Not a good day.
When you’re on the road, travelling long distances on a deadline, the last thing you need is for your mode of transportation to let you down.
The drive from Bilbao to Bologna was going to be long enough. We left the KobetaSonikfestival as soon as we could in order to have some time to relax in Bologna. I also wanted to try and organise a band photo session using some night time street locations. We had a shoot planned for Paris, but that fell through due to a variety of factors. The main one being that to do this, you need all members of the band to be present. I’m not naming names.
So we hit the road and head off on the 860 or so mile drive along the top of Spain, bottom of France and into Italy. Drinks are taken and the mood is good.
Fast forward 10 or so hours and I’m awake and sitting the back lounge editing pictures from the previous days show when I realise that the bus is getting slower and slower as we climb a hill about 15 miles outside on Monaco. The engine in the bay below me starts to sound very unwell, and we eventually shudder to a halt.
It turns out that some piece of rubber hose about 4 inches long has failed and water has poured out of the engine. Thankfully the drivers can rig it enough to get us to the next rest stop about 2 miles up the road, but they then need to call out a repair guy who (of course!) will not be there for a couple of hours.
As I’m the only one who can speak any kind of French whatsoever, and it’s barely any, I’m dispatched off to find someone who I can convince to call us taxis and take us to the nearest town or village that has anything other than the hot concrete and sketchy toilets of the rest area.
We end up in the little town of La Turbie, high on the hills overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Not very Rock ‘n’ Roll, but beautiful nonetheless. We all took time to wander around and check the place out. Lots of little back streets and a great old church. Grabbed some lunch of baguette and cheese and meat and sat on benches in the square until we eventually got the call that the bus was on it’s way to come pick us up again.
After the bus had completely blocked the main street in town with queues of angry French motorists going ballistic, we were off again. Now hours behind schedule, my plans to shoot that night were starting to look wildly optimistic.
Although we didn’t stop there, Monaco looked fantastic from the road. I’ve never been there before, and is even smaller than I imagined.
On and on we went. And on, and on! This really was turning out to be a brutal journey. Everyone was now really tired and getting stir crazy from being cooped up for so long. Mile after mile, hour after hour. It just seemed endless. I’d long given up on trying to do pictures that night. The best anyone could hope for now was a hotel room and a shower.
As day faded into night I sat upstairs at the front of the bus taking pictures of the seemingly endless road. Some were sleeping or reading or watching movies.
Eventually after 26 hours of travel time we arrived at our hotel in Bologna. We grabbed our bags and checked in. There was near total silence from everyone as they got their keys headed to their rooms. Happy to have arrived, but all craving some personal space.
I took a bottle of red wine from the bus, poured a large glass and sat back happy in the knowledge that I was now more than five feet from another person.