Hi all,

This story came to my knowledge, throwgh a friend of mine and I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Rokke in person last year, one of the intervenient in this great adventure.

I´m going to translate one or two pages per day, sorry for this but lack of time, hope you enjoy it :wink:



P.s: sorry if this is not the right place for this thread and obviously my bad English…




(Under photo) Richard and the Bug exiting Angola

If there is something Maria Antonieta will never forget, is the 20.000 miles Honeymoon that her husband Richard Rokke took her… Headed to the United States of America they departed from Angola, in a journey that the Beetle did in seven months and eight days across Central Africa and the Mediterranean Coast.

Written by: Paula Veloso Amaral
Photos by: Maria Antonieta Rokke

Aiming for the 2023 1000 Miglia!…

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PAGE 02 (52)

(Under photo 1) Native from the Belgium Mission in Congo
(Under Photo 2) Precious help to push the Beetle

Maria Antonieta Chaves was born more than seven decades in Moçamedes. When Maria was old enough to study her father gave her two chances «or you go to study in Lisbon or the school comes to us». And that was exactly what happened: «Because in small Villages everyone knows each other, my father went to speak to the Judge and the gathered enough funds to build the School». The solution was in sight: «Five Doroteias nuns came from the Nossa Senhora de Fatima’s School, from where my mom was a devotee.
Years later Maria chose a path that could be called a privileged one: «I was the first to go and study Secretariat from 1947 to 51 in Cape Town». After that Maria went to the Consulate, where she started as a Bilingual Secretary for the General USA Consul in Luanda (Angola).
Maria confesses that she didn’t like to say goodbye to people every four years, so she applied for Air Stewardess. The transport division of Angola told her that she had to apply, as everyone else. «Seven candidates appeared but I was the most qualified and I stayed till my marriage».
This adventure started a long time before the actual weeding «Richard bought the Beetle in 1953 already with

Aiming for the 2023 1000 Miglia!…
(edited) Look below please :arrow:
Aiming for the 2023 1000 Miglia!…
Rich Oakley
Great stuff Joao. I look forward to the next installmemt.
47 Beetle, 56 UK Karmann Cabriolet, 56 UK Beetle, 57 UK Type 2, 59 UK Beetle, 66 UK Fastback.
VW Stan
What a great story!
I look forward to reading more... 😎
It's hard to say what my girlfriend does for a living...

...She sells sea shells on the sea shore!
What a Great read,looking foward to the next story.
Thanks Gents :lol:


PAGE 03 (53)

(Under photo 1) The Beetle on a raft with a “brother” (a deluxe version)
(Under Photo 2) The “Black King’s House”, at Burundi

the idea of making this trip with a geologist friend of his». But, «we got married and departed just in four months» in a trip of our Honeymoon… from Luanda to Texas!!!
The bride was «26 years old and by the look of the pictures, the bags and has they were newly weed, my husband faced this as a normal trip, as it was just like a small trip like my family used to do! ».
Far from imagining what was ahead, Maria went with her husband on this big adventure. Today, Maria says if she had a clue it would be like it was, she would never get in the White L22641… «We already heard that a couple in a jeep died trying this trip. Our trip wasn’t a trip of brave adventurers, it was just an unconscious act… because a hero as no conscious of his act. If it wasn’t e our Guardian Angels, we wouldn’t had made it. Today I would never do it!!!
Luanda was the start of this Odyssey, on the 16’s of January 1955. «We stayed with the Belgium Congo missionaries. It seemed like we were in the “civilization”, we had a complete breakfast ready, when we woke up in the morning!! ». One of the letters to the “civilization” said: «when we can’t stay in missions, we had to stay in Hotels, but camping was also possible due to some nice Gites (shelters), were we can save a lot of money». Still in Congo «in the north by the Albert National Park, we had the chance to take some photographs of Elephants, Lions and several species of

Aiming for the 2023 1000 Miglia!…

PAGE 04 (54)

(Under photo 1 Left) By the Murchison Waterfalls
(Under Photo 2 right) Uganda, passing the Equator
(Under Photo 3 bottom) Uganda Native next to the “Hero”

