2001 Interlaken, SwitzerlandThis year we're trying something new, Rally of Europe! We start by going to Höganäs, were the Caravan Club of Sweden is having the annual meeting. When it's over we take the ferry from Helsingborg to Helsingör and then onwards to the south. This year we haven't planned anything. Tom from Blekinge has done that for us.
22/5 Starts of easy (as usual) and goes only to Himmelstalunds Camping in Norrköping. Here Stig is meeting us and shall be our company down to Switzerland. The camping is nicely situated by the river Motala and in walk distance are the rock-carvings. Just walk across the little bridge and up the hill and you will find them.
23/5 Now to Skåne. The annual meeting is open for every member in the Caravan Club of Sweden, even if you don't have a special function within the club. Those people without a function comes to these meetings to meet other members from other parts of Sweden. Sometimes it is the only way to them. Since Stig is from Norrköping, we choose to stay with the people from Östergötland. From the time we arrived we thought that we surely got the worst place to stand in. After the check-in we had to go and go and go again, until we reached "Östergötland". Here it was gravel, no grass, and that is not the nicest places to stand on. But it showed later on that this probably was the best place anyhow. We shared the space with Dalarna and Skåne and with the Caramba team. You always take a walk around to see were all the others are, and to say hello to the known ones. All of those that was on grass had vole- or rabbit holes everywhere. Gravel was the best this time! Then we found out that we were closer to the pub and dance too. Extra bonus! Could it possible depend on that it is Östergötland that is having the meeting next year??
25/5 Today we go on a busexcursion. First down to beside the bridge across Öresund. Here we get coffee and a sandwich. Then the bus crosses the bridge. You can't see much of the bridge when sitting in a bus, but it was nice anyway. In Copenhagen the bus goes around a bit and shows the sights, for example the little mermaid. Here were allowed to go off and walk around by ourselfs and have lunch. Finally we find a restaurant that isn't full and after waiting a long time we get food as well. It was 7 (seven) buses leaving Höganäs to do this sightseeing tour and the amount of people following, filled up the nearer restaurants. Then we go by the eastcoast up to Helsingör. How beautiful it was! And what villas ! In Helsingör we got some time to go shopping before the ferry left for Helsingborg and then back to Höganäs.
27/5 Now it is time to leave Höganäs and we go towards Helsingborg to get to Germany later on. You can't say it is crowded on the ferries this time of year. We stay at Schönböcken Camping in Lübeck, tomorrow we will be shopping at Citti. About a 10 minutes walk from the camping, is Gasthaus Schönböcken that this day had the days offer Schnitzel with asparagus. Very nice indeed!
The saddest thing with the Kristi Himmelfärdshelgen (when the annual meeting was held) was that the meteorologists cheated us! They had said sunshine and approx. 20 degrees centigrade in Skåne. We had sunshine and half storm, so there were no 20 degrees.
29/5 South going in Germany. In the afternoon we're camping in Witzenhausen at Camping Werratal. This time the camping book was exact. But how are we to find our way out again, we don't know that yet.3 minutes (max) from the camping is the river Werra. Nice camping, but we don't think we would like to be here in the peak season. We could only find 1 shower for each gender and that can't be enough when the camping is full.
30/5 More south to T/R Bad Bellingen where our planner Tom waits for us. Today it is hot like in an oven. 30 degrees centigrade in the caravan and the watch is 22.00. At night a thunderstorm passes by, but that didn't make it any cooler.
31/5 06.30 it is still too warm in the caravan, 24 degrees. Towards Switzerland! Since we've decided not to go by motorway in Switzerland (mostly due to stinginess. 40+40 CHF x 5,95 (SEK), you understand) we cross the border at Rheinfelden. The city is on both sides of the river and after the bridge into Switzerland, in the hill down, there is the passport inspection. They ask if we have anything to declare and since we really don't know that, we answer no. We've been the last in our small caravan, and when we are finished with the inspection the others are gone! But we catch up with them, before we leave the city. Now out on the countryside. Hills that are so slow you think your standing still, and very sharp turns and it is more or less pouring down, while we go south in Switzerland.
On the map there was a pass and we had tried to find out if it was more or less suitable to go there with caravan, but nobody knew. When we passed the pass we hardly understood that we had done that. No problem at all. Onwards past Bern and then Thun. On the road on the upper side of Thuner See is a tunnel drawn on the map and when we get there, there where 4 of them. More or less winding all 4.
In Interlaken there are 7 camp sites fairly close to each other. Through the confirmation we knew that we should be in camping 1, Manor Farm. Tom had even sent for a brochure and in that you could see which pitches we had got. They waved at us to go right and now it is more than pouring down. When we've been talking to the "Semaphore" (we called him that later) for a while, another man says that we shall back out. OK, Kent puts in the reveres and starts backing, he can't see a thing. Stop! Not back! OK. Tom (who's first in line) drives around the sanitary building, Stig and we follow. On the other side of the road is also Manor farm, and that's were we're going. But that doesn't correspond with Tom's brochure and now it is raining even more. We went around again and back to the first camping. Now they have figured out where we shall be standing. And look and behold it's corresponding with our papers. When the time is 12 we are in place and can have lunch. The rest of the day it is thundering and raining on and off and that is never especially funny.
