So when Swift Group asked me to complete two Challenges during 2015 to demonstrate how their motorhomes could be used I wondered what exactly was in store for me. The first aptly named ‘Challenge Neil Greentree’ consisted of me taking their newest design of motorhome, The Rio 340 on a tour of the Kent coastline and completing 5 challenges set by Swift Group Twitter followers the pre-seeding 3 months. That went well as I was in my comfort zone completing challenges such as paddleboarding and others I had never tried such as oil painting (that was great fun!).
This time Swift Group marketing Guru Tom Anderton set me the challenge to try something I have never done before and it must be in Europe. Hmmmm…… I put this out to the faithful Swift Twitter followers and finally found myself agreeing to visit the infamous location of the Second World War. This included Aushwitz and Belsen, the notorious concentration camps, Coditz…….. we all know Colditz (Those fantastic War Movies) and The Eider Dam made famous by way of The Dambusters. I agreed with a moral question as to whether people would see this challenge being rather macabre in nature and not ready for public consumption on social media…. or any other media for that matter!!
I couldn’t be more wrong. Everyone I have spoken still has a real connection to the atrocities t that took place and the moral obligation we all have to keep the memory alive to stop it ever happening again. The reaction has been simply amazing with 9/10 people saying they would love to do this European trip themselves and experience, what is, some of the most notorious locations in the world. Not for the ‘Gruesome factor’ but to pay homage to the victims and pay their respects. So with the public behind me I set about planning the trip which would cover 2000 miles over 5 days. My Wife Sara and her twin Sister Sallie were my companions on this trip, quite poignant really as it was twins the Germans performed experiments on in those dark day of WW2.
I am in charge of transport and navigation, Sara is in charge of Catering, and Sallie is in charge of Entertainment…..well organising the passes for the various locations we will be visiting.
My first dilemma was the crossing. With the migrant crisis hijacking the News headlines every week my nerves were not in favour of the Ferry and after Tweeting Lee Davey (another Swift Ambassador) he advised on taking the ‘Le Shuttle’. That was fine and we waited for the Swift Bessecarr 496 motorhome to arrive at our local Swift Dealer Greentrees CaravanStore so I could check out out accommodation for the week. I got the call and hastily got down to see the ‘ Bessy’ for myself. First impressions – far more space than the Rio, fantastic social layout with the familiar quality the Swift Rio had when we used it. Its size allows it to be far more efficient with the space provided giving the occupants a far more wider range of living options without compromising privacy. Without sounding bias, I really do like the quality of Swift’s as they think about how their vehicles will be used and don’t compromise on cost when speccing the vehicle. That should not be under estimated these days of ‘China’ style fitting and ‘Form over Function’ ruling designers.
Sallie has booked our tickets to Aushwitz but found Colditz, Belsen and The Eider Dam didn’t need booking. This should the time frames between location can be a little more flexible. The Itinery is as follows: Thursday 17th cross the Channel and drive to Germany via Belgium. Friday we continue the drive across Germany to Poland and Aushwitz ready for saturday visiting the Camp. Once done we head South to Colditz ready for Sunday Morning visiting the famous Prison. That afternoon we set off driving North West around 300 miles to Belsen ready to visit the second of our concentration camp visits on Monday. Once done we head South West 150 miles to The Eider Dam (one of my favourites) to soak up the moment with the Dambuster tune ringing in our ears. From there its back to Calais for the Ferry crossing back.
WHAT……Ferry crossing!!! yeah , after trying to book the ‘Le Shuttle’ it became clear that they had ‘hiked’ prices due to the crisis as the Shuttle was two and a half times the cost of the ferry – so I’ll take my chances with the ferry (DFDS – £109 Return)
So you are up to date – follow me on Team QSW on Twitter or Swift Group on Facebook to keep up to date on the adventure. I will be posting regular videos on my thoughts about the Bessecarr 496 motorhome, and the Maxview satellite system I will be using (can’t miss Corrie!).