Saturday, September 13, 2008

Diary of a Goldwinger Part 9 - Holland 2008


25 years of GWEF, that's the Goldwing Federation of Europe which is like a governing body of the Goldwing clubs in Europe, which consists of 22 countries throughout Europe.

To celebrate this 25th anniversary a super Treffen was held near Arnhem in Holland and Lorna and I set off on the 16th of July to arrive on the 18th.

Day 1 was a great ride and we stopped in Valence in France after covering approx 1200 ks, found a very nice hotel, after a couple of beers and a very nice meal we retired to bed looking forward to good nights sleep, breakfast ( well sort of breakfast ) at 0730 and away towards Holland as we got closer to Luxembourg the sky's were getting darker and the temperature was getting lower, around 1 o'clock the rain started and it rained very heavily as we were diverted off of our planned motorway route due to roadwork's, we found ourselves on A roads with a lot of heavy traffic, lorries by the hundreds were all diverted along the diversion, it continued to rain all afternoon, and believe me it was heavy rain and bloody cold with it. Because we were not due onto the Treffen site until 12 o'clock on the Thursday ( GWEF rules ) we decided to look for a hotel and were directed by the sat-nav to a town called Kappel, having booked in we were talking to the owner only to discover we were in Germany. We didn't see any border or anything to tell us we were in Germany and I must admit I was very surprised. A Chinese restaurant was at the rear of the hotel so we sat and had, yes you've guessed it, a couple of beers and a very nice buffet meal, good job really because we cannot speak a word of German, it was self service so that was one less language barrier to cross. We had a walk around the town after dinner only to find that everywhere was closed and the town was deserted, so off to bed we went and had a great nights sleep.

Next morning we had breakfast at 08.30 and set off in the pouring rain to find the Treffen site, it was only 150 ks so it was a gentle ride realising we would arrive at the Treffen too early. We decided to go direct to the site to get our bearings for later in the day, we found the site at Pappandal, rode to the entrance only to be told we could go straight in and pitch the tent before inscribing, So I asked is it open then, as it was before 12 o'clock only to be told it was open the previous day because of the amount of people travelling long distances. So we could have made it the day before DSCF2748instead of stopping overnight in Germany.

I rang our friends from the UK who were on route to tell them it was open early as I knew they were having a steady ride through Holland so as not to arrive before the 12 o'clock opening time. The rain had slowed down to a drizzle by then so we got the tent up, we had just finished when Tony, Helen and Holly from the UK arrived on their yellow 1800 outfit. We quickly got both tents up and everything sorted as the rain started to get heavier. The weather continued to worsen ,and that's how it stayed all weekend, the odd bright spell but the rain was heavy and it rained until we left the site on the Monday morning.

22 countries were represented over the weekend, every country who are members of GWEF were there, 1300 Goldwings and approx 2300 people, the site was an ex Olympic sports centre and was huge, the main hall was fantastic with restaurants and bars, with over 20 traders attending there was plenty of shiny bits for the DSCF2758 bikes and clothing stalls galore. We rode into the nearest village for a meal one day and found the town full of Goldwingers of all nationalities, despite the torrential rain it didn't seem to dampen anybody's enthusiasm, it was a great weekend, meeting old friends and making new ones, it would have been nice to get out around the area but the weather didn't really encourage us, we did have plenty of time to look around the trade halls and must admit we did purchase the odd shiny bit for the bike.

On Monday morning we took the tent down during a moment of brighter weather, said our goodbyes and set off for home, 10 mins after leaving it started to rain even heavier forcing us to stop for a lengthy breakfast, as we left Holland the weather brightened up and we made great time down into France as far as a small town south of Lyon, cant remember what it was called but a nice Ibis hotel and, yes you've guessed after a couple of beers and a nice meal it was off to bed, up bright and early next morning and on the road. It was a pleasure to be riding in warm, dry conditions and we, well I, decided to get home from there in one hit, we had to be home before dark as you cannot tow a trailer in the dark in Spain ( bloody silly rule if you ask me ) we arrived home just as it was getting dark. We covered over 5,000ks, a third of which was in the rain but we enjoyed the whole experience, once again spending time with like minded people, yes and having a few beers, seeing different countries and paying very high prices for fuel, drink and food. It cost 12 euros more in Holland to fill the bike than it costs in Spain. Now I need to get the bike serviced AGAIN ready for our trip to the UK for the Goldwing owners club of Great Britain's Treffen, this one is in Driffield in East Yorkshire and we hope will be a good one. So watch this space for the next report.

Ride safe, Steve and Lorna