The plug in Switzerland has 3 pins out and such a plug has neither of us. But you can borrow one in the reception for 25CHF. Tom, which is a man with ideas, goes to Interlaken and buys three loose plugs. Now we can make our own Swiss cables and get our money back tomorrow.
1/6 We had heard that it was quite expensive in Switzerland (a part from the motorway fee), even the Swiss we met at the annual meeting said so. So Stig and us took the bulls by the horns and filled up our petrol tanks at the last T/R in Germany. But when we came into the country we saw that the petrol was cheaper here! In the morning you would like to have fresh bread, so we look for the camping shop and they have that. 2 pcs for 1,80 CHF. Remember the exchange rate?? 5,95 (SEK). Well, sometimes you must allow yourself something. Goes into Interlaken to ruin us even more. We need some food. We found a shop, Migros, were it was a special offer on pork filet, only 48 CHF/kilo. AND IT WAS NOTHING LEFT!!! We bought 3 pork chops for 11 CHF. Not the worlds cheapest, but what do you do. We found a 6-pack with yoghurt (180 grams) for only 2,40 CHF. That was cheap, wasn't it!
In Interlaken there is model railway musem that we visited, 7 CHF/person in admission. Kent and Stig thought it was very nice. Trains went everywhere and different kinds and environments.
In the afternoon the opening ceremony should take place, and the semaphore convinces us to walk along with our own sign, all 4 Swedes. So we dress up in yellow and blue and walk in the procession. It was about 1 kilometre or more to the tent where the opening ceremony was held and it didn't rain at all.
2/6 Today we do nothing. The rain comes in the afternoon, so we take the car to the tent where we shall eat specialities from Bern (ordered in advance). The food was; Herb spiced potatoes (without salt), hot dog, smoke-cured loin of pork, another piece of pork, a slice of beef and a slice of sausage of some kind and a lot of French beans with pork dices in. The men liked it, I didn't. Then there was the dessert. Ice-cream formed as a pear slice, chocolate and lemon. That was good! To dinner "was served" music, rock and roll music. You could hardly eat, you would like to go up and dance instead. Then came some folkloristic performances. Folkdance, folk music, alp-horn with flag throwing (!). Unfortunately it was repeated to much. We had sooner listen to the rock music, so we went home early, in pouring rain.
3/6 Today K & I goes to Interlaken to fill up the tank. Tom has told us to find our petrol station, but we don't. In the mountains it had fallen snow. It was only 8 degrees centigrade in the morning, but it is not that cold during the day. We give up the search for the station in Interlaken and turns to Thun instead, because there we had seen a station when we arrived. Without the caravan, you always go a little faster, so through the tunnels we went with ... speed! Nifty. When we get back to Manor Farm, Tom and Stig shall follow the road to its end. In we go too. We go as far as Stechelberg, there the road ends. We have passed Lauterbrunnen where you take the train to Wengen. There is no road there. In Trümmelbach there is a waterfall inside the mountain! What views, you can't simply believe it. Waterfalls on the edge of the mountain. Mountain peaks covered in snow, though we have warmth were we are. Cows (20 in one pasture) and everyone had a cowbell. We stopped and opened the window. You could hardly here yourself think with alls those bells clanging in different notes.
WWhen we get back to the tent, it is time to make PR for next rally. It shall be held in Prüm in western Germany, not far from Luxemburg, Belgium, France or Bitburg. We shall think about it.
We were 750 vehicles at the rally, all in all 1623 persons, 3 vehicles from Sweden i.e. us.
If you think that the road choices in Switzerland isn't described to well, with towns names instead of road numbers, it simply depends on that we couldn't find any numbers, neither on the map or in reality.
4/6 Today we head north, but not in a hurry. We take a different road back to Germany. It was nice in its own way, it went through villages. But if the drivers thought it was nice, I don't know. Now we (Stig and we) go to France instead. After a short break at Aire de Battenheim, Stig goes first to Colmar and then to the camping. Camping de l'Ill. It is nicely situated by a river, probably named Ill. Free showers and nice toilets. Never forget toilet paper while visiting a toilet in France.
We (K & j) have a recollection of that when we were at the rally in Alsace we later on went on the motorway from Colmar to Saarbrücken without paying anything. We remembered wrong. So while driving the plans is re-scheduled. Stig tags along without any protests. We make it to Saarbrücken without a wrong turn. Fantastic. Now we go to Nehren by the river Mosel. The wardens recognize us again. It is warm and cosy.
6/6 Today we go and visit the wine lady and to buy some of her nice wines. She also recognizes us. We shopped wine for "schnapps-zahl" she said. That was for 111 DM. We had only to pay 110. Got an extra bottle for free to have during the evening!
7/6 Today we met this holidays first 'stau' on the motorway. The first time due to road works and the second time it was an accident (but we didn't see anything of it). When we arrive in Lübeck, at Schönböcken, Tom is there to meet us. He has gone a completely different road to reach the same goal as us. You are free to do as you please.
9/6 Today we're going to Sweden. Full speed ahead to Puttgarten. We have no idea when the ferry leaves, we're here on chance. We have to wait for 10 minutes. It is nice going out of season, you get onboard without having to book in advance. Full speed ahead to Helsingör as well. Here we have to wait for 15 minutes before we can drive onboard. That's terrible! Just kidding.
10/6Today we get home to our sweet home where we live.
The whole holiday: 4296 km