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Tom's Tour - addendum

David peeled of from the group on our way towards Bremen as his ferry was a day earlier than ours. Tom,Bill, Dave & Nicky Parr and I bowled along towards Bremen where we had arranged to camp (Dave & Nicky in hotel) and spend another evening with Gerd. He suggested we should take a a look at Bremen city centre and try a different restaurant. We were all very glad to have the chance to see some of the mediaeval streets which have recently been converted to retail outlets for artistic enterprises and restaurants and the like. I might have to go back with Pam for a better look.

We ate in a restaurant on the riverside overlooking the Elbe and during the course of the evening, it was suggested that we paid a visit to 'Ollie's factory' in Oldenburg. Oliver Herbolzheimer is noted in the world of Messerschmidtt restoration and had used one of Gerd's Tigers as a pattern for reproducing an aluminium-bodied replica.

Oldenburg was only just off our route and it was an easy choice to make, we must go. When we arrived it transpired that Gerd had called Ollie to let him know we were coming and the kettle was on. The first sight was the original replica aluminium bodied Tiger!

His workshop is very professionally set up and he employs four craftsmen and two trainees, one of whom was female.

For me, it was a real treat to see familiar but different equipment in use doing similar work to my own and Ollie was very generous with his time, showing us his restoration work and new Messserschmidtts which use a Trabant engine in a completely new chassis and body, faithfully reproducing the original cars. A new Tiger costs E 70K which seems a snip for a completely hand-built car.

We left, heading towards Meppen and Dave and Nicky peeled off from the remainder of the group as they had planned to spend some time in Hoorn, Amsterdam, and Delft so the three of us crossed the 27Km dyke from Lelystadt and drove down via Monnickendam to Uitdam to the camp-site. A friendly and efficient host gave us a pitch, held my passport hostage, poured beer and cooked us some food. Just fine.

The following morning we decided to revisit Monnickendam as it had seemed a bustling and interesting town. A cluster of small town houses dating back to 1592 around a port and canal system gave us the chance to have a wander and we ended the morning with coffee and applecake. We said our good-byes and a few miles south on the road toward Amsterdam I peeled off towards Scheveningen and the Hague en route to Rotterdam while Tom and Bill headed for Ijmuiden. A cracking 10-day trip with interesting routes, good company, good weather and I think it's fair to say that a good time was had by all.

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