Felix: Generally, we want to discover new and unknown sites. We are very interested in culture and architecture and like to visit other cities and villages. We also like nature and landscapes and enjoy hiking. Photography is my great hobby so I spend a lot of time in making photographs of landscapes. My wife is an exceptionally good cook and enjoys buying regional food and preparing it in our camper. A good wine must never lack! If we go winter camping in the Alps, the kids enjoy skiing. The parents prefer hiking in the snowy mountains with the support of huge snowshoes.
TCM: What’s it like to truck camp in Germany?
Felix: Here in Germany you can find truck camps everywhere. But you shouldn’t compare these camps with those in which you are accustomed. The lots are smaller and often the campers are standing side-by-side close together. The campgrounds are well prepared, many of them with sanitary installations, fresh water, and disposal of wastes. Some of them are subject to charges and you pay a few bucks.
One of the highlights are the many truck camps along the world famous wine rivers including the Rhine, Moselle, Main, and Ahr. The valleys are very narrow, so there are not too many places to camp. On the other side is the collective experience of camper life: talking, BBQing, drinking beer, and laughing. Like on www.rv.net, we are a community of truck camper enthusiasts and throughout the year we gather in different locations of Germany and spend our weekends together.
TCM: What are some of the most amazing places that you would recommend others go to as they travel through Germany?
Felix: As I mentioned above, I recommend the German wine valleys. Everybody knows the world famous Oktoberfest in Munich. But if you glance at the calendar of the German wine villages you can celebrate a wine festival nearly every weekend throughout the year. The festivals are fantastic with good wine, good BBQ, and local specialties like tarte flambee, stuffed pig’s stomach, German sausage, and grilled knuckle.
Above: Normandy, France
TCM: Where have you explored with your truck camper?
Felix: We have been to France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. There are differences between the countries concerning campgrounds and permissions to boondock. In the Netherlands, boondocking is strictly forbidden, but in France, Germany, Norway, and Sweden, there is no problem. In Spain, and in many other countries, it is tolerated.
TCM: Do you see many truck campers in Germany?
Felix: No. In Germany, truck campers count among the exotics. It’s like a family. If you see a truck camper on the highway you beckon to him/her. The most famous camper manufacturers in Europe are Bimobil, Nordstar, and Tischer, which are mainly built for Japanese pickup trucks. There are a couple of small manufacturers which specialize in 4×4-truck campers including Excab and Geocar.
TCM: What unexpected challenges have you faced on your truck camping adventures?
Felix: I remember two challenges. My manual gearing broke in Spain and I passed the 1200 miles with an absolute minimum of shifting. We were thinking that the pinions would blow up in our faces, but we just managed it.
The other challenge happens every year when we go to our winter campground in the Alps. On the way there we have to scale a snowy mountain pass. That’s quite dangerous because every moment the steep road can be blocked by masses of snow.
In the winter, we stay at a campground for two weeks with about seventy other mobilehome campers. There are only a few other truck campers. One highlight of that experience are the parties in our camper together with our kids Felicia and Gerrit. We have loud music, a good dinner, dancing, and at midnight we display the fireworks together with the other camper friends.
TCM: Where is the most interesting place you have camped?