into a Turkish bath.

It is worse to sit in the Ford and the jeep as well, as both lack of AC, especially in the cities where the wind does not refresh through the open windows. Furthermore the Ford is getting hot, the cooling system has chosen cease functioning. On the road the car keeps a low temperature in the big cities it gets awfully warm. For lowering the engine temperature the chauffeur rises to full effect the temperature inside the cabin which is not very comfortable when it is already enough warm.

For the moment margarita is re-stowing the cars, Christian and Joakim are working with the advanced techniques that Ericsson stands for. We daily boast on Ericssons achievements wherever we are, the latest was yesterday evening when the ambassador Anne Dismorr suddenly stood between the cars and in a charming manner invited us to his terrace for some wine and hors-d'oeuvres. His 14 years old daughter Filippa, she to acted as the perfect hostess and as by a miracle presented us with Swedish Magnum-ice cream, by the looks it can be said that Peter was the one to enjoy it the most. The ambassador took a good amount of time with us and gave us a lesson on the political problems of the country, where issues around feminism seem to be in focus. Turkey is a country with many different ethnical groups with very much tension between them but in common for them is how women are treated. They are not allowed out in society the same way as women in the west are, women are valued very low outside the walls of their homes. In accordance to Anne Dismorr, women's position is among the most important matter to with for today's government.

One of the concrete examples she gave was the law addressing the right of inheriting soil. Earlier the fields were divided in such way that the daughters inherited the areas near the sea that could not be cultivated meanwhile the sons inherited the fertile areas inside the country. It is the opposite nowadays; when tourism bloomed it were the areas by the sea that rose in value. In this unequal country the inheritance law was changed in economical disadvantage to the women.

Naturally this is a minor problem for a country dealing with many problems, such as the ethnical ones. With Iraq as a neighbour and the tensions in Kurdistan it is easy to understand the difficulties.

Catharina Lilliehöök-Jäger whom is the embassy advisor is helping us first with Kjells and Peters passport that the many policemen at the boarders have succeeded in tearing some pages off. They must be in a good shape when passing Iran and Pakistan.

What is worse is that the package with documents sent by DHL has not arrived to the embassy yet. We know through controls that the package has arrived to Ankara. It seems that it is waiting at a delivery firm to be sent and will hopefully arrive here today at noon. Otherwise we will be delayed and that will jeopardise our future plans.

Margareta is at the moment re-stowing the cars; everything is being mostly stowed around in disorder. One of the mechanics is working with the cooling fan, Kjell is leading the troops and talking a lot in the phone trying to get in touch with different people, Jan-Olov is editing pictures, Johan is acting as guinea-pig for Margareta who is testing the blood pressure instrument at the same time that he is working with the jeep, Christian and Joakim are searching for a spot in the fantastic garden where they can send over this report that Patrik is writing.

We have taken a break from the car driving but there surely are a lot of things to do anyhow. This is not precisely what could be called a holiday trip, even when yesterday we could follow on the Turkish television the football drama. It was quite funny with the exalted Turkish sports commentator who was really engaged in the game. At least that is what we think as we of course did not understand a word.

We ate kebab dinner as well and experienced a taxi trip through Ankara, where the two chauffeurs engaged them in a competition on who drove the fastest and boldest with the radio on as in the best of discos. They drove us to the hotel, which was very cheap and was good enough for a night in the capital of Turkey.

We are anxiously waiting to take off towards the east, our next goal of which we now very little about. Our excitement is rising.

Under our trip towards the East drama is becoming frequently.

Sitting under the laurel leaf tree in the Swedish general consuls garden, situated in the middle of a chaotic Istanbul. We have been longing for this oasis. The last day have brought quite an
amount of problems that we have feared and expected, but not expected that they would materialize already in Turkey.

It happened yesterday when we reached the boarder between Bulgaria and Turkey that the bureaucracy and meanness of the custom officers in the worst of mixtures poured down on us.

To arrive to turkey by a country road is nothing to recommend. The controls are many and the personnel are stressed and impolite. If they find something wrong in the well-scrutinized papers, then
you are in big trouble. Guess why it came as a chock when the complicated car documentation for the jeep had in a place a wrong registration number. These matters are administrated by the
Swedish vehicle, engine owners association, ("Motormännens förbund"), we did not check what was written, but the result was that the Turkish custom officers became suspicious.

After more than three hours at the customs a provisional document was written and with that in our hands we continued to a late night lodge in Edirne, a city with many mosques and a festival with a band that
playing trumpets as they walked across the city at early dawn. The dinner by midnight was of course "sish kebab".

