Exactly at 5:00 p.m., Sunday May 30th, Bremerhaven´s Mayor Mr. Niederquell starts the countdown in the midst of a huge crowd of friends and interested citizens, who all came to follow this event. The 2 CV Citroen ("Difty") rolls down the small ramp. The passengers hop in, waving at everybody for the last time, and then they drive through an espalier of the exited crowd, followed by an escort of 2 CV Citroens and a large number of Heinkel motor scooters.A deeply touching spectacle.Everything goes as it was planned. Everything? No, the two travellers have left Mannis Scrap-Book on the stage, where, just a few minutes ago, they had been singing, the Scrap-Book with old fotos and articles about the first trip from 1964-84. This book has helped Manni several times, for example when crossing borders. In Schwanewede, a small town near Bremen, a friend catches up with the moderate running 2 CV and hands them the book.In their luggage they carry, among others, DM 478.- in Pennies and notes from the "Gift-Globe", that was standing next to "Difty" before the departure. The citizens of Bremerhaven wanted to support this trip. The two adventurers had calculated: DM 1.- for five driven kilometers. So that money should last for exactly 2.393 km and 850 m. Four hours later and about 140 km away from Berlin they sleep in the car and the next morning they cross the Polish border at 4:00 a.m. All of a sudden and out of the blue a man jumps in front the car, waving excitingly with a newspaper, pointing at the picture of the two travellers. And about everywhere they arrive now they are being treated almost like this. Everybody is excited about the trip. Time has passed them on the passing lane. And the "deux cheveaux" runs and runs. On Tuesday (June 6th) they cross the Russian border. Again "Difty" is their home, their bed and their guide through their dreams. They didn´t want to sleep in the hotel, that was especially for them because it didn´t have a garage. Avoid unnecessary risk is their device. On Wednesday they are on their way to Smolensk, not having spent more than DM 35.-, including a ticket from the Russian police for fast driving. Probably faster than their guardian angel, but Manni was able to deal the price down. Exactly to this part of the trip the money from the "Gift-Globe" had lasted. Wherever "Difty"´s four wheels take them, they are surrounded by a huge crowd, and everybody shows their sympathy for the inscription underneath the windshield, saying: "Peace And Friendship To All People Over The World" in Russian language. People speak friendly to them, take pictures of the "old Lady" and them, and really show their appreciation about Mannis knowledge of the Russian language, not knowing he went to school for that just a few days before they left Bremerhaven. So, everything is fine. The travellers are in a super mood, the weather is nice and their hand-washed socks are on the back of the car in order to dry in the wind or the sun. Fitting the situation, about 2 km before they reach the Red Square in Moscow, they are being stopped by a human congestion, a sorta kinda jam. A huge crowd of Moscow citizens won´t let them through before they shook hands with them or taken their fotos. Then at last they reach the Red Square where they are being welcomed by the officials of the city and the Russian TV for interviews. And then, pretty much exhausted, they leave for their hotel. The journey has just begun and the harder part is yet to come.
gbm, "Around The World" Redaktion