Germany

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So … we finally made it to Germany! After me being a bit anxious about getting a Ryanair flight … all was fine. I wasn’t worried about the flight itself … just the preliminaries … Getting to Stansted via a walk, a train and a bus … all lugging our 50 kg of gear. It is hard to travel light when you are going away for 12 months … computers, three ipads, cameras, medication (because I am old!) etc etc. God knows what John had in his 25 kg!

We arrived at our Hymer dealer and the van was ready … or so we thought! They hadn’t put the SOG in … which is the ventilation system for the toilet. Give our friend Sebastian his due … first of all it was no we couldn’t possibly do it and then it was OK quickly give me the keys I will get them to do it! And they did!

So off we headed to Soest to see our lovely friends, Jochen, Sonja and Jonathan … who is the most delightful child! John and I both fell in love with him pretty much instantly. There is hope for me as a Grandmother yet!

Sonja cooked us a fabulous “German” meal … which was just what we were looking forward to. Saturday we spent most of the time trying to pack all of our gear into the van. In the evening Sonja and Jochen took us to a really great restaurant and the food was fantastic. Probably the best meal out that I have ever had in Germany. Thank you guys!

Sunday more packing but by about 4 pm we were organised (well are we ever?!?!?!) so we all headed into Soest to the Spring Fair. We had a wonder around this lovely town that John and I never get sick of … it feels like our second home. It has so many great memories. Then Jochen suggested that we have an ice-cream. Well I have to tell you that Jochen is the King of Ice-cream eating! I have never seen anyone eat so much ice-cream in one sitting!

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John didn’t do a bad job either!

We had another lovely night with Jochen and Sonja … they make us feel so welcome, then headed off the next morning … or so we thought!

During the weekend Jochen realised by looking at the registration that Hymer had registered the van for the wrong weight … 4250. We were all concerned about this because it has a lot of ramifications for our travels. The first one being, if we were travelling in Austria we would have to have a black box fitted and pay for our mileage. Secondly, we could only drive at 100 km … now I know that that sounds enough, but you have to take into consideration the highways are pretty good over here, thirdly we couldn’t overtake trucks in a lot of areas and fourthly I couldn’t drive as I don’t have a heavy vehicle licence. So on the Sunday afternoon, after we had packed up the van and filled it with water we went to a farmer friend of Jochens and weighed the van on his scales. Just over 3500 t which is what we expected the van to be registered at.

Monday morning we had an appointment with a lpg gas tank fitting company about two hours drive away. So we went and did that and then headed back to our dealer to sort out the registration. Oh I forgot, the other thing was that our TV didn’t fit so we had to buy a new one and have it fitted.

Consequently we were there for the rest of the day and then had to head back to Jochen and Sonja’s as we had to get Jochen to re-register it the next day. Sonja was away for the week doing an audit, so we had another lovely night with Jochen and Jonathan before finally heading off south.

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