RREC Central Southern Section
Past Events

Thursday 3 - Friday 11 September 2015

Sadly, the number of rooms initially booked were not all taken up by our Section membership, so we were able to offer accommodation to members of the South Eastern Section, and several non-members who were friends of members. Added to that, one section member had to cancel at the very last minute due to an unfortunate family accident involving their daughter, and another having got as far as Dover the night before, following an earlier problem with their car, failed to proceed at the off on the following morning. I understand that a condenser, which was replaced following the earlier incident, appeared to have developed a fault. As this was completely unexpected it took some time to establish that the 'new part' was faulty and in the meantime the owner sadly decided not to follow on.

Having taken the P&O ferry to Calais, with some anxiety owing to the News reports of desperate migrants at the ports in France, we were relieved not to experience any incidents or delays and headed on to our first overnight stop-off at Dinant, in Belgium. The trip was amazingly well planned and detailed in our rally pack by our two organisers, known as the BWs (big wigs), BW No.1 Robin Brailey and No.2 Peter Allchurch, both Central Southern Section members. This trip was close on 290km (180 miles). We all arrived safely despite some apparent conflicts with a few electronic navigation devices, twas ever thus!

The Bellevue Hotel   The following day we headed off again, this time to our holiday hotel proper, in Boppard, Germany, some 306km (190 miles) away. The hotel is situated on the banks of the Rhine overlooking the river, and as many rooms with a view as possible were allocated to our members. There were massive river boats which appeared to be well over 200 feet long, some of which had two boats head to toe, so 400 feet long or more, and others alongside one another. Many were carrying the crew's motor cars on the aft deck, and passed at what appeared to a considerable lick!

Our cars were allocated garage parking facilities which unfortunately went a little awry, so our cars were not all in the same garage, but we managed.

Our first day was a free day so we all did some sightseeing in Boppard. The gents were delighted that it was Sunday and ninety-nine percent of the shops were closed! The ladies made up for that later, and enjoyed the Onion Market which takes place annually, and was over the last two days of our stay. I have to say I did not see a single onion, but many socks were for sale.

The Bellevue Hotel.

Boppard   La Paloma
Boppard.   La Paloma.

Our first trip out was on a river boat called 'La Paloma', translates I believe to 'The Dove'. A slightly breezy trip, dependant on direction of travel. So the journey up river was brilliant with many members sitting on the foredeck. Numerous castles, and grand period houses which looked similar but not identical to our own Tudor buildings, could be seen and eventually the famous, Lorelei Rock. At 120 metres high, this marks the narrowest point of the river between Switzerland and the North Sea. A point notorious for the wrecking of ships, due to submerged rocks. Shortly after this we came about and headed back down river passing our hotel on the left bank.

As you can imagine, staying in hotels we did not skimp breakfast nor indeed the three-course evening meal so, when the family who owned the boat produced trays of food for lunch we were, to say the least, a little taken aback by the quantity. However, in true RREC fashion, we wired into what was arguably the most delicious meal of the entire holiday. Embarrassingly, that led to the majority of members not being able to clear their dinner plates that evening, in the hotel. Continuing further down river more amazing exposed timber houses and lofty castellations culminating in the impressive statue of the mounted Emperor William I on the river bank in Koblenz.

Lunch on board.

Eltz Castle   exposed timber-framed building   The town of Beilstein
Eltz Castle.   Typical exposed timber-framed building.   The town of Beilstein.

On Tuesday we drove, many doubling up, to Eltz Castle. (We doubled up on several occasions as we were unable to get private parking areas, due mainly to the size of the car parks). This almost fairy tale castle is hidden in a dell or valley and is invisible until you travel down a very steep windy road through a forest. The building, it seems, was built as a memorable and impressive house, albeit pretty secure, and was not a true castle in terms of defence. Unlike other castles in the area it was built low in surrounding hills and not on top. Built in the 15th century and added to in subsequent years, it is still a family home and retains many original features in the areas no longer used for day to day living. Most fascinating to me, were the suits of armour, so small that I doubt they would fit my eleven-year-old grandson.

The last day was to the ancient town of Beilstein a fifty mile drive, again doubling up due to car parking. (This unfortunately led to a lack of photo opportunities of our cars - I took hardly any). Lunch was laid on at the 'Alte Stadtmauer', which we took after walking round the quaint village, arguably perhaps, spoiled to some degree by over commercialism, almost every building having become a pub or restaurant and nearly the entire village belonging to one family.

Members on Gala Night
Members on Gala Night.

The Gala night was a great success and the gentlemen, without exception, kept 'dressed' the entire evening, complimenting the ladies. A pianist played throughout the meal and he was exceptionally good. After the meal a small presentation was made by the writer to the two BWs, Robin Brailey and Peter Allchurch. Robin in turn made a gift of flowers to the Hotel owner, Frau Doris Gawel, thanking her for their hospitably. Frau Doris, also an expert on local wines, gave us an interesting talk on the subject during a wine tasting held in the hotel cellar. A very interesting evening that turned out to be, and we were all a little wobbly when it was over.

Our journey home once again was via the Best Western Hotel in Dinant where they had laid on a barbecue for our evening enjoyment. We and several others packed as many cases as possible ready for the trip to Calais and homeward bound the following morning.

Chris Tween - Section Chairman

Photos: Chris Tween