Antelopes and Dears»
After Burundi, «we descended along the Marganyika River till Ruanda», from where Maria has two images in her mind: The “Black king’s House” and it´s chimney with some Elephant Teeth. In Uganda they passed throw the Capital: Kampala, on the way to Lake Victoria an Murchison Waterfalls, not forgetting the photo shoot of the Pigmies dances.
Awaiting them, was the beginning of the trouble… between Sudan - including the passage throw the Desert - and Luxor in Egypt, side by side with the Nile River. First «We were retained in Juba, for five days, waiting for our Visas», like it is written in a letter by Richard, explaining that «our first encounter with the Desert, was in Cartum, were we decided to avoid it. We thought of catching the train to the Port of Sudan and then by boat to Luxor. But the Railway Company was on strike…

Aiming for the 2023 1000 Miglia!…
Once again I am very sorry for my bad English :oops:


PAGE 05 (55)

(Under photo 1 Left) Every time the Beetle sunk in the sand, it was necessary to unload the car
(Under Photo 2 right) Border of Juba, just before Sudan Desert
(Under Photo 3 bottom) Sudanese women with decorated body

…and they ended up accepting an advice from «a geologist that told us to travel along the margins of the Red Sea, it was a safe route wit supplies of petrol and food. He advised us a guide that, without him we would have got lost in the first dunes of those 800 kilometers».
«Due to the danger the Cartum authorities didn’t want to let us pass, they used to give two days for the journey and one of tolerance for the time that the telegram would take to arrive, after that they would go and track us in the Desert».
To make it worse «only one English couple did this journey before us, but they were in a Vw Beetle and a Bus». With temperatures over 48º Celsius, even do «the danger was bigger on getting lost at night, which happened after Cartum for four days almost entering Ethiopia».
The strongest image that Maria retains is the…


Aiming for the 2023 1000 Miglia!…

PAGE 06 (56)

(Under photo 1) Is it a No parking sign?!
(Under Photo 2) On arrival in Egypt, Richard changes from the Beetle to a Camel

… «Desert crossing». We had preserved tin cans, to eat but not much. The people we talked to got scared of the possibility of us running out on water. I said to my husband: as long as we have water and some food we will survive this: so we decided to eat one Sardine a day for the both of us!! » The problem with the Beetle wasn’t starvation or thirst, (the cooling system worked fine) it was the road. «I don’t know how many times we got sunk in the sand. I would scream my Hero calling him - the adrenaline rush shows you strengths you don’t know you have them! - And we would continue the trip». Not without unloading the VW every time it got sunk on the sand. If the Sudan Desert crossing revealed to be the text of fire - Maria Antonieta and Richard didn’t say a word to each other for 3 days, for how scared they were! - The city of Luxor in Egypt was the so desired Oasis.
Maria recalls the arrival in Luxor: «my husband had red in a book that it wasn’t a good idea to stay in Muslim hotels. We were dressed in Khaki and Richard had a five days old beard. We got to the city and immediately parked the Beetle in the hotel garage. When we entered the Winter Palace Hotel there were some posh senior lady’s having the five o’clock tea. They didn’t feel misplaced and asked for two rooms.

(Continues on Part 2)

Aiming for the 2023 1000 Miglia!…
Next Sunday I am going to meet Mrs. Rokke and she is giving me the book with the 2nd part of the story  in our Monthly VW Meeting in Cascais 

I hope you guys are enjoying this!

See you next Sunday

Aiming for the 2023 1000 Miglia!…
59 Ragtop

Great story, looking forward to the next instalments...
Hi there,

sorry for taking so long, but only today got the chance to meet Mrs. Rokke...


here in these pictures showing me the map of her journey.

in the next days will have a copy of the map and the rest of the story


Aiming for the 2023 1000 Miglia!…
Thank you for sharing 🙂 I love this kind of stuff. I have always more been into using and hearing about people using their cars rather than just polishing and showing.
64 Californian LHD Karmann Cabrio
56 Old Speed Oval RHD (MonteCarlo Rally) (for sale soon)
Sorry guys for not posting the rest of the story, but had some busy months...