After a short morning sleep and some driving we have arrived at the general consuls offices where the personnel have proven to be service minded beyond what is usual expected.

With DHL and classed as urgent the document has already been sent from Stockholm, with some transfer through Brussels and Istanbul will it hopefully be ready for picking up at the embassy in Ankara on Wednesday. DHL has now the opportunity to prove if they can live up to the marketing that they so often spread through TV.

This day has already passed, the evening will be spent at the hotel having some dinner, watching some belly dance and eventually visiting any places that are worth seeing in Istanbul.

It is a confusing and tangled city and the trip through the alleys and the big city to the consul was nearly terrifying. Narrow, ups and downs which makes the Old City in Stockholm ("Gamla Stan), look like a boulevard - the three chauffeurs Jan-Olov, Joakim and Patrik were given the opportunity to give proof of their driving licences.

Without the nice policemen in Istanbul, totally the opposite from their colleagues at the custom offices, we would have never found our way through. They drove before and after us and they sat in our cars as well. Margareta even sat on the lap of one of the policemen, and in Joakim's car the officer in charge of the district jumped in, he who was in charge the evening that the English embassy was blown up. He said that he
was ashamed of what had happened.

We saw the embassy from the outside; it is wrapped into some kind of material that looks like tweed stuffing, with the purpose of preventing new attempts. We tried to drive into the yard as the ambitious policemen got the impression that we were Englishmen and were on our way to the embassy. But that was not the case.

The situation with the customs has some good points. Do you know that Jan-Olov is a walking tourist? It was by the Serbian-Bulgarian customs that Jan-Olof suddenly went missing.

Seven out of eight passports were handed over by Kjell, three of us were promoted to chauffeurs by the bureaucracy. It seems that this kind of information has to be correctly stated and stamped.

Jan-Olov went out of the Mercedes and walked towards the custom officers cage. When he appeared the officer looked like a big question mark. And as Jan-Olov walked towards him, he got stamped as a walking tourist, furthermore, all the way from Sweden. This even breaks Göran Kropps fantastic bicycle trip through Sweden - Himalayas turn and return.

Dazzling sunflowers, rich cornfields and sun ripe vineyards have boarded the roads, as well as the roads out of Serbia. The road towards the Bulgarian Sofia is still the most beautiful.

We have also been able get a view of Greece and a glimpse of the sea. Tomorrow we will see more of the later when we drive across Bosp.

At the same time it should be mentioned that the bypassing roads around the capital of Bulgaria are among the worst part of this passage, with bad signposts and a paving from early days.

There is a very good mod within he expedition, regardless of the obstacles. We are certainly already a day delayed because of the paper issues but problem makes us struggle together to get further, the 400 kilometres to Ankara tomorrow

The only woman, doctor Margareta, thank god has only needed to give out pills against allergies. She herself is clearly feeling very well, even though a customs officer in Bulgaria got very angry when she tried to photograph him.

Our cheap hotel is waiting for us now in the alleys of Istanbul. We can leave the cars in the fenced and well-guarded yard in the consul. Though it will be a terrible hazard to get out on the alleys with the cars tomorrow towards new targets.

As every morning Peter has recharged and is watching over the vehicles as an eagle, as the true mechanic supervisor he is.

Christian is responsible for the technical issues; I will hand over the computer to him so he can send home by satellite the material for the homepage.

With a severe look the customs officer looked at the passport. He then moved
his attention, with a superior look towards the cars and asked in a
sarcastic manner: Sweden-Nepal. Where the hell is Nepal?

His obviously more nicer colleague - presumably his superior, with to
stripes on his shoulders - and a fatherly smile replied quite sure of
himself - Everybody knows that Nepal lies in

This proved the lack of knowledge that many people have. At least we within
the expedition knew where we were bound to travel.

It is not that simple though, as we cross countries and many borders, of
limitless size.

For example when we reached what we thought was a toll road for the highway
access and Instead it was the Hungarian customs. We were then leaving
Slovakia and Kjell and Patrik were
amazed on how surprisingly we had reached the boarder.

Patrik became surprised as well when on Saturday when he tried to pay the
road toll. The man at the station refused persistently to receive the money
and became nearly enraged. It was
then that Jan-Olov commented that the man was bearing a gun. Patriks
thoughts went instantly towards robbery and concluded that the man by the
toll road surely was located in a
risk zone. But, yes, of course, it was a customs station again, more
precisely Serbian.

