Our first two days in Tasmania were promising. We were spoilt with pristine weather and a comfortable, homely cottage to stay in. But then came Friday. The weather turned bad and the accommodation to even worse: Our hired high top camper entered the scene.
We had all been so excited about the idea of living in a camper for three weeks. But unfortunately when we finally met our home on wheels it wasn’t love at first sight, quite the opposite. The initial shock turned into a serious form of disappointment. What was presented to us was an old, smelly, shabby, tired, greasy… (I could think of many more negative adjectives!) camper. Nothing at all like the picture we had drawn in our minds.
While the kids – once more – didn’t seem to be bothered so much by the state of the van, John and I wanted to walk away instantly. But we also knew that we kind of depended on this vehicle. Tasmania was still enjoying high tourist season and no other rental options (car or camper) seemed to be available. We had to stick with this one. So we put on our brave faces (at least for a while) and drove off. First stop: Buying some antibacterial spray and room deodorant. Second stop: Getting a plastic basin in order to wash all the dishes and cutlery. Third stop: MONA museum (museum of old and new art)… to escape the rain – and the camper, of course. The visit to the museum was a waste of time though. Not that the museum was bad, don’t get me wrong. Yes, its content added to the darkness on that day… but that was not the problem at all. We just couldn’t enjoy a second in the architectural master piece because we were still in “camper shock”.
We didn’t feel like driving far that day, so we stopped in Hobart for the night, washed everything we could and went to bed listening to the raindrops hitting the roof. Fortunately, the raindrops didn’t just hit the roof. They also found a way into our camper. The camper had a leak! In the morning, the girls mattress was soaked wet. Great news. A glimmer of hope spread amongst us: Could this be our way out of the contract? A decision was made: We would bring the camper back. But first, we needed a plan B. We stopped at a car rental company, no cars. Then we stopped at the Apollo branch. The expectations were low, but why not ask. And – would you believe it – they had, even to the surprise of the sales assistant, a high top camper available. Not for the whole three weeks, but for two at least. Better than nothing.
Back at the other rental company, we confronted the manager with the leak. He presented us with a replacement vehicle (which looked none the better), that we kindly dismissed. “The only other alternative I’ve got”, he said, “is handing you the money back.” Needless to say that we were thrilled with that option. I cannot describe what a relief that was. We took the money and spent it (and some more) on an almost brand new Apollo camper which totally matched our vision. Finally, we could hit the Tasmanian roads. As happy as larry.