|Guinness-records makers arrive in Vietnam|
|13:56' 19/01/2006 (GMT+7)|
On January 15 afternoon, in the middle of a curious crowd in the city centre of Hanoi stood a strange-looking car loaded with things: stained and rusty buckets, locked trellis glass doors and body of the car stuck thickly written with letters bearing the names of countries in the world….
The car is owned by couple Emil and Liliana Schmid. They came from Switzerland and are owners of three Guinness records.
21 years of travelling
Emil Schmid, a software expert, faced a depressing situation when he was 42 years old. He declared he would travel for a year. Emil persuaded Liliana, his wife to go with him. She half-heartedly agreed with him.
It took Emil and Liliana three years and a half to travel around Europe, six years in North America, more than three years in South America, three years and a half in Africa, nearly a year in Australia and three years in Asia.
As of 15th January 2005, the couple has travelled approximately 600,000 kilometres, drove their car for 16,000 hours and consumed nearly 15,000 litres of fuel for a duration of 7,760 days. Each day they receive about 200 emails from their friends around the world to ask them about travelling experience.
It was on 16th October 1984. They loaded the car with luggage and travelled towards Montreal, Canada and… 21 years later, they set their feet in the 152nd country of their journey- Vietnam - on 28th December 25. They welcomed the New Year at Mui Ne, Phan Thiet city in Binh Thuan province.
Liliana said: We intended to travel only for a year but then we no longer wanted to stop or return home. Mr Emil is now 63 years old, one year younger than his wife. They do not know when to stop their journey, but it’s certain that after Vietnam will be Laos.
Before coming to a new country, they often buy books about that country to learn about it and after that make a plan for their trip. They drive for three hours a day on average with a maximum distance of 150 kilometres to enjoy scenery, meet and talk with locals, reply to emails, and upload the latest information and photos on their own website.
Initially, they spent Emil’s savings to cover their travelling costs; then, Liliana’s mother died and gave them an inheritance which they spent very tightly, US $30 a day. Having arrived in Hanoi, they intended to stay at hotels but decided to rent a guesthouse instead to save money.
Liliana said: We do not dare to stop at a place too long because once we have got familiar with that place, it will be very difficult to leave it.
Mr and Mrs Emil have been named in the World Guinness Book since 1998: the most long-lasting drive journey in the longest distance and through the most countries in a car.
Mrs Liliana is suffering from a broken leg because of an accident in Cambodia before arriving in Vietnam. Their life has once been threatened and they have been burgled at least three times. After having been stolen in Africa, Mr Emil installed metal nets to lock car doors. That their car gets stuck in mud or tyres are flat is such a small incident.
The old car Mr Emil bought in 1982 is their loyal friend. Inside the car, separated from the two front seats is their “sleeping room” with a mattress. The boot is used as a kitchen, including a basin, reserved food, a keg of Hanoi beer, a gas cooker and clothes-hanger.
The top of the car has been reinforced with two bulky metal shafts as a prop for fuel cans, a 50-littre water bucket and a metal plank just in case their car got stuck in mud. Mr Emil said his car weighed two tonnes but was added with 2.5 tonnes of luggage.
The couple have no children. They believe the most wonderful thing they get from their journey is friends: “Despite having experienced hardships and fears, we have met a large number of wonderful friends throughout the trip. We have found that the people in this world are not as bad as what news and televisions portray. As many as 95% of the people we have met are kind-hearted; they were ready to share their last bite of food with us.”
(Source: Tuoi Tre)
Vietnam Travel Deals is the great choice for your family.