This long Saturday we passed through Bratislava in Slovakia, Budapest in
Hungary and Belgrade in Serbia. We drove 750 kilometres from Györ at the
outside of Bratislava in Slovakia to the Serbian Nis, where we had the
pleasure to meet a retired Serbian in a living in a new built apartment.
Zdenka is a relative
to Patrik and doesn't speak a word of English.

By the way, there are no limits to hospitality in this war stricken country
that again is under such a strong and focused rebuilding. This has been
proven by the warm friendship that overwhelmed us.
Under our visit to Zdenkas in her well utilized and cosy apartment. As an
example, for the occasion lady that spoke English was invited through
friends of friends to act as a language bridge. Marija, described
by an excited Jan-Olov as having a face made for being photographed, - had
crossed through the city, got a car and guided us all the way to the table.
There were loads of national delicacies that
Zdenka has been producing under the two days of waiting for his Swedish
guests. Joakims and Christian comments "Fett kul" ("Awfully nice") is
enough to describe this touching visit, during which a relative was sent in
the middle of the night for buying some beer just because Kjell was craving
to refresh himself with this malt beverage. Guess if the homemade aquavit
was welcome after the hard and sweating car trip.

It became late before we reached Nis. It was so dark then that we missed the
turn-off sign from the road. Suddenly the three cars reached once more a
road toll on the way out towards
Skopje. After sorting out a diversity of obstacles, we managed to find our
way in to Nis, where a service minded policeman tried to put everything
right and to each and every question that we asked, he answered politely
"da" and none of us became wiser. With a combination of telephone calls and
weather knowledge we managed to find Marija.

Margareta wanted badly to take some photographs. On Friday her interest had
reached to the limits of earth level, poppy and lavender were portrayed and
by this immortalized. After many tries the crew in Ford vehicle succeeded in
finding a smaller field at the north of Serbia, where she could be let out
on the countryside.

- They could be bigger and more beautiful commented the

At the outskirts of Sazched in a lunch pub we took our meal, there where
several turkeys and hens of the surroundings have offered their lives. This
day was in the sign of food, with a feeling of
"Grand final" and until late midnight was spent at the "Grandmother of
Serbian food, whom had even invited other relatives and neighbours to
partake in this "Holy Communion".

A gasket to the shock absorber hydraulic system was the cause of the little
drama that affected our Mercedes ambulance the first day in Poland. Our
experts found the fault when they crawled under the car with the church
festivities in Krosniewice as a background scene.

After this cultural shock we drove in darkness to Lodz, where we after many
tries found the first camping after a whole day in Poland. There was rain in
the air and none of us was especially keen on setting up the tent. But we
were lucky that the lady at the camping could offer us lodging in plain
bungalows for only 74 Swedish crowns per person and night. Besides the bed,
bed linen and a toilet in the room, a guarded parking lot and one shower
occasion per person was included. The few night hours were spent to refuel
the cars, a visit to McDonalds, small chatting, picking up stuff around and
in the cars along some brief sleeping.

Early in the morning we were waked up by Joakim, who was stumbling around
like a zombie, we all rushed out of bed. After eating breakfast we left and
drove through four lane highways that made kilometres just rushed by.

The Mercedes garage that we found along the road was an experience; it was
as being transported to Sweden in the fifties. In formal overalls the
personnel rushed here and there, with a discipline and order similar to a
German office, the garage shone up at us. The service was fantastic we were
served god tasting coffee under our waiting of 1, 5 hours. The diagnose made
by our own duo of mechanics proved to be correct as well as the performed
operation, but a spare part was still needed and the check up was
scrupulous, the car was test driven and everything was checked again.

Vi expected a very expensive bill but it only ended up at 350 Swedish

For Johan this was like Christmas Eve, for someone with an interest for
veteran cars, in the garage were cars that made this Strängnäs native to
nearly reach the verge of tears. Two Mercedes of cupé model from the sixties
and a rare 300 model from around 1955 were found among the treasures.

After this successful stop we continued towards Katowice and shortly before
we made a stop near a parking lot by a car dealers firm to enjoy our lunch.
We could state the fact that car prices in Poland are suspiciously low. Real
bargains can be made here as a Swedish buyer.

Jan-Olov as always immortalized the lunch and was practically forced by us
to sit down on his chair so he could enjoy Joakim's codfish stew, coalfish
in tomato sauce or "lapskojs" (lobscouse, a dish made of meat and potato

This lunch was lighted up by champignons bought by Margareta as a
replacement to the chanterelles she missed yesterday when we passed by the
beech woods.

