Motorhome shopping is hard work. My parents were of immense help lending us their car, doing our laundry and bearing with us patiently while we were in and out of the house and causing quite a bit of commotion. Seriously, this week just gone didn’t exactly feel like holidays. But then again, the two weeks leading up to our departure in Australia didn’t feel like one either. I’m not expecting anyone to feel sorry for us but I now understand why not more people do trips like this. On the other hand: the hard work is a small price to pay for the experience and the things I have learnt so far.
The most important advices I can share, should you ever plan to undertake a motorhome adventure like a seven months trip through Europe, are: plan early, plan thoroughly, do your homework and leave plenty of time.
The weather forecast for Tuesday was miserable, even for European weather. The drizzle and low temperatures promised for 160 or more miserable kilometers so we decided to wait for better weather for our excursion to Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz). Short notice, we decided to go for a road trip to Upper Franconia (Oberfranken) and have a look at a few motorhomes at one of the larger motorhome dealers near Bamberg.
We had already looked at a couple of privately owned For Sale motorhomes and checked out a little motorhome yard in the region but none of the vehicles we saw excited us.
The 370km drive was fun, but unfortunately, we didn’t find the perfect motorhome there either. With all the research we had done online while still in Australia and the things we learnt about second hand motorhomes looking at vehicles here (and speaking with German motorhome dealers who may not be as good as their reputation), a clear picture started to emerge of what we liked, needed and what our price range had to offer.
And a couple of days off the bike was actually a good thing for me, too. That’s not so much what my body was telling me but what the WKO+ numbers were saying. Only Alberto was pining to ride gently rolling Franconian roads but thankfully had enough distraction admiring castles, fortresses, old churches and 700 year old villages.
Back in Senftenberg, we saw a motorhome on eBay that we liked, and it was only 60km away in Dresden. A short sharp 80km bike ride to Cottbus in the morning to check out another motorhome dealer and the bike shop (of course) of one of East Germany’s great track champions Lutz Heßlich, and another quick run down the Autobahn to Dresden in the afternoon filled our Thursday.
The motorhome was perfect but there was another one on eBay, in Berlin, that we wanted to see before making a final decision.
There was time to squeeze in a visit at my parent’s friends, including coffee & cake, and some night time sightseeing in Dresden… and late night dinner at Kurfürstenschänke next to the Frauenkirche.
But the job was not done, yet. By Friday morning the sun had come out with all it’s spring strength and warmed the air for a magnificent day. After a recovery ride around the Senftenberg Lake in the morning, during which I had to take off gloves and beanie and felt like a cheater for enjoying spring without having endured winter, we hit the Autobahn yet again, this time north bound – to Berlin.
The last motorhome to see – I was hoping it would be the last one – was a Hymer again (coming full circle) but build on a Mercedes Benz S-Klasse. The advertisement sounded too good to be true: solar panels, flat screen TV with antenna (to watch the Giro and Tour de France), bike racks, bathroom with shower and toilet and all this within our budget… in short, it ticked all the boxes. I tried not to get too excited.
When we met the owners, looked at the car and test drove it, I saw in Alberto’s face that he liked it as much as I did.
So we bought it. While La Primavera was about to start and Simon Gerrans was getting ready to add another great win to his palmeares, we were driving our motorhome down the Autobahn to my parent’s place, and I couldn’t stop smiling in anticipation of all the adventures we are going to have…