Here is the rest of the instalments, one per day :wink:




(Under photo) The Beetle next to the step Pyramid

We conclude the story begun in the previous issue on the adventurous journey of a freshly married couple and their tirelessly Volkswagen

Written by: Paula Veloso Amaral
Photos by: Maria Antonieta Rokke

Aiming for the 2023 1000 Miglia!…
:beer: thanks for posting this! its lovely :beer: :d
"it'll wreck the patina you haven't worked so hard to create" - 50Karmann
😎 my pleasure, thank you



PAGE 02 (56)

(Under photo 1) Tony in a cart
(Under Photo 2) The VW on the Egyptian market

NOTE: (1) in the previous edition, there were two inaccuracies: Maria Antonieta Rokke was born in Luanda and not Maçambedes and on arrival to Luxor, the couple stayed in a Suite with two bathrooms and not two rooms, has it appears written.

Maria Antonieta remembers:

«Already at the hotel room, looking throw the window over the garden filled with palm trees, I bit my finger tip and screamed out loud: We are alive! » - After the big scare, these young couple, caught on the stage from Sudan to Egypt. To relax, «we ordered some champagne and went to drink it, each one in his bathtub! » Antonieta enjoyed this so much that after a while she «hit the teeth, as a result of the tension felt in the previous three days, were the conversation between them was close to none seeing they could die there. My husband immediately ordered a chicken sandwich» with a smile on her face, Antonieta remembers «it seemed more like they were giving us an entire turkey, because it came in a big round dish with salad, all on top of a small trolley!» next morning he was a bit ill. Even so, they visited the «Valley of Kings and old temples».
Certain is that «from Luxor onwards the trip was more reasonable, because the nearest destination was Cairo – we saw the Sphinx, pyramids and went to the museum - and it was in Alexandria that we decided to proceed by land from Suez to Gibraltar. Then we crossed Libya, where we went to Tripoli and Benghazi, passing throw the cities of Tunis and Algiers, the capitals of Tunisia and Algeria.
On the 23rd of April we overcame Morocco and their splendid kasbahs, it was time to enter the European Continent: «When we arrived in Tangier, one of the tires wasn’t holding on. There was a local young boy that lent us one wheel from his beetle –demonstrating the well-known solidarity that exists between the owners of these cars. Mounted it in our L-22641, got aboard the ship and

Aiming for the 2023 1000 Miglia!…

PAGE 03 (57)

(Under photo 1) On the way to Alexandria, they pass by a Volkswagen commercial
(Under Photo 2) View of Cairo from the Hotel Room

removed it again, throwing it back to the Dock…»
The trip continued in the European continent: « We entered Spain through La Línea and then in Portugal through Vila Real de Santo Antonio.» They visited Portugal from one end to the other, because «it was the first time me and my husband visited Portugal». And also because, «my sister was a college student in Lisbon».
Two must see places were Sintra and Nazaré, with Maria Antonieta and Richard inseparable from their Beetle.
Aiming for the 2023 1000 Miglia!…
51reutter wrote:

Sorry guys for not posting the rest of the story, but had some busy months...

Thanks for spending the time to follow up on this and translate for us, great story. :beer:
195x Deluxe oval Beetle
Binz Doublecab
My pleasure tman 😎


PAGE 04 (58)

(Under photo 1) In Libya, can be seen a Austin-Healey 100/4 on the left and Morris Oxford far back
(Under Photo 2) Crossing Gibraltar was quick

Madrid gave passage to another world: "we went to the Riviera, Italy (Florence, Rome and Venice) and Austria (Innsbruck), bypassing Czechoslovakia. We went to Germany where I got the green card to enter the U.S. and also visited the Volkswagen factory. "
After visiting the Netherlands and Belgium - they took the opportunity to visit the romantic French capital, Paris, returning to Brussels. The passage of the Channel crossing was the last on this side of the world. In the 24th of August 1955, began the final stage, which culminated with the arrival in the U.S.

Aiming for the 2023 1000 Miglia!…
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