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Thursday, 5 July 2012

ARV Rally Germany

Took the P&O ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge and what a difference to our last crossing. Sea like a mill pond, large 4-berth club cabin complete with complementary toiletries and fruit all to ourselves. All you can eat (and keep down) dinner and breakfast included. Only complaint was the droves of excitable school kids who decided to play football in the cabin above ours! Oh the joys of a carefree youth and a total lack of awareness of the noise an innocent activity can create. Mr H eventually involved the duty steward in resolving the matter who reassured us that at 10.00pm the accompanying teachers would police the cabin noise with military force and they did just that.  

After Mr H negotiated the tricky manoeuvres involved in getting the RV and trailer off the ferry in one piece (or so we thought) the plan was to meet with fellow rally members at a pre-determined service station near Liege. As planned, the rally leaders, Dynamo Dougie Daybreak & Anjie arrived with their side-kicks Wise Bob Redsox and Hilary and we proceeded in perfectly polished and synchronised convoy only to discover that the  LPG gas pumps were empty so we had to travel on to another station so we could fill up and enjoy a currywurst!

Thanks to Dougie's ability to create numerous overtaking opportunities we left the lorries eating our dust, picked up Chris and Chris on the way and made good time despite a dramatic blow out in one of Bob's RV tyres. How did we cope with this set back? We drove on in perfect formation to the nearest service station, Anjie made tea and the lads (well mainly Bob) pulled off a perfect tyre change complete with jolly banter, sweating brows and extra filthy hands. Custard creams all round to celebrate! The last leg to our campsite included a tight squeeze onto a ferry to cross the Rhein

and landed at in very good time to join the rally gang already there and commenced the following rituals;
1.  ensure all smaller caravans and motorhomes have full view of our convoy of fabulous american vehicles
2. claim a space/pitch after swiftly identifying the location of water and electric supplies
3.  make a tidy job of all relating cables, connections and hoses and attempt to level our motorhomes
4  outside essentials of tables and chairs positioned facing the sun.

A very welcome late supper and beer was provided for us all and we shared our tales of blow outs, failing engines, smoking brakes and unplanned diversions up mountains resulting in two motorhomes spending the night there!  A great bunch of people, welcoming and friendly as we got to know them a little better so thanks to Derek & Jenny, Karen & Andrea, Doug & Chris, Ron & Carol, Denis & Davina, Colin & Hazell, John & Jane, Roy & Margaret, Jim & Anne, John & Maggie, Terry & Jean and Derek & Rose. The site is in a beautiful setting on the banks of the Rhein and we were well looked after by Oliver and his team. 

We all spent a wonderful day going up this mountain in a cable car, then a short walk through a lovely forest, down the other side in a ski-lift followed by a scenic cruise back to the site.

However, by this time Mr H had developed a particularly nasty ear infection, we then discovered the jockey wheel on the trailer got mangled, must have been whilst coming off the ferry.  MR H's TRAVEL TIP No2 - ALWAYS REMOVE THE JOCKEY WHEEL WHEN TRAVELLING . Then to cap it all our new scooter turned tempramental, started ok, drove to shops and wouldn't restart, had to push it back to site where after a few hours it would start again. This happened 4 times!!! So Mr H took a trip to the Doctors for anti-biotics and managed to find a jockey wheel shop so the trailer is mobile again but not the scooter.

Despite these mishaps we had a great time exploring the area. We cycled along the quiet riverside paths and enjoyed watching the ever changing Rhine and its various ships, cruisers and cargoes. The rally enjoyed a day's river cruise along the Rhine in the sunshine and showers, endless photo opportunities and so many lovely sights to be seen along the way.

A number of us visited a packed local 'Scottish' pub to watch the Italy v Germany semi-final. One very happy Italian local celebrated with cheers, tears, handshakes and lots of Italian flag kissing. A procession of cars with horns blasting and Italian flags blowing paraded the streets in celebration. We also watched the final between Italy and Spain sat in the beer garden just outside the camp gates. A great night of football banter, excellent chilled bottled beer and a variety of shared nibbles to boot!

Finally, on an excursion into Rhudesheim for a meal with the group Mr H became a little adventurous! It may have been a combination of multiple anti-biotics, alcohol and oompah music that influenced his choice of snails as a starter! He enjoyed them but I couldn't look let alone try one. Laughing, dancing, eating and drinking was the theme of the night enjoyed by all.
Luxembourg next!!

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