Well, that was an event worth attending. The 30th anniversary of the founding of the Land-Rovers of Switzerland (LRoS) club. Headed up by current president Daniel Hotz, the club is staffed by an enthusiastic bunch of volunteers, and guess what? They are all exactly like us!
Nearly a thousand visitors descend on St Stephan near Bern in almost 700 Land Rovers of varying vintages. On the weekend of 15 July, participants drove from virtually every country in Europe in everything from Series 1s to Disco’s. The longest round trip was a bone-jarring 8 000km from Tromsø, deep inside the Arctic in northern Norway, undertaken in a beautifully restored Series 1.
Read more: Bucket List Expedition
The event itself was run with the precision of, well, a Swiss watch. Every activity took place exactly on time. The campground (precisely laid out on each side of the St Stephan airfield) with exactly five metres between the two rows of very happy campers. I found out later that the five-metre distance was regulated to allow emergency vehicles access should this become necessary.
Groups of Landys were taking off at regular intervals to explore the tight and twisty roads of the more than 4 000m-high Alps (St Stephan is close to the famous ski resort of Gstaad). They were aided by local farmers who kindly unlocked their gates, providing Landy fans unfettered access to this incredible region.
Back at the campsite, we busied ourselves making friends from all around the world, including a ladies’ Landy club from Texas, US. Entertainment was traditional in every sense, from yodelling to alpenhorn playing. The catering was in a class of its own and served piping hot from a mobile kitchen on-site. Even the trestle tables and benches were laid out with Swiss precision.
In fact, the only jarring note to the entire weekend came from us South Africans, represented by Land Rover AFRICA magazine. Daniel had asked us to do a little presentation of what we get up to at the southern tip of Africa. We threw together material from some of our adventures, put it all into a video documentary, synced a rock anthem soundtrack that seemed to go with the visuals and set up a screen and Marshall music amp.
When the yodel group finished its set, I bounded onto the stage, signalled to Nicky to hit the projector ‘on’ button and the sound of Awolnation’s ‘Sail’ filled the marquee. In hindsight, a rock anthem playing right after a yodelling group was probably not the smartest choice. I was met with a stunned audience staring in disbelief at this noise that was suddenly assaulting their ears. I think they liked our video though.
Just maybe we’ll crack the nod to the next LRoS event.