'Trekker Willi' heads to Norway at 18 km/h

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Winfried Langer with his vintage tractor "Robert." Photo:DPA
12:07 CEST+02:00
Spring is in the air and Trekker Willi, Germany's answer to Jack Kerouac, is hitting the road again aboard his trusty tractor “Robert” - with a destination well over the horizon.

Winfried Langner, aka Trekker Willi, first shot to fame in Germany two years ago when he drove his vintage tractor from his home in Lower Saxony to Mallorca to commemorate his wife Anna, who had recently passed away.

Now the 79-year-old is about to set off on a new adventure, and this time he's heading north – to the very top of Norway.

The idea came to him while he was on the ferry to Mallorca in 2013, he told The Local.

“I was taking the ferry and that's when I decided: in 2014 I'll take a break and then in 2015 off I go again!”

It was unclear why he had chosen Norway, but it seems like he has a lot to learn about the place. He happily admits that he knows “absolutely nothing” about the country and doesn't speak a word of the language either.

The round trip is a cool 7,600 kilometres. And since Robert's top speed is a rather sluggish 18 km/h, he reckons it'll take him around five months to complete the trip to the northernmost point in Europe and back again.

Heading off on May 2nd, he'll first drive to north-east Germany to meet his friend Gunter who'll accompany him on the adventure.

After heading through Denmark, they'll take the ferry over to Norway. He'll take a stop in Oslo before striking out into the barren north.

What is he particularly looking forward to?

“We'll see when we get there,” he says. “My son planned the route for me using some maps from the ADAC.”

At least one benefit of the trip north could be the lack of traffic in comparison with southern Europe.

Langner remembers how on the trip to Mallorca every time a lorry had to overtake him “they honked like hell on the way past.”

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When he finally reaches his goal in about two and a half months, he'll celebrate by planting a flag emblazoned with the insignia of his hometown, Lauenförde in Lower Saxony, into the ground at the north cape.

After taking a week's rest he'll head back down south through Finland and Sweden.

“If I find a nice place on the way I'll stop off for a couple of weeks,” he says, summarising his take-it-as-it-comes philosophy.

He should get back home just before the cold weather sets back in again sometime in September, ready to plan his next adventure.

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