Maybe the best way to sum up this week is to stress the journey rather than the destination. In previous weeks our teams have ended up in glorious destinations all over Europe – we’ve seen the exotic photographs, read about the wonderful sights to be seen, the remarkable history that surrounds the place and the amazing things to do there.
This week – not so much!
The pacemaker peacocks are approaching the village of Banchovci in Bulgaria. The only thing I can find out about it on the internet is where you can go in the village to book your Covid vaccine appointment! – You can get them all, there, even the Sputnik vaccine!
The snow leopards and wee monkeys have both crossed into Hungary, and for the snow leopards at least, things are a bit more cultured – they’ve just passed the largest statue of a bird in Europe, the Turul Monument, which towers over the town of Tatabanya, whose other visitor attraction is the outdoor swimming pool, which, according to Trip Advisor, is “the cheapest of its kind in Hungary”. Not quite the Gellert Baths of Budapest, methinks!
The wee monkeys have surpassed themselves on the cultural destination front though – what better place to stop to mark the landmark moment of entering Hungary than… the Tesco car park! Oh yes! The camera doesn’t lie…! OK, maybe not quite the car park, but…
And the tigers are going more for the high culture having reached the Wertheim Village Luxury Designer Outlet Shopping Centre, just south of Frankfurt. Here, you can get everything from Armani to Zwilling (and for those who don’t know that’s “the global cookware supplier for modern home kitchens”, and all designer brands in between. So don’t spend all your money in the one shop.
As we see, then, The Chaparda Challenge – to boldly go where no one has gone before, not tourists, anyway!
But where people have reached on Sunday isn’t, of course, the whole story. A lot has happened in a week and the route has taken our challengers to many wonderful places. Though they’re slightly further apart than last week the wee monkeys and snow leopards have really stepped on the accelerator and crossed the lower half of Austria and into Hungary in record time, passing Vienna and resisting the temptation for another side-trip, so missing out on Bratislava. That’s a pity, as it’s a fabulous town with a beautiful central market square (and a great place for pizza that I can recommend to you!). They’re gearing up for all the sights of Budapest that Emma recommended in her guest diary post in Week 8.
The tigers, too, have had a (properly) cultured route, and they’ve reached ANOTHER castle, this time the fairy-tale vision that is Schloss Mespelbrunn. It’s a gorgeous moated castle, hidden deep in the Spessart forest of Bavaria and steeped in the history of the Echter family. We’ll be getting a book from the tigers entitled ‘castles we have known’ if they carry on at this rate!
The peacocks are coming to the end of their journey through the Balkan mountains and earlier in the week they reached the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. Sofia, of course, means ‘wisdom’ so if any of it has rubbed off they might think of taking a little break for a few days, as they must be exhausted!
All our Challengers must be exhausted, come to that – between you you’ve covered 639 miles this week. Astonishing. And you’ve added another £150 to the fundraising total. A huge thankyou to the donors who’ve given money this week. It’s a major reason for us taking on this Chaparda Challenge after all.
Have a good week ahead and don’t forget to write for the diary if you feel so moved – even if it’s just to say you found your favourite sweeties in Tesco!