The beds are comfier in Austria...so far

Trip Start Jul 23, 2012
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14
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Trip End Feb 03, 2013


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Where I stayed
Michael and Elke's house
What I did
Neuschwanstein

Flag of Austria  , Austrian Alps,
Saturday, September 1, 2012

31/8/12

We woke again to the pounding of rain on our tent… disheartened we retreated to the computer room and updated this blog. We made a plan to get dressed in as many warm waterproof clothes as we could and brave the rain and cold and ride across Switzerland to stay at our friend Michael’s house in Austria. After packing our gear under the tarp, we had a small window of no rain and we quickly tore the tent and tarp down and put it all on our bikes. Off we headed, the rain strated again soon after and on leaving Chamonix our hands became quite cold! Another 6hrs of cold hands!!! Luckily when we made it into Switzerland and off the mountain range the temperature made its way back up to bearable and thankfully the rain stopped. We drove around Genfer See, a massive inland lake, and enjoyed it so much we missed our turn-off to Bern, unknowingly adding another hour onto our trip!!!! After stopping for some nice warm lunch, we jumped back on the bikes, stuck to the motorway and headed for Austria! Soon after this the rain started again and did not stop until we pulled into Michael’s garage some 6 hours later. On our way through Zurich we met some horrendous traffic. For a good 2hours of riding we were winding our way through bumper to bumper traffic! Thank god we were on motorbikes as we were able to scoot up the middle and at one point, with Raelene becoming rather irritated by the congestion, up the emergency lane! Our last 50 km was done via GPS and it took us straight to Michael’s door, not bad for a cheap one! On riding up his driveway we were greeted by not only Michael, who was very happy to see us, but by another 3 guys who all turned out to be Australian! As it turns out Michael met one of them on his trip around Australia. These guys had hired bikes in Munich and planned to travel around the alps for 2 weeks, fancy all the Aussies getting together on the same day in the same place in Austria, fantastic! We jumped off our bikes and our jackets, gloves, boots and helmets were taken for us and hung up to dry, talk about service. We said a big hello to Michael who was quite surprised that a 'girl’ made it all the way from Chamonix in horrible rain! We then put on some dry clothes and headed into town to a restaurant. Beer was drunk, schnitzels and deer were consumed and we were both warm and happy to be out of the rain! Brilliant end to a shocking day of riding!

1/9/12

Pinch and a punch for the first day of the mouth and welcome autumn. Happy birthday Alex! Michael prepared breakfast for 8am which was an awesome array of meats, cheeses, bread and nuts – good way to start a day. The clouds had come in and covered the mountains so it was decided we would all pile into the Landover and head to Neuschwanstein castle for a look. We noticed my bike was leaking a bit of fuel, unsure why as it had never before. Turned off the fuel tank tap and would try to have a look at it a bit later in the day.

Bruce was driving the Landover as Eugene was navigator while poor old Jonathan got the crate in the back as his seat, Rhys and I were pretty comfortable being chauffeured around. The GPS took us through some beautiful country side and villages, the grass has a great pattern on it from Farmers systematically catting the grass for the cows rather than the cows graze normally, all the cows are up in the mountains during the summer months, there is a festival on the 17th September to celebrate them coming down from the mountains. They then remain inside the barns from October to May due to the very cold weather. When we hit the motorway the traffic was pilled up! Not moving very fast and only 1.5km from our turn off Bruce decided to follow some other cars and go in the emergency lane until our turn off. A little way up we saw a car stopped in the emergency lane and noticed it was the police….Bruce attempted to get back into the correct lane however a very grumpy old couple towing a caravan was not happy to let him back in! He tried very hard to push his way in but the old man tooted his horn a lot and caught the attention of the police! The German policeman very sternly pointed to us and instructed us to pull over! He marched up to the window and said something in German. Bruce not understanding spoke back in English so the policeman continued ‘This is an emergency lane, no driving, just like everywhere in the world!’ Bruce being all apologetic and saying he was just following everyone else did not seem to impress the policeman, thus he continued to say ‘you pay €100’ Bruces response was simply ‘seriously!?’ the policeman seemed to not have the patience to argue simply sighed and waved us on saying ‘you go!’, he then stopped the traffic to let us back in, as we passed the old couple with the caravan the cheeky old lady stuck her finger up at us, the car filled with laughter! Poor old Jonathan was trying to hide the fact he was sitting on a crate and had no seatbelt as I was trying not to laugh while the policeman was talking to Bruce! We were very lucky.

