The thing that I like about these trips is that it’s all a matter of perspective, for although we all went to the same destinations everybody spent their time doing whatever they pleased so they all have their own views on the highs and lows of the holiday. Hence this is my own report of the trip.
The cars were all relatively all well behaved which is more than can be said for some of their occupants but who cares, we were all on holiday!
Sunday 3rd June Had a leisurely drive down to Dover in the afternoon where we met up with all of the gang for an overnight at the Travel Inn, unfortunately since we were there last they changed their name to Travel Lodge which threw a few people but they all arrived eventually.
Mon 4th June Caught the 08.40 Ferry from Dover, had breakfast onboard and once disembarked headed off towards Germany via Brussels with 2 hour breaks. En route at a services near Bonn we met up with Peter & Uli Haupt who had very kindly offered to arrange a tour for the following day.
As is normally the case, directions to the hotel in Mainz weren’t very clear, so cars went off in all directions but eventually ended up where they should be.
We were given a complimentary welcome drink by the hotel and pre-dinner drinks in the restaurant which was a 17th century vault cellar and the food was excellent.
After dinner Terry B & Mave, Ray & Val and Terry and I went out for a stroll to walk off our meal and ended up at a pavement Tapas Bar where we finished off our evening.
Tues 5th June Morning arrived as did Peter & Uli ready for our trip along the Rhine which took in Rudes-heim, Lorch, Oberwesel and back along the other side of the river to Mainz. 1st stop was the Eberbach Monastery which dates back to the 12th Century, where we had coffee and cake.
Peter Haupt had to put up with a deal of leg pulling as someone commented that he looked a bit like Pinocchio’s maker (the wood carver) and had to endure all of the cuckoo clock impersonations but he took it all in good part (sorry about that Peter!).
The lunch stop had to be abandoned as the planned restaurant was shut but that didn’t matter as we soon found somewhere else for a coffee and a strudel fix (some people are hooked on it now!). On the way back we bade our farewells to Peter & Uli and thanked them for coming to see us and arranging our tour.
As it was Ray S’s B-Day an impromptu drink and nibbles was arranged in our room and 16 people were secreted in every nook and cranny (including the bathroom) for his surprise. In the evening 12 of us went out for a meal together while the remainder did their own thing.
Wed 6th June In the morning the cars were loaded up ready for the drive to Fussen. We thanked the Manager of the Hotel for his hospitality and he came out front for a photo shoot with the cars which he was intending to send to the local papers.
The convoy didn’t get off to a very good start as it was split into three when leaving Mainz but we picked up 2 cars en route and the other 3 made their own way for the entire trip.
Stuart & Lynne Whalley decided to take the opportunity to look up some friends in Germany so missed out on the Bavaria bit so a reservation for 18 was made in the Hotel restaurant to save searching around for somewhere to eat in the evening and considering the number of staff the food was good and they catered for us admirably.
Thurs 7th June After yesterday’s journey today was chill out time. Ray & Val, Steve & Sharon and Terry & I just strolled around Fussen window shopping. As it was a national holiday all of the shops were closed (you have never seen so many men with smiling faces!).
The ice-cream parlours were sampled and later a walk down to the lake was had.
We bumped into most of the crowd by the lake, some having a two hour cruise, some having a one hour cruise and Jim going out on a pedalo “that Jim Dempster certainly knows how to spoil a girl!”
In the evening the 6 of us went to a folk festival which consisted of a fun fair and a big Marquee with rows of benches and tables where steins of beer and food could be had. I’ve never thought of Terry as a beer drinker but she made short work of that one!
Fri 8th June Just about everyone decided that they wanted to do the Castle visit. The car park was quite a distance from the castle but there were options of a bus, a horse and carriage or shank’s pony. The climb was pretty steep but with all the food that I had eaten the walk did me good.
King Ludwig’s Castle was built over a period of about 17 years and was dedicated to the composer “Wagner” but the castle was never completed as only 15 rooms were finished. Ludwig’s bedroom took 14 carpenters 4½ years to complete (that’s nearly as long as Beds-R-Us!). Ironically he only stayed there for about 150 days which to me didn’t seem very good value for money (imagine how much he could have saved if he had just stayed in a Travel Lodge!). The conducted tour was enjoyable and very informative but unfortunately no photography was allowed inside.
After the castle visit most people drifted off and did their own thing. Terry
and I just had a drive around to see the local countryside and villages which
was ok until it started to rain.
One village had some interesting bunting stretched across the road which consisted of a selection of ladies underwear (very tasteful!). In the evening we walked into town and had a quiet dinner for two in a very nice restaurant.
Sat 9th June The more energetic of us consisting of Ray S, Brian B, Ray & Val and Terry & I decided on a bike ride today. The lake was 20 miles around so needless to say, by the end of it there were some sore bottoms. We all enjoyed it with all of the nice scenery and even nicer beer stops.
In the evening we all had our last meal together at the Hotel in Fussen as in the morning we would be moving on to Austria, the Smith’s and the Bagwell’s were leaving us and heading south in search of the sun and eventually meeting up with the other trip that was taking place in Spain.
