The day finally arrived and after a lovely organic breakfast with our friends in Oxford we set the Tom Tom and headed through the beautiful English Countryside to the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Warwickshire, the site of Busfest. Of course we were quickly on a motorway surrounded by trucks so our idyllic drive was at an end. But when we turned off the motorway towards Gloucester it was just beautiful. Past houses and inns that had been built well before Captain Cook set sail to explore the South. Very green and lush and just a great drive. And of course we started seeing all types of VWs heading to the same place.
A great photo from 2014!!!
We arrived at the main entrance and were met by Michael who was in charge of the Syncro display and he escorted us with a yellow beast that was previously owned by Bernd Jaeger, a German specialist in Syncros. It has an Audi V6 with a very modified drive train. Here it is during one of the many exhibitions to show the crowd what it could do. Note the left front wheel in the air.
There was a special spot for our cars. In front of the main arena which was set up for a Syncro display.
Hart was quite the celebrity and two german film crews interviewed him for a story. Of course he had no troubles telling his story as he had been doing it all weekend! And it is a wonderful story.
There were around 30 Syncros parked in the display and we all felt like special guests. We met Joachim from our tour who had travelled from Germany and James and Sally from England, also Steve who was also on part of our tour. Great to meet up again.
And then in they came. Every type of bus you could imagine from split windows through to the latest T5s. The Busfest program says over the three days around 5000 vehicles attend and around 25,000 people.
It's the largest international bus festival in the world. The camping area is huge and here is a photo of the area map from the program.
Note the area in red marked No Entry. This was for VIP camping and we were treated as honoured guests with a VIP camping tent. The area had a number of very interesting tents called yurts with and Arabian theme inside and four good quality thermorest camping mattresses. Very nice indeed. And also a high class shower and toilet area. To top it all off there was a spa area amongst the tents. But no time to enjoy such luxury. We were very appreciative of such generosity from our hosts.
And then there were the trade stands. Around 500 of them. Set up in the big sheds on the Showground and in alleyways like a shopping mall. Selling all sorts of VW stuff. There were parts, both new and old, carpets, clothing, sound equipment, camping gear, tents, new cars, old cars and just too many other things to mention. They also had a large kids zone which was great for parents who wanted a break from their kids.
And after that, food and drink vans of all sorts. And at night there was music of all sorts in a large tent and other buildings on the site. It reminded me of being at an outdoor rock concert like the Blues Festival at Byron Bay. This is a photo of a DJ operating out of an open Kombi.
The other observation we made was the amount of dogs that people had. Amazing. Someone said Busfest was actually a dog show for people who drove Volkswagens!! Check out how some people took their dogs around. And they used the same trolleys for car bits and/or children. The trolleys were for sale for £55.
We wandered around all the trader stalls and bought various bits and pieces for our vehicles. Some good stuff that is hard to get in Australia or costs a lot in postage. And we made many contacts for future searches of parts. Very handy indeed.
One of the daily events was called spit screen alley. Here is a photo of one that I am sure my dear wife will love given the colour!!
Sad news is that beautiful red and black splitty got rear ended on its way home on Sunday night. It is owned by the sponsor of the VIP camping area. We don't know the fate of the car but no one was injured thankfully.
Events wound down late on Sunday and the few of us left had a lovely BBQ to wind up the event, including the German film crew and a lovely couple who lived locally and provided the charcoal grill. Then it was all over and we crashed into our yurt ready for an early start the next day.
We had a horror drive back to Dover on Monday morning in the traffic and although we had a two hour buffer before our ferry, there were two road accidents and we got to Dover just as the ferry was leaving at 12.15. Damn!! We got the next one and while we were waiting I had some wifi in the terminal. Checked Facebook and there was a post with a photo of our two Syncros in the boarding lanes! Turns out a trader from Berlin we had met and bought some stuff was also at Busfest and was in the line near us. He is a good mate of Jörg from our round trip and he had posted on the round trip Facebook page.
We had a good chat and sat with him on the ferry. Got some great tips about sourcing parts. We had a last look at the white cliffs of Dover as our ferry left for Calais.
A long drive to our overnight stop in Arnhem at the gliding centre in The Netherlands and we hit the sack after a cup of peppermint tea totally exhausted after an 18 hour day.
Then it was back on the road to Hamburg amongst the trucks. They were doing some line marking near the Bremen turn off and the trucks were lined up for kilometres as we were down to one lane for a while. One thing we noticed was the lack of any road rage and all the drivers were just so courteous. Wish we had such manners on the roads in Australia. Have a look at the line of trucks and this was only a sample.
We got to Hamburg at 3.30pm and just crashed. What a trip!!
Now a job for Hart and Paul to prepare their vehicles to be delivered to the Hamburg wharf for loading into a container.
We fly home on Tuesday 15 September and we are both looking forward to getting back to Port Macquarie.
In the meantime it's time to relax and check out the beautiful city and harbour of Hamburg.