Here is how we finally reached our destination – London.
We were driving at a speed of 120km/hr when the stork hit our car. I saw 3 birds, a large one with two little ones, flying together above the car in front of me. In a fraction of a second, the huge bird hit the windshield, shattering it. Since the windshields are made of toughened laminated glass, the broken pieces of glass do not fall out. But in this case the impact was such that small particles of glass spread all over, inside the car. They even spilled over Nishi who was sitting in the rear seat. My spectacles saved my eyes. Fortunately, I was in a right frame of mind and ensured
that the vehicle does not go out of control. I slowly pulled the car over to the shoulder.
Though it was difficult, I managed to drive for about 100 kms to get to a safe place to park the car for a few hours. BMW agents had a 10-day wait to get a new windshield. That would have completely upset our schedule. However, my co-travelers helped to locate a garage which hoped to find a similar windshield – the next day.
We attended the grand reception extended by the Vilnius corporation authorities followed by another warm reception by the Indian community. We witnessed a wonderful laser and fire cracker show at the beautiful Grand Resort. But all through these, I had an uncomfortable feeling about getting the right windshield. There was a huge chance of us being held back for 10 days! My happiness was for everyone to see when I got saw the windshield replaced to perfection.
Our next stop was Warsaw, Poland. Warsaw has been rebuilt after complete destruction in the Second World War.
Modern buildings and the palace of the last Polish King are sites to see. Thereafter it was a drive to Prague, Czechoslovakia – a city with a mix of modern an d historical buildings.
We then had our longest driving distance in a day – 930km. We had breakfast in Czech, lunch in Germany and dinner in Belgium.
We were welcomed by a dinner by the Indian Ambassador and enjoyed visiting the break day at beautiful Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the European Union.
Next day again was cutting across multiple countries. Breakfast in Belgium, Lunch on the ferry in France and dinner at London.
Finally, we reached London as per schedule. Mission accomplished. Drive from Mumbai to London, over 22,000km, in 72 days passing through 19 countries. Hip Hip Huray!!
We stayed back for about 3 weeks in London where we had the privilege of sharing our experiences with family, friends and the School authorities and students of Nishi’s school in Chelmsford.
The invitation from BBC Essex to join their studio for an interview was icing on the cake.
‘Home Sweet Home’ it was in the early hours of 26 June 2017 – The Dream Came True.