Northward Bound

Driven to Write met three (of four) Germans outside a supermarket in Aarhus. They had travelled in a VW camping van with two Simson mopeds.

2014 Nordkapp with motor bikes

We don’t really do motorbikes at DTW and VW camping vans aren’t part of our repertoire either but here is a brief report on the trip of Markus, Judith, Ludwig and Victoria from the Bodensee in Germany to Nordkapp in Finnmark, Norway. I met them as they were eating a spot of lunch outside my local supermarket. They were travelling in a rather used series T3 VW camper van (1979 to 1992) and two Simson mopeds.

Simson were an east German firm based in Suhl. The firm also made firearms and cars during its existence between 1856 and 2002. It’s best known for its two stroke mopeds which are referred to by their fans as Simis and these constituted its post-war production. The idea began in 1998 when Markus and his brother imagined a long trip while holidaying in Sweden. The death of Markus’ brother in 2010 led him to revive the idea as a kind of tribute. The route can be summarised as Bodnegg (Bodensee), Suhl (home of the former Simson factory),  Leipzig, Kiel, Oslo, Lofoten, (Norwegische Inselgruppe), Nordkapp and back. I met them on the 23rd of June as they were heading home.

1963 Simson-Schwalbe
1963 Simson-Schwalbe

The trip started on the first of May and they headed from Baden-Wuerttemburg in the southwest of Germany to Thuringia in eastern German. The destination was the Simson factory in Suhl. They stayed in Meiningen which is a fine town I have reported on elsewhere. I can recommend a visit to this region. When I was there I was unaware of the car museum in Suhl. It’s another reason to go back. By May 9th they were in Oslo.

1990 Simson S53 OR
1990 Simson S53 OR

On May 12 th they saw their first Elk on the way to Lillehammer. On the 13th of May they reached Rørøs which is famous for its woollen rugs. I can recommend these. They are exceptionally durable, soft and warm. On June 1st they reached the Nordkapp. One can only imagine what it’s like to have covered so much ground using the Simsons and the T3, none of which are exceptionally rapid vehicles. You can read more about their trip by visiting their blog. This trip has reminded me of a much less daring idea I had to dispose of my old Citroen, “Banger to the Baltic”. I have to get around to this sometime. The mopeds shown are the closest I can find to the ones used by Markus and his friends. Below is a V8 Simson-Supra which you can see at the museum in Suhl.

1931 Simson Supra V8
1931 Simson Supra V8


Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

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