Experience a lot with as little money as possible - Camille's story comes to an end...

Mit möglichst wenig Kohle viel erleben - die Geschichte von Camille geht zu Ende...

What happened to the good Camille? As we said a few months ago, she accompanied us through a very important phase in our lives, not to say founded it... It's now 2007, about a summer after our Portugal road-surfing-dune-sleeping trip. Valentin turned twenty in 2007, while Vitalis, as you know, is exactly two years older to the day. Well, this year Valentin decided to marry his then fiancée. But - no wedding without a proper stag party, or as we say in our circles "Maltschischnik". It was clear quite early on that our mates had neither the money nor the desire for a "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" trip. So we decided to do what we did best back then. Experiencing a lot with as little money as possible.

The right vehicle was just around the corner, the destination this time was Sicily, or at least further than Rome. Sleeping wherever and however we liked... Sleeping bags and sleeping mats are included. It can hardly be too cold in Bella Italia in late spring. So we set off one evening, without much of a plan, without a big purse, just lots of time and a vague destination somewhere in the south. Our non-plan actually worked quite well, we quickly crossed Switzerland and made our first longer stop in northern Italy on Lake Maggiore. The nice thing about a spacious vehicle like our 1985 Volkswagen "Camille" T3 with an ice cream vendor's high roof is that you can change drivers relatively easily and quickly. Important: I am only describing a purely theoretical possibility of changing drivers on the fly. This is not intended to encourage anyone to do it this way, nor do I want to confirm that we have done it this way. So, (as I said, purely theoretically) the driver in a generously dimensioned vehicle, like ours at the time, feels a slight fatigue because he has been sitting behind the wheel for a certain amount of time without interruption. He can then signal to his co-driver to hold the steering wheel. While the passenger not only holds the steering wheel, but also keeps the vehicle in lane according to the course of the road, the driver can stand up, turn to the side and get into the back of the vehicle. At this point, it is important that a replacement driver is ready to take over the steering wheel immediately. So much for a somewhat more specialized technique for covering many kilometers as quickly as possible with a slow 60 hp vehicle.


After a few nights in the open, in unguarded parking lots and in guarded parking lots, which we had to leave as quickly as possible if we didn't want to get a hefty fine, we eventually arrived in the eternal city of Rome. And that's when our journey came to an abrupt end. While we had spent an extended afternoon and evening in the city center, we returned to our Camille at nightfall. Lo and behold - the side window had been smashed and everything was gone. All our bags, our suitcases, all our belongings. Of course, the police in Rome don't care because this happens every day - so we had a 0% chance of ever seeing our stuff again. It goes without saying that each of us had favorite items and things in our suitcases that couldn't easily be replaced. Looking back, we were a bit hasty in our decision to go back to Germany, the frustration was probably too great at the time. Today, each of us would probably have simply bought a new toothbrush and swimming trunks and we would have continued our tour south. But that's how you often act out of the situation and make quick decisions. Which is usually a good thing. Anyway, from that point on, Camille was a bit of a mess. On the way back, the engine simply ran out when we entered a tunnel. Mind you, it was uphill and we were on a bend - in the rear-view mirror I could still see the truck thundering past us. At that moment, a few prayers went up to heaven, which were immediately answered, the engine started up again and nobody crashed into the back of us. Vitalis and his wife were still traveling in the Alps that year, where the good Camille finally gave up the ghost. Why are we writing all this down here? We're probably trying to process what we experienced, the drama and trauma of the whole thing... Ok, the photos are strong too. No, seriously. Last week we were back on the road for compagnon in Switzerland, northern Italy and Austria. On the way to the Lineapelle in Milan, we drove through the Gotthard tunnel. On the Italian side, there is a small town with the euphonious name of Airolo. And it was in this very Airolo that the good Camille died. Vitalis left her there at the time. We drove back to the workshop to see if Camille might still be standing around in the yard and if we could wake her up from her snow-white slumber. Which unfortunately wasn't the case. And that's when our feelings of grief burst out again with all their intensity. Not at all. But there was a bit of melancholy. May she rest in peace in some car cemetery, our beloved companion - the co-founder of "compagnon".

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