On August 23rd, Mike and Marcia boarded a plane to Düsseldorf Germany for the huge Düsseldorf RV show. Among well over 200,000 other visitors to this show, they saw old friends, met suppliers and visited booths showing the highest quality and most innovative products for the RV market.
They first attended this show two years ago, and this year, Mike wanted to learn all he could about Sprinter builds, especially the many companies building van campers and van camping equipment. These companies ranged from the Mercedes Marco Polo and VW campers to smaller up-fitters and equipment manufacturers for this growing market.
Mike and Marcia spent time with the Houghton Air Conditioner group and enjoyed dinner with Mr. Bei, the owner, and Paul Christensen and his wife Jane. Advanced-RV has been impressed with the efficiency and quiet operation of the two Houghton models they have tested over the last few months.
Other key contacts were with VB AirSuspension and its owner; folks from E&P leveling systems, and the sales rep from Plastiform, a Slovenian window manufacturer that Marcia and Mike and Chris and Marta Puetzfeld from Advanced RV visited after the Düsseldorf show two years ago.
Mike and Marcia were pleased to hang out with James and Stefany of Fit RV over several days and share a breakfast together. The Mercedes Benz reception is always a highlight of the show, and once again, Mike and Marcia appreciated MB hosting such a congenial event at the show.
Mike talked to suppliers from all over the world, including an Italian seat manufacturer; a Turkish manufacturer of innovative, low-profile shades and curtains; and a young, innovative manufacturer of camper interiors for the Metris (or Vito, in Europe), called Nest, from the Czech Republic.
After the Düsseldorf show, Mike and Marcia flew to Switzerland to spend a couple days with Chris and Marta Puetzfeld. They then visited Budapest, enjoying the lights of the city on an evening cruise of the Danube and taking in the highlights of the city and traditional Hungarian food on a bike tour. From Budapest, they took a train to Prague where they met their Irish travel friends for an all day walking tour of the city. From Prague, with their friends, they rented a car and drove to the beautiful Czech countryside southwest of Prague. There they met with Jiri and Zdenka, whose blog you might have read when, last year, they rented an Advanced RV to do a six week tour of the US.
When Mike realized they were only a three hour drive from the Czech camper manufacturer, Nest, he called the contact he had met in Düsseldorf and set up a meeting for the next day. He and Marcia left their country pension at 6:30 AM, drove through the gorgeous countryside, and toured the plant with our contact. It was a tough day of travel but the visit was excellent.
The next day, Jiri and Zdenka joined Harry and Mary and Mike and Marcia for a 13 mile hike in the countryside, with views of rolling fields and farmhouses, paths through dense forests, and gentle climbs up rock formations. They enjoyed a Czech lunch in a converted farmhouse and, from Jiri and Zdenka, learned about Czech life pre and post-communism, rural and urban, work and pleasure.
Mike and Marcia are now on their way to Burma before visiting Hong Kong to celebrate their youngest son’s, Patrick, wedding and then to Tokyo to see Patrick and wife Alexis’s new home. Then, home and back to work.