When we got to Fussen we stopped at a beautiful pastry shop and tried some amazing cakes and slices, had a walk through the old streets before continuing up to the castle. We were informed you could only go inside the castle for a look on a tour and the next English tour was in 2hrs time so we just walked up to the castle and wandered around. Unfortunately they were doing some work on the back and had scaffolding on some of the steeples and the back wall. We had a great walk around the castle and got some nice views, it is in a beautiful spot. The surrounding forest was fantastic there was moss all over the trees and it gave the castle a fantastic fairytale feel, which is probably how Walt Disney came up with the idea of using Neuschwanstein castle as his logo!

It was a quick walk back down the hill to the car and we made our way home, getting a little lost as the GPS did not recongise the new motorway therefore it wanted to take us the long way, we chose to ignore the GPS and with 5 heads we eventually made it back to Michael’s. Michael took us for a tour around his workshop and showed us some examples of the brilliant work he creates, he is a very talented Blacksmith. It was then time to go out for dinner, Michael once again chose a cute little restaurant and we had the most amazing melted cheese entrée followed by fantastic schnitzels. Finished the day off with schnapps back at home and discussed the possible problems with my bike…..if the weather is bad we will look at it and if the weather is good I’ll jump on the back with Michael and we’ll go for a ride.

2/9/12

Thankfully today dawned a beautiful day. Unfortunately when we went downstairs to the garage we all noticed that Raelene’s bike had leaked a heap of fuel. We decided to all go for a ride but as a result of the leaky fuel situation Raelene was relegated to the back of Michael’s bike.

We all set off for a jaunt around Michael’s valley taking in a variety of mountain passes and spectacular views. Raelene was loving being on the back with Michael as she was experiencing speed and angles of cornering she did not think possible!!! After stopping and sitting down for a coffee, we all came to the agreement that we were going to extend the ride and incorporate another loop adding another narrow mountain pass to the list. I was lucky enough that Michael wanted to ride my bike so he let me have a go of his BMW 1200 GS. Being 7 years old it was newer than mine, and such a nice bike to ride! We popped out onto the motorway and all of a sudden Michael pulled over and beckoned for us all to come near. The time was around 1300hrs and he said that in 1 more hour we could be at Stelvio pass in Italy, one of the most infamous and hardest passes to ride on a bike. We would then hit some dirt and cross into Switzerland before returning home by 6 or 7 o’clock. Bruce, Eugene, john and myself all nodded in agreement so off we set, to cross 4 countries in one day!

We arrived at the base of the Stelvio pass and I found myself still on Michaels BMW, he said for me to stay on it and that was all the encouragement I needed, Eugene and I took the lead and rounded the first of 42 hairpins. And when I say hairpins I mean the tightest corners you can imagine! You have to go all the way down to first gear to get around them and you never get above third in-between them It was brilliant riding! The top of the pass stands at around 2800m and at around 2400 we hit snow. It was all over the sides of the road and at one point across it! We all made it to the top with the only casualty being Eugene taking a corner too narrowly and biting a chunk off the kerb with his bikes crash bars!

Once at the top we sat at a restaurant called little Tibet and ate fantastic gnocchi and spaghetti from a German speaking waitress….strange combo!

We headed off the pass and ducked into Switzerland on a dirt road before heading on the motorway back into Germany and then around into Austria and home. Around 1 hour from home we hit the rain once again. Thankfully it was only a misty shower and we got out of getting too wet. On arriving home we met Michael’s girlfriend, Elke who had made us a fantastic dinner! Fed and watered and with the boys planning to head off tomorrow we all hit the sack after a fantastic day of riding!

3/9/12

Started the day off with a great breakfast to give the boys lots of energy for their ride and give Rhys and I the patience to work on my bike, Michael had kindly orgnaised for his friend, Horst, to come over and take a look at the carburetor for me. Said our bye’s to the boys then under Michael’s instructions we were to have the carburetor out by lunch time in time for the man to look at it. We started off well. The farings were easy to take off, we then scratched our heads as where to start next. It was decided taking the tank off would make things easy so off came the tank. Then we were stuck. Thankfully Michael arrived at this point and told us how to get the airbox out. After another 15 mintutes of fiddling the airbox was out and we were pretty chuffed with ourselves. We couldn’t work out how to get the carburetor out but we thought we had done enough to keep Horst happy. The morning went fast and before we knew it Elke was calling us up for lunch, beautifully cooked fresh whole trout! After lunch Horst arrived and we attempted to help him, he spoke no English and Rhys’ small amount of German was not much help. Horst very quickly fixed the carburetor and then it was time to put it back in. The carburetor was easy and fast to fit back in however getting the airbox back in its place proved to be a challenge. It took Horst and Rhys a very long time to get