Eventually we found our way out of Poland, even the chauffeur Margareta who
suddenly had been gone. When she became aware of that she was lost, she
quickly found her way and joined the troop.

Afterwards we drove over the boarder to Czech without any problems.

The formalities might have seen to simple to Johan-Olov and Margareta, their
car got an engine failure and stopped at the customs. This was solved before
Kjell and Patrik would have been forced to drive back and rescue them.

The passage towards Czech, 41 kilometres in total, went through serpentine
roads in a sunny and beautiful nature landscape. In the new EU-country
Slovakia we were welcomed without any bureaucracy - our anxiety over the
paper work and problems with the blue lights and sirens, up to know have
been exaggerated. But still many other countries are awaiting us, where
bureaucracy, is as much of a daily bread as terror and other threats are.

Hopefully these problems altogether will not be as extensive - we put them
aside for the future. We are approaching Bratislava the capital of Slovakia
in good progress, where food and lodge for the evening are being planned.
Peter and Kjell will be keeping a look out this evening. They are sitting in
the Ford ambulance, which is driving at the front. The jeep with Christian
at the steering wheel is in the middle. Joakim is taking a nap in the front
seat and myself, Patrick sitting and writing these lines in my computer
between bumps, curves and hip-hop music at the back seat, which is not an
easy task.

The mod is on top as well as weather and wind.

For the ones that wish to read more can on Saturday the 19th of June read
Patriks first chronicle about the trip in the Eskilstuna/Strengnäs paper or
on the www.ekuriren.se.

This is a report from a side road more or more precisely from the city of
Krosniewice at the north of Lodz.

The city has recently celebrated the Thursday Church day, in reminder of the
body of Christ, a festival where little girls dressed in flowers have come
to hand in hand with their mothers, grandmothers or aunts. At a look at the
sea of heads queuing at the front of the "Holy Communion" table, that there
are only women present int the church. But as it is a catholic church the
priests are men, as it usually is the case.

We made a start for the day with a wonderful midday in the ferry to Gdansk,
where we went through all the technical issues and took the opportunity rest
mentally for our trip to Poland.

Gdansk received us with sunny day. The sun was very nice but it could have
been nicer and better if they had better signposts through the
thoroughfares. There was one sign by the customs station - which we passed
through without getting any reaction. Poland has recently become a member of
the EU and as a good member of the community they have adopted an easy and
smooth passage through the borders. The
customs have simply taken some sort of livelong holidays.

The signs in Gdansk where as earlier mentioned insufficient, but after some
turns through a grey and dull housing area, we did a u-turn and as by magic
we found our
way out from the only middle time city that still exists today by the Baltic
sea coast. We didn't have time to take a near look at it. What counted now,
was to aim for the south so we as soon as possible could get through a
country with roads that are not dimensioned for any sort of high speed. But
this is not a possibility for our caravan either - two ambulances and one
jeep that can at the most drive at a speed around 80 kilometres per hour. We
have more or less managed constantly to hold this speed through all the dull
cities that sometimes enlightens by a smiling landscape.

Disregarding the "necessary" pauses, we found a suitable place for our
lunch. It might have been that farmer did not agreed with our choice, in the
middle of our lunch he wanted to turn into the road that we had chosen for
our break in the middle of a field. He could wait though for while, bribed
with cigarettes and biscuits. You can bet that he had something to tell to
his wife under dinner - he was prevented from accessing his little road by
some mysterious vehicles on their way from Sweden to Nepal. And was rewarded
for it!

Lunch as well as dinner, which we had at the church place in Krosniewice,
was splendid. Joakim who is a master cook when creating something out of the
supplies donated by the department of defence. This
combined with some coffee, biscuits and other goodies from "Bengtssons ICA"
lighted up these meals.

It should be noted the excellent order that Joakim and Christian have on
their stuff in the jeep, everything has its own place. Not even one package
of food food can disappear, not even if it tried to!

We are dealing with today's problem; the Mercedes ambulance is leaking oil
from the rear axel. Both our mechanicals Peter and Johan have driven the
vehicle to a curb outside the church, where they
surgically are inspecting the damage. It seems that the question for today
is where we will set up our tent. Will be go any further this evening? Shall
we camp by the cemetery?

I have been calling among others to our contact in Serbia to inform him
arrival will be delayed. As an example we are planning to pass through
Budapest and Belgrade by the earliest on Saturday.

Everybody is feeling very well - we take turns on driving the cars as
alternating seats. The atmosphere is at the top and everyone is in high
spirits regardless the problems with our ambulance from Mora.



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