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The Happy Wanderers

Our adventures.

We Made It to Caravan-Salon!

20210829_115732-2 Marktkirche Sankt Nicolai, Hameln, Germany

Sorry I haven't updated this blog lately, but we had terrible Internet service and no electricity for several days. Let's get caught up. Better late than never...

We couldn't believe how many semi-trucks were going into Poland from Germany.

Our rental in Poland

 August 27th

After spending one night in Poland, we headed back to Germany.  After only a couple hours of driving we stopped at the Wohnwagen-Parkplatz in Königslutter, Germany. This was another free motorhome parking area, where electric was €1 ($1.20 US) for 8 hours, and €1 ($1.20 US) for 100 liters of water. However, 1 of the electric plugs didn't work, so we spent €2 ($2.40 US) trying a different plug (it worked). Luckily, we didn't need water as another camper, from Sweden, tried to fill up and it wasn't working, but it was still free to spend the night. The parkplatz was near an Aldi grocery store, and it was time to stock up again. Again, we wished we had bikes. We would liked to have explored the town more, but driving wasn't a good option. Next time we explore Europe by motorhome, we're getting (or renting) e-bikes! 

 August 28th

The following day was another short 2 hours trip to Hameln, Germany. Better known in English as "Hamlin" of the "Pied Piper" fairy-tale. Of course, an accident (or construction) caused a huge delay. After sitting in traffic for 3 hours with barely moving, we took the first exit we came to. Our 2 hour drive turned into a 5-6 hour drive. We stopped for the night at the Wohnmobilstellplatz Hannes Weserblick in Hameln. This was a larger and busy motorhome parking area near the center of old town Hameln. It was €8 ($9.60 US) to park overnight, with €1 ($1.20 US) for an hour of electric and €1 ($1.20 US) for 100 liters of drinking water. Dumping was free. 

Wohnmobilstellplatz Hannes Weserblick in Hameln

We were tired from the day's drive, so we waited until the morning to do some exploring. Old town Hameln was only a 15-minute walk from the parkingplatz. Connie made us reservations for brunch at "Pfanneküchen", which Connie thought translated to "Pancakes". She was looking forward to a "German Potato Pancake". However, it translates to "Pan Kitchen". They didn't serve pancakes. Instead, they had a large variety of sweet and savory "crepe" type food. It was a mix of a crepe and an omelet.

Connie had a shredded potato / "southwestern" type dish. Mine was mushrooms, onions, and cheese. They may not have been pancakes, but they were delicious at a very good price. They were large and only €9 ( $10.80 US) each. Oh! The atmosphere was very relaxing, except for the rats around the dining room.

Pfanneküchen
Pfanneküchen
Pfanneküchen
A Great Meal at Pfanneküchen
Pfanneküchen
Pfanneküchen

Not real rats, stuffed ones. The town of Hameln really caters to the Pied Piper fairy tale. There are rats everywhere! There's statues of them, plaques in the streets of them, in the windows, etc. Of course, the Pied Piper also gets his (her?) share of attention also. We also visited the free Hameln Museum.

In 1941, Jews living in Hameln were forced to stay in this house during WWII. In 1943 they were then taken to concentration camps. None of them survived.
The Hameln Museum
A few Jews did escape from the house before 1943.
Statue of the Pied Piper - Notice the Rats at the Bottom
725th anniversary of the Pied Piper
The Trail of Rats Through Town
The Hameln Museum
Artwork Found in the Museum
Glockenspiel on the Marktkirche Sankt Nicolai
Marktkirche Sankt Nicolai

In the center of old town, sits the "Market Church St. Nicolai". They don't know when the original church was built, as they discovered the foundations in the 2nd half of the 12th century and built on top of the same foundations. By 1250, the new church was being used. Of course, it's been renovated and expanded over the centuries.

Outside of the Market Church, the town regularly conducts plays of the Pied Piper. We thought we were there to see one, but it didn't happen.  I got to see the play 35 years ago, but Connie wasn't with me on my TDY and missed it. However, they also have a large glockenspiel on the outside of the church. We did get to see it play - the Pied Piper the rats, and him stealing the children. The Brothers Grimm fairy tale is a tragic story, but one that has been around for centuries. 

 August 29th - September 1st

For the past couple of years, we've been thinking of purchasing a motorhome in Europe and traveling here about 6-9 months a year. The largest motorhome show in Europe (they say the world, but I'm not sure about that) is held in Düsseldorf, Germany each year.  This show was the main reason we made this trip this time of the year. We finally made it to Düsseldorf Caravan-Salon show!

What was a 2½ hour drive from Hameln to Düsseldorf turned into a 4 hour drive. Construction again!. They closed the entire autobahn and we didn't know which way to go. Of course, we went the wrong way until we could program the GPS again.

 We had pre-paid for overnight parking for 4 nights, and attendance at the expo for 3 days. I mentioned it was huge, and I wanted to see it all. It was huge, but 2 days was enough to see it all. The Caravan Salon was held in 14 huge display halls and in an outside courtyard. There were thousands of motorhomes and caravans (camping trailers) on display. They took several COVID precautions, with everyone having to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test. You wore a wrist ribbon showing you passed inspection. Of course, masks had to be worn at all times. They also only allowed 2 people in a motorhome at a time and they were constantly wiping everything down.

I know the US has several manufacturers of motorhomes, but Europe has dozens. Our goal was to look at the build quality of them, as well as various floorplans and try to decide what we would like to travel for an extended time in. Of course, price was also a factor. We saw the entire gambit of cheaply priced and cheaply made, to the very expensive. Somewhere in the middle is where we wanted to be. Actually, we wanted high quality, great design and layout, at a low price.

Düsseldorf Caravan-Salon - One of 100+ rows.
Düsseldorf Caravan-Salon - Not all motorhomes are small in Europe
Düsseldorf Caravan-Salon - Connie wants this one!

 After traveling in the rented 7 meter motorhome with a full-sized bed tucked into the corner, we knew we would like a smaller rig and not the corner bed. At our age, it's not easy to get in and out of bed. I "think" we've narrowed our choices down to two different motorhomes. Actually, they are both considered "vans", since they are narrow. One is better built and fancier, but smaller and more expensive than the other. We still have more research to do before making a final (?) decision. Even then, we're still not 100% sure we're going to do this.

In my planning to attend this event, there were a couple issues I didn't properly consider:

  1. We're used to our large motorhome with 1000watts of solar, 720AH of battery, an inverter, and a 10KW generator. With sunny weather, we could have free electricity for several months. However, our European rental motorhome only had a 95AH battery, which would go dead within a week. There was NO electric to charge the computer with. We had to be very careful and quick to keep the computer working for the 4 days we would be there.
  2. Our previous motorhome had a 90 gallon fresh water tank. Our record was going for 23 days on that tank of water. Our rental motorhome has a 100 liter (22 gallons US) water tank. We would only be able to take 1 shower during our stay. Our black tank on our previous motorhome held 60 gallons whereas European motorhomes hold about 3 gallons. Dumping really hasn't been an issue as almost every place we've stopped at has had a "WC" dump. 
  3. After a couple days of walking around the show, we had seen it all. We even returned to a few places more than once. We ended up leaving a day early, even though we lost the admission and parking fees for that last day and night. But we're glad we left early. 

We've moved on just 90 minutes away from Düsseldorf and didn't hit any delays this time. But that's for the next blog.

Location (Map)

1
Netherlands? Did We Make Another Wrong Turn?
Poland? Did We Make A Wrong Turn?

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Thursday, 30 June 2022

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