European Tour


Dr. No

New member
What a trip! After deciding, for the limited time we had, that rental was better than shipping CoWesty (that would be another topic) we chose MOBY Campers near Zurich for their prices and proximity to a major airport. Amsterdam was my first choice but all the agencies there were booked. We had a 2000 VW California/Swiss TDI, what would be known here, if there were such a thing, as a Eurovan Westfalia (Poptop--There are also Westy highroofs, etc. as well as Karman Mercedes poptops). Briefly, we drove through Switzerland, Italy, France and Spain, mainly noticing differences from North American camping/driving:
1. No land yacht campers--everything is van-based or tiny trailers.
2. Campgrounds are all clean, quiet and close to town. They are convenient places to stay, but not really to "get back to nature" except the beach. St. Tropez has several campgrounds. Serveral had discos, all had stores, and almost all had better coffee than anything available here.
3. Don't drive downtown--a Westy that is much shorter than a Caddy or Navigator is still twice as long as a Smart or Fiat. I clipped the mirrors on a main street in Monaco.
For those of you who have not driven a EV, especially the turbo-deisel, you wouldn't think you were in a VW, unless you compare it to a Jetta or NB. After cruising the various Autobahn/route/piste at 130-160kph (a westy at 100MPH!) its hard to readjust to a top speed of 70. The EV Westy is plush, except for the rubber floor mats (that may be for rentals), and has the coolest fridge, set like a cooler in front of the closet with a digital thermostat in front. The cargo space where the engine should be is nice, but accessible only from the back door. What's not hard to get used to again is the space in a Vanagon Westy. The top bed was very cramped, the walkthrough was tight for a five-year-old, and we could hand things from the back seat to the driver, with everyone buckled in. I'm keeping my old Westy, especially if I can find a bolt-in TDI conversion.
 

meddle

New member
Ahhh. The memories. I just got married about 8 months ago and my new wife and I took our wedding money and went to europe. We found a great website, karmabum.com and from there we found turner cars and campers. They rent out type 2 vans and vangons and more I think. They fixed us up with an 82, I think, transporter with all the camping eqiupment and a small pop top. It was great to see it. They actually came to the Utrech station to pick us up.
We rented the van for two months and the price was really good we thought. I think now all they offer is a buy and sell back plan. They stopped renting them because they are good people and they weren't making much of a profit.
The driving was great fun but hard at times. Holland was very simple to drive but the further south we got the thinner the roads got and the crazier the drivers got. Plus the vespas! You really have to watch out for them.
We also found the campsites to be amazing for the most part. There was only one time that we felt a little in danger so we didn't stay there. That was in Torino Italy. We came in from the north entrance so if you see a camping sign don't bother.
I took our van "otto" over the alps without a problem. If you don't mind going 10km/h up a long hill. We did take it into a city once or twice. I drove it through Harlem and that was like being in a video game and then I drove in Grenoble but the underground parking proved to be a problem. I dented the side rear weel panel. Sadly I lost most of my deposit right there. Paris was a bit crazy too. Another long story.
All in all this trip was a dream come true. We tell all our frinds to drive instead of train. The freedom to stop when ever you want is great. The campsites gave us a good feel of european lifestyle. All the people we met where from europe and they were all on vacation of course so they were all very happy to have a litle fun. Some campsites are even better than hotels. Some had pools and others had cheap bike rentals and pretty much all of them in italy had a deli with the best cheeses and meats.
Now that's I'm home I'm looking for a van. I hope to buy one very soon. peace...
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to consolidate same locale.

xrayeyes1 Member Posted April 16, 2005 04:30 PM

Forgive me if I have posted this message incorrectly.

I will be retiring in about a year. I would like to spend about six months after that touring in western Europe. I have a 1985 Westy, and I am wondering if it makes sense to have it shipped to Europe to use for six months? Would it be cheaper to rent a Westy there, even for such a long time?

I would appreciate any input or advice.
 

amcginn

New member
Check out www.bwcampers.com in amsterdam, which rents or sells vw campers. we bought an older westy and sold it back to them last year under a guaranteed buy-back deal which was quite satisfactory. it was vastly cheaper than shipping our own back and forth from the west coast (san francisco). art mcginn
 

xrayeyes1

New member
Thanks for the direction. I live in Los Angeles, so I would asume my shipping costs would be equal to yours.

Tucker
 

amcginn

New member
since you have a lot of lead time, suggest wait until january or so, the dead of winter and the extreme off season in europe for camper rentals and sales, to swing any deal with b&w. prices and selection will be greatest then. we dealt with a guy named renne, who seemed a straight-shooter and speaks excellent english -- as, indeed do virtually all the cool and friendly dutch. b&w held our '87 westy, after a down payment, until mid-april when we showed up. renne, in fact, had himself just returned from a trip to yosemite.
 

R/C Dallas

New member
xrayeyes1

If your interested in starting out in the UK the dealer where I purchased my 1990 VW Atlantic has a buy-back program as well as a hire (rental) program and usually has some very nice Westfalia campers on hand. Checkout campervans4u on the internet. They only deal in westfalias and had some of the best vans around when I was doing my year long search for my van.
 

bWana

New member
NOW IN Noorderwijk, FLANDERS (BELGIUM)...Café on wheels!!!

Check this out !

http://www.cafewelkom.be

A very nice "Café" on wheels.

The site is in flemisch but... nice to see!

If you're in Belgium (Europe)... come and have a good Belgian beer in this pub and see the beautifull T1's.
 

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