The Friedrichshafen Rally - 2005
If you read the 2004 report of our visit, we showed just how easy it was to fly direct to Friedrichshafen airport, pick up a train and literally travel three stops and be in the centre of the town only 100 yards from our Hotel. Each day, the carpeted, air conditioned buses took us on the free 15 minute ride to and from the Messe Exhibition complex on the outskirts of town from the main square just adjacent to the station.
We also showed pictures of the Goldener Hirsch Hotel where we stay and some of the fine views around Lake Constance together with a selection of photo's from the rally. Members of the group were also seen eating some superb food from Pizza's to steaks and of course the now famous "Grand Marnier Becher" with Krokensplitters !! An ice cream cup with a generous quantity of Grand Marnier at the bottom, topped with fresh cream and tiny sugar crystals called Krokensplitters which dissolved between your teeth with a splendid flavour ! So I think you have the picture of just how easy it is to travel nearly 1000 miles to the largest and undoubtedly the best rally in Europe, stay in a great hotel and manage to keep going for 5 action packed days .. and it's far from expensive.
This year a group of nine of us made the journey (in callsign order) G3UVR, G4NCI, G4OAR, G6IIM, G7LLQ, GM7HUD, M1EEV with XYL and M1EIV which represented the largest contingent to date from Wirral. We've made our way there by almost every conceivable option. For the first 5 or so times we hired a mobile home and drove all the way there and back. Then we drove down by car for a couple of years and camped on site. Once numbers began to dwindle we started flying over. We've flown from Liverpool and Luton via various combinations to Zurich and Geneva, and last year we tried the new Ryanair service from London Stansted direct to Friedrichshafen. This was probably the easiest, but we did have to get to Stansted first which involved a overnight B&B. This year we travelled down on Wednesday 22nd June and tried a new easyJet service from Liverpool to Basel in Switzerland. Once there, we hired 2 cars and drove the remaining 112 miles (approx. 2 hours) down to Romanshorn and joined the car ferry over to Friedrichshafen, chatting between the cars on our 2m handies.
Thursday was a day to relax, so we took the ferry from Friedrichshafen to Bregenz in Austria on what was a perfect hot day with hardly a breath of wind, and an eerie heat haze at times. The main part of Lake Constance, or the "Upper Lake" as it is called (Konstanz - Bregenz) is 46 km long and 14 km wide. The total length of the shoreline is 273 km, so with an area of some 500 sq km it is the third largest lake in Europe ! Once at Bregenz there was a short walk to the Pfanderbahn cable car which took us up to the top of the Pfander mountain with stunning views over the eastern end of Lake Constance right over to the Austrian Alps. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were rally days. On Monday we returned by car to Basel taking the afternoon flight back to John Lennon Airport where we were met by a truly great friend with a people carrier who kindly dropped each of us back at our respective homes .. and reality !!
As digital photography increases it's market penetration, it's no surprise that this year the number of photographs taken has more than doubled. This creates it's own problems and I am very conscious of the amount of web space such a selection of pictures takes. With this in mind, I have therefore decided to only make a small selection available here on the web to give a flavour of the occasion. On Wednesday 23rd November, I plan to give a talk and presentation at the Wirral & District Amateur Radio Club HQ in Irby with many more pictures .. some never seen before ! .. and talk about our plans for 2006. Then, others that took part can share their anecdotes as well to make it a thoroughly interesting evening for everyone to enjoy.
Thanks to Chris M1EEV and Roy M1EIV for additional photographic input.
73 de Neil, G4OAR
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