This years FICM Euro rally began on the 23rd of May and was held at Bergamo, a beautiful town in northern Italy near to lake Como. The actual site was the grounds of a brand new hospital which is at present empty owing to the fact that it has subsidence problems, and parts are sinking by 2 inches a year.I think the builders previous contract was for a tower in Pisa!
We arrived on the Wednesday and all us British were parked up together, including 2 new members Bill Stiles and Margaret Lewis, and in the evening we all gathered for a few drinks and nibbles, the weather was sunny and very hot and I obviously caught sunstroke, because at 11pm I had to be carried back to my camper......OK OK it may have been the wine, but in any case a big thank you to Russ and Brenda.
On Thursday we had the opening ceremony and were all issued with passes for the ride into town,in the evening there was music and entertainment in the main hall, as indeed there was every night.
Friday we were taken by coach to Lake Iseo, where we boarded a large pleasure cruiser for a 2 hour trip around the lake, which is surrounded by mountains and is home to hundreds of swans which made a wonderful contrast to the deep blue of the water, then a leisurely stroll around the town of Sarnico and on to a vineyard for wine tasting, at least at this one I managed to stay upright.
Saturday morning, we were taken by a guide who spoke excellent English to the old town of Bergamo, the ancient heart of the present day city. we were shown through narrow cobbled streets and squares overlooked by highly ornate towers and finally visited one of the most stunningly beautiful Churches I have ever seen, covered in marble and in wonderful condition as though the statues had been carved yesterday. Saturday evening was our gala meal night 7 courses of Italien specialitys with coffee and brandy to finish.
On Sunday most of us bussed into Bergamo to see a parade of classic cars and to explore this splendid city.
The closing ceremony for the rally was held at 10am on Monday, and after many speeches and handshakes we all returned to our motorhomes, and at 2pm left the site and headed for Venice and Bologna where the rally extensions were being held, but more about these next month.

The second extension of the F.I.C.M. Italian rally took place at Bologna starting on the 31st May, unfortunately this was an area that had recently suffered a large earthquake and this led to a visit to the Ducatti motor bike factory being cancelled, which for many of us would have been the high-spot of the rally, a real shame!

However we were treated to guided tours of Ravenna and Bologna both of which were beautiful cities, but this did tend to lead to some of us being "churched out" by the end of the rally. So the Italian motorhome club who organised the rally arranged for us S.E.R.G. members to spend a night at a nearby vineyard, complete with wine tasting and the opportunity to buy some very nice wine at £1-50 a litre! A great finish to a very good rally.

The next rally we had received an invite to was in France, at lake Madine near to the village of Heudicourt, and was organised by the Meuse Madine tourist authority. It was a 5 day rally and began on the 14th of June, and although it rained twice at night all the days were warm and sunny with plenty to do, some small villages to explore and lots of easy cycle routes including a 15 mile one around the Madine lake.

The organisers had combined the rally with a motorhome show so that during the day there were many motorhomes for sale to wander around and look at, also a large hall with stands selling camper accessories, and stalls promoting the attractions of the local area, everyday there were different complimentary drinks to sample,from the surrounding region, then in the evenings another hall held entertainment, the cost for all of this was just 30 euros per camper and for that amount this rally must represent just about the best value for money of any rally we have ever attended.