The entertainment was provided by “Yodelling Jim Dempster” and a good time was had by all.
Time to go!
Sun 10th June The direct route to Innsbruck was a relatively short one so the convoy too a slightly more roundabout way to take in a bit more scenery.
A nice restaurant on the edge of a lake was found for a lunch stop which made a nice break from the driving.
On arrival at the camp site we were greeted with a big smile by Lloyd and his wife, the local rep who remembered us from 3 years ago. Ray & Val were already there and had the beers cooling in the fridge.
This was the camping bit of the trip. As there were no mobile homes on the site we all had a tent, I didn’t hear any complaints so I think everyone was happy, also Stuart & Lynne rejoined the group. The evening meal was had at the site restaurant prepared by Lloyd.
Mon 11th June Communal breakfast for 16. Fresh juice, fruit, coffee, eggs, meat, cheese, fresh bread and good company, what more could you ask for?
Another chill out day where most people did their own thing. Terry and I did a nostalgia trip to Mayerhoffen and Kitzbual where we went about 35 years ago, to be quite honest I didn’t recognise any of it with all of the changes!
Lloyd recommended his favourite local restaurant for our evening meal which was easy walking distance, the food and presentation was excellent and well worth a visit.
Tues 12th June The drive to Steinach was a long one and took even longer than expected, the plan was to stop off for lunch at Meersburg on the edge of Lake Constance but it was late afternoon when we finally arrived.
We were met by Stuart & Lynn’s friends who had arranged for us to park the cars in the town centre. He works for the local paper so had arranged for some press coverage plus a photographer.
Meersburg is a very old and pretty town so after a snack a wander round was had before finishing off our journey.
On arrival in Steinach we unpacked and all went out for an evening meal together onsite which was good. The accommodation was 3 tents and 5 Mobile Homes (the Mobiles are very nice, with toilets, showers and all the amenities but I still prefer the tents!).
Wed 13th June Breakfast for 16 again this morning outside our tent then most people drifted off to do their own thing.
I had been noticing an occasional squeaking sound coming from the car for the last couple of days and on inspection found it to be a sticky piston on the front brake caliper so Steve and I spent a pleasant few hours freeing the thing up (if you believe that you’ll believe anything), it also meant that we were too late to go out as we had shopping to do for this evenings BBQ.
The BBQ had all the necessary ingredients for a sophisticated soirée, food, elegant ladies, 3 gallons of Pims a la Bridges and hand crafted burgers a la Stuart Whalley (enough to feed an army).
Eventually the alcohol kicked in and it all seemed to go down hill after that! Yodelling Jim Dempster stood on a chair and did his bit, and everyone let their hair down, it was great, I loved it.
Thurs 14th June Today a visit to the Schlumpf Museum at Mullhouse was arranged but surprisingly only 6 of us in three cars ended up going.
I say surprisingly because in my opinion it’s about the best motor museum I have ever been to, it’s claimed to have the largest collection of Bugatti's in the world and there had also been a lot of changes made since we visited it as a club back in 1998.
One can also see from Bugatti where some of the Panther inspiration came from with the radiator on the DeVille and the Lima Paint design.
The Old and the New
The subdued lighting made it difficult to get good pictures of these Royale's
It Wasn't all Bugatti's though
The worst part of the day was trying to find our way out of the town in rush hour, I’m glad we didn’t have a convoy or 7 cars behind us.
Fri 15th June The drive to Berny Riviere near Reims was uneventful apart from a couple of torrential downpours but when we arrived we found that although Jim and I were staying next to each other in tents, they had put Brian & Margaret over the far side of the site which we complained about but as there was nowhere closer available we had to poke up with it. We all went out for the evening meal together at the site restaurant. It was by far the worst meal so far, the red wine was cold, the food was poor and the service was appalling so all in all I wasn’t very impressed.
Sat 16th June Today was a no-day for us as we just had a wander round the surrounding area and doing a rece for tonight’s meal (we weren’t going to have a repetition of last night!), we had a look at one restaurant that was recommended by the site rep but it was pretty unimpressive and not within walking distance so we went in the opposite direction into town and found one there. When we got back we found that many had eaten at lunch time so were not going out for an evening meal, instead they were taking nibbles and drinks back to Maurice & Edith’s.
Eight of us who hadn’t eaten joined them for a pre dinner drink before walking into town to the restaurant for our Last Supper. Tonight everything was that last night wasn’t, lovely surroundings, excellent wine, food and service.
The Grand Finale was the Firework display that took place as soon as we came out of the restaurant, which of course I had prearranged (does my nose look big in this?).
We were obviously out far later then any respectable people should be as half way home all of the street lights were turned off, leaving us to find our way home with the aid of pocket torches and mobile phones.
Sun 17th June Not much to tell really, drove to Calais, got on the ferry and went home.
I would like to thank everyone who came on the trip because it’s as much about the company than the destinations that make these events memorable.
If you enjoyed it half as much as I did, then I enjoyed it twice as much as you did.
And finallyDear Mick and Terry,