Day 0.75: On how Folk Combo found their house on wheels...
By Folk Combo, Dec 2 2014 12:39AM
Since we began shaping our 'Balkan Adventures', we both agreed that a campervan was the way to go. We spent weeks scouting the internet to find a car that would suffice to all our needs. We selected a few possibilities and planned a day to go van-hunting in Germany. So, here comes the story of how we got hold of the campervan, which from now on, we call it our "Villa".
Starting from Tilburg, we started this campaign on the night of the 22nd of October to arrive as early as possible to Stuttgart, where we thought we would make a good deal. We arrived there at 10 o'clock in the morning after getting lost a couple of times and eventually found the right address. The van we found on the web was there, on a grim parking lot of some industrial terrain next to a huge brothel. There was no office nor any indication that this parking lot belonged to a garage or car dealer. Interesting... We called the guy, who answered and replied he would sent somebody over. The man who arrived a few minutes later didn't speak English, nor German too well and after about 15 minutes we knew that this van would not suffice our demands. For one, it didn't have a working reverse gear, which according to the salesman didn't matter, since the car-inspection in the Netherlands would only test if it goes forward. We didn't agree and, feeling quite defeated since we drove all the way down to Stuttgart, we left the guy trying to park the van in perpetuous forward motion...unforgetable image. We drove back up to Cologne where another van was waiting for our inspection.
We arrived in Cologne much later than intended, because once again... we got lost. This time there was a proper office and a Turkish German who ran his garage in a small town called Gymnich, which wasn't located on our road maps. Together with his companion, a fat man with a lot of bad jokes, we had a test-drive in the van around the town to check if everything worked accordingly. After the tour it was nearly 9 o'clock and the car dealer, who wanted to make a deal as fast as possible, started to get agitated. Being tired of the whole trip so far, we were relunctant to rush this important decision and decided to hold back, leaving the car dealer in a state of frustration.
We drove to the nearest town to have something to eat and to contemplate our plans. David argued that we should profit the momentum, call the dealer and make him an offer he couldn't refuse. We got the deal: "bring the money in cash within one hour" he said. But in order to do this we first had to get more money in cash. Like in the Matrix, we got help from a bank advisor by phone who led us to the nearest dutch ATM machine. That hour felt like a movie, a race against the clock in order to seal the deal and... we nailed it!
That night we went to a small hotel and had a beer to reflect on this crazy day. We found a small chapel across the street, smoked a cigarette and we both were feeling a sort of 'mystical sensation', knowing that at that moment, we made an important step in the right direction of accomplishing our 'Balkan Dream'. The next day we got up and went back to the garage to pick up the van. With two cars we drove back to the Netherlands and after leaving the other car in Tilburg we drove the van to Utrecht. We visited our friend Sharon to show our beautiful van and to share the story we had just experienced, at that time we didn't know that time a few problems were coming. To save time on this detailed drama, those problems and its conclusion can be summarized as follows:
- Our van did not exist, according to the Dutch car-registation bureau (RDW), result: we got lost in a bureaucratic limbo, waiting, waiting waiting...
- One week later we found out with the help of our personal M, Sharon, that some dyslectic German swapped the last two digits of our chassis serial number somewhere along the history of our Villa.
- We informed the RDW about our findings and trying to encourage them to take our case seriously. Only after a trillion phonecalls, Gijs made the manager of the RDW to get into action.
- After another random time unit, we finally got the green light and were able to fully register our Villa under our name.
Uuummphffff... what a relief!
(However, these two guys did not know what surprises were coming once they started driving the car.) To be continued...
Very nice pics!!