On of the highlights of the hamfest for us was staying on the campsite. It was as if a multinational band of gypsies had coalesced for a weekend.
The Romahome was the object of interest to almost everyone. Everytime we looked out of the window someone was looking at it or pointing to it. I've lost count of the number of tours we've given over the long weekend. I think someone needs to put together a Romahome phrasebook with phrases such as:
- "The seats pull together and make a huge double bed"
- "Notice how the sink cunningly lifts up to reveal the toilet compartment"
translated into many different languages. Even on our trip to the local supermarket did we find a couple of young Polish amateurs photographing the van as we returned. Another impromptu tour.
The weißen was sehr gut
The campsite had a couple of amenities - a small food bar and, of course, a beer bar. Soon we had extended our UK contact list beyond Norman GI4ZSP to Dave GW4ZAR and Steve MW0ZZK as we shared a beer or two together. In fact, Dave and Steve became good friends and we bumped into them several times more over lunch food sessions and evening bar excursions. Another group of regulars at the bar was a Dutch DX group whose excellent English meant we become an international drinking group. The beer was good too, a weißen and a märzen to choose from, at €4 per ½ litre. On Saturday evening we spent a long evening in the company of these good friends and Sunday morning we were both not at our best. It was then that I discovered the märzen we had been drinking was a hefty 5.6% by volume!
We never tried the food on the campsite. It was typical German fastfood but the Dutch amateurs reckoned the "Fricadella" was most interesting - I got the impression that this was not an entirely complimentary statement!
As well as the fixed vendors an excellent (and amazingly cheap) Italian ice-cream vendor toured the site regularly and most evenings a small van would have freshly picked cherries for sale. Liz bought some but declined the offer of local fruit schnapps!
A quiet time on the campsite
We made several tours of the site, noting people's ingenuity particularly concerning antennas. Everyone was friendly and helpful and only too keen to discuss, as best as our non-existent German would allow, the design decisions behind their variation on a ¼wave vertical or inverted-L fishing rod antenna., which seemed to be the norm. In fact it was an early tour of the site that lead us to discover the CG brand of auto-ATU and a subsequent internet lookup that convinced us that one was worth buying (it was gratifying to see that the Italian equivalent of RAYNET used them too).
Certainly if we were to go a subsequent year, and we do plan to, then staying on the campsite is a must. Yeah, there were queues for the loos and shower (although Liz didn't have a problem) but the good natured environment made it a real part of the hamfest experience. For example, the Macadonian contingency opposite usually had national music playing in the background and would occasionally, spontaneously burst into a chorus or two of one some folk song. Most enjoyable.