Germany Road Trip – Our Quest to Find the Perfect RV
Austria was wonderful for some decompression time and some lovely hikes in the Bavarian countryside but we needed to get in gear and find the right RV for us (Look for a post on Austria in the future). Shani must have looked at 10,000 or more rv listings on line and we narrowed that list down to hundreds and then settled on the top 20 we wanted to look at. The problem, of course, was that they were spread the length and width of Germany.
We hopped the train from Seefeld, Austria to Munich and picked up another rental car. This time we ended up with a Volvo XC 60 which made luggage Tetris much easier! The Jag was a lot more fun to drive on the Autobahn but the Volvo made roadtrip life a lot better. We also plotted our course with Google Maps, eliminated some of the dealers that were too far afield and headed off on stage 2 of our quest.
The first stop on our road trip was just south of Munich, literally the middle of nowhere, to look at a Hymer T598. At this point in our quest we were still undecided about the length or on an integrated vs partially integrated and the T598 was just under 7 meters and partially integrated, the two things we were unsure about so that made it a good first stop. Partially integrated means the rv is married to an existing truck cab and chassis, so in this case it was a Fiat Ducato. A fully integrated rv is a custom coach built vehicle with a massive windscreen, which we would later learn, can be a massive liability as well!
The next stop on our rv shopping trip was up near Heidelberg and then on to Dortmund, Munster, Hanover and then finally over to Römnitz, which is south of Lubeck; all the way up on the northern coast of Germany! To make a long story short, we looked at quite a few camping cars (as they are called in France) both integrated and partially integrated of all makes and models and sizes. By the time we ended up in Römnitz we had narrowed it down to our top 3, unfortunately all 3 were nowhere near Römnitz! It should be noted that we were still working with our French agent Phill trying to locate a camping car in France but the automatic transmission is just a deal breaker. We all came to the conclusion that buying in Germany was going to be our best bet, but that was also going to complicate the process by quite a lot.
And so back south we went. Props to Hertz for making extending our rental super easy; an email asking for an extension and a change in drop off location and we were all set with the Volvo for another week. We did quite enjoy our couple of days in Römnitz, it is a tiny little spot right on a lake with absolutely lovely views.
A 6 hour drive later and we were back in Dortmund taking a second look at a Hymer T594. The buying process is a bit strange, I didn’t even test drive the rv! We couldn’t figure out if haggling over the price was even something they do there and in the end we pointed out some issues, they lowered the price a bit and threw in some things and we signed a deal. Howard Daniels Worldwide now owns a Hymer T594. The buying process in Germany involved us figuring out how to wire a large sum of money to the dealer (more complicated than expected) and it also involved them fixing any outstanding issues, getting a road test, liability insurance and German export plates. Unfortunately this was to take a week and we needed to be in Paris in 10 days!
Since we had a bit of time on our hands we decided to extend our road trip and do a few tourist things. We took a trip to Cologne for a few days and then spent a couple of days at a horse farm in rural Germany to relax and unwind after the whole finding and buying rv ordeal. In Cologne we stayed at a really cool modern apartment just a few minute walk from Cologne Cathedral, the cathedral is quite an impressive site! We also did a free walking tour which we have always enjoyed. This time adventure dog was allowed so Sebastian did his first walking tour in Cologne!
We had a very spacious apartment on the horse farm. Our place was originally a stable built in 1600! The property has been in the same family since the 1300s and we both would have liked a few more days there. So peaceful and relaxing. However we needed to start getting some supplies for the rv like bedding and cooking basics so trips to TK Maxx (TJ Maxx to Americans) and Ikea broke the peaceful spell. As our week came to a close we still needed our propane tank and a few other odds and ends but we were finally ready to take possession of our camping car and learn about all of the things we didn’t know about owning and living in a rv. (It’s a lot!)
And so we took possession on Thursday afternoon and needed to get to Paris by Monday. A whirlwind road trip into Belgium and Luxembourg and finally France. We made it, mostly in one piece, so look for our next post about that road trip!