/ Europe2011

Oh I do like to be beside the Bodensee-side

So we bid Switzerland a fond "au revior", "auf wiedersehen", "arrivederci", "a revair" just to make sure we include all of its languages and head off towards Germany. The plan is to follow the Bodensee's south coastline around, through Austria and up into Germany. Hmm - explaining that to Tomtom is harder than we thought, setting a destination for anything more than a few miles away and she insists on taking us on a faster inland route. Must check if there is a 'take scenic route' option.

Still Liz coaxes her into eventually submission be adding increasingly distant destinations one at a time until she meanders us around the coastline with its beautiful views of the lake. And yes, we do know it is much quicker to cross the border at Konstanz and around the north side to Friedrichshafen but the journey is as important as the destination on this holiday. Mind you when we hit the austrian traffic after crossing the border at St Margrethen we did wonder whether the simpler, one country less route might have been a better option.

Once in Germany we benefited from joining the best road system in Europe and were whisked round to Friedrichshafen in no time. We'd set Tomtom to aim for the city centre and hoped the Messe (where the radio Hamfest was being held) wouldn't be too far away. As it turns out, it is a way out of town at the airport but excellent signage (both normal road signs and Hamfest specific signs) made it simple to find.

Now the rally doesn't start for another couple of days but already the campsite is filling and spaces on the main site are few and far between (we found out over the next couple of days that adjacent sites were also pressed into action). A very friendly and helpful official took our money and pointed a parking spot directly opposite a corral of vans and tents what appeared to be containing the entire radio amateur population of Macedonia.

A busy campsite - and a lot of antennas

Now, would you believe it but almost immediately after we are settled in we get a visit from a familiar face - Norman (GI4SZP) the vice-chairman of the Romahome owners club. His R20 hylo was just across the other side of the car park. What a coincidence. He was accompanied by a German white-stick (blind) radio ham Albert who's callsign we forgot to note. It's good to know that many radio manufacturers rate accessibility high on their list of requirements, the current Kenwood TS-590s is purported to be very straightforward for blind operators.

Having left table and crates to reserve our spaces (the campers equivalent of the towel on the deckchair) we hit the nearest supermarket for supplies. To our surprise Marktkauf had exactly the camping pan set Liz has been looking for, but in their kitchenware. Individual 12, 14, and 16cm stainless steel with handles on two sides which means the pans can stack inside each other allowing steaming; much cheaper than camping sets too.

We did notice the beer seller on the campsite but it's too wet, so a quiet night in the van methinks.