Tilbury to Pula (Yugoslavia)
The Felbertaurern Tunnel Incident
I think the year was 1966. Myself, Percy Dalton and Colin Avery set out from Tilbury for a summer holiday in Pula, Yugoslavia.
The route took us across the channel on the ferry, through France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy and into Yugoslavia. We were in travelling in my new Mark 2 mini. Myself and Ave shared the driving, as Percy did not yet have a licence.
After some heavy driving, we ended up in Munich, where we stopped for an evening meal and sampled some of the local hooch.
We set off again through Germany and into Austria, heading for the Felbertauern Tunnel, which would take us to the road south to Italy.
It was late at night, and I was driving. The German hooch was making me feel tired and emotional, so I asked Ave to take over the driving, and fell asleep on the back seat.
After a couple of hours, Ave woke me up and asked me to take over the driving, which I did. We were just entering the Tunnel. After a few hundred yards, the car was making a loud ticking noise, which happened to be the petrol pump. YES, we ran out out petrol. It is now about 2 am. I called Ave everything except late for work, and he just said, “well, we didn’t pass a garage”. Percy was just laughing.
I wandered off to find an emergency phone, dialed the emergency number, and said in my best schoolboy German,” Ich nich habe pertrol”
About 10 minutes later, a jeep turned up, and out got an Austrian Gentlemen in full traditional dress. The short Lederhosen, the frilly shirt, and a silly big hat. He also had the biggest red beard we had ever seen. He was also laughing like a drain.
Well, this was too much for the three of us, and we were in hysterics. We could not stop laughing. That is, until he gave us the bill. It was probably the most expensive gallon of petrol we ever bought.
We continued on our way, and eventually found Pula in Yugoslavia. But that is another story.
I think Ave has been in Australia for years. He still owes me for petrol.