Wednesday, 26 August 2015

German History and Off Road Driving

Another clear night with no rain and after packing up our tents yet again (we can do it with our eyes shut by now!!) we headed to the beautiful town of Koblenz. Population around 110,000. Very historic as it is situated at the junction of the Rhein (note I am now using the correct German spelling) and the Moselle rivers. The history of the town goes right back to Roman times as it was an important strategic stronghold. There is a very historic place called the Deutsches Eck or German corner because there is a massive statue on a plinth of the first German Kaiser, Wilhelm 1, who was king when Germany united in 1870 to become a federation. It was erected in 1897 and is very impressive. Great spot to take photos.

Also there is a large castle on the opposite side of the Rhein called Ehrenbreitstein and it's a very impressive structure built high on a hill overlooking the river. Did not have time for a tour but hope the photo below does it justice.

We parked near the castle and took a large cable car over the Rhein to the city. The pods can take 35 people. Not bad. Great views of the city. We walked around the city which has numerous laneways and a lot of historic buildings.  A welcome rest for a lunch of fische and pommes, a coffee and then a close up look at the statue. It has the coat of arms of the states that formed the federation.

Back to the Syncros for a drive which took us to a small ferry ride across the Rhein. This was so great. Photo of us looking pretty pleased at being on another ferry. 
Nice photo also of Mona with Duna the little girl of Mark and Anna our Catalonian tour members. Joachim has obviously other things on his mind!!

Along the autobahn to a small town called Dormagen where a member of the IG 16 club, Klaus and his wife Astrid have a large nursery with a fabulous outdoor area set up for club events. We circled the wagons again and few local members joined us for the night. Astrid set up a large fire in the middle of the area and it was a wonderful night. One of the local guys, Andreas, has a very solid off road Syncro and has travelled to many parts of the world including Africa. His van was full of brown dust to prove his adventure. It has only had three engines and five gearboxes!!! We had met him in Berlin so good to catch up. He had the miniature Syncro at the Berlin Festival.

Bit of rain overnight but we kept dry in our tents. After another communal breakfast it was back to the autobahn to head to our next stop. This was a UNESCO classified coal mine called Zollverein. It is huge and has a long history of producing coking coal from 1847. It was a factor in the unification of Germany as the owners worked hard to get the various customs duties changed when Germany was made up of separate States. It has been kept intact with lots of interpretative signs and it is also used for music events. It's in the Ruhr area which is a major industrial part of Germany and was heavily bombed at the end of WW II.

Back to the Autobahn for some exciting driving to our campsite in Fursten Forest. This was previously an army base where a Panzer Division was based and it is now an off road park. 
Our first real mechanical issue when the catalytic converter from Paul's exhaust system fell off. Not good as it meant his exhaust was coming straight out a pipe and not going through the muffler. Bit noisy and putting out black smoke. Left that issue for the moment and we set up camp near a group of quad bikers who had been through the muddy tracks during the day. Another club member, Raimond joined us in his army green Syncro and bought along some local beer called Neanderthal as some skeletons were discovered in the area. Jörg warned us not to drink to much of this stuff or we will get big eyebrows!! 

Wednesday 26th and our planned rest day. To show the great spirit of the group, Willie phoned a mechanic near his home which is 70km away and arranged for Paul to see him after lunch. Hart and Paul set off guided by Willy and we took two Syncros into the off road area. What a blast. Hegi put his van through its paces and did some fantastic driving in the mud. Showed just how fantastic these vehicles are. Two quad bike riders watched and just could not believe it. 
You can hire lots of different vehicles, even a tank to go into the forest and have some fun. 149 Euros for half an hour!!

Afternoon now and time to chill as we wait for the repaired Syncro to return. Tomorrow we head to Steinhuder Meer near Hannover. Signing off. Peter from Port, your blog writer. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello Peter,

    thank you for posting this! I couldn't attend the meeting in August and it is great to at least be able to get a bit of an insight. Lovely pictures and it is also very interesting to see it all out of the sight of someone coming from another continent. And brilliant to hear about the busfest, something I now plan on going to someday ;-) I hope you jand your people have made it back safely and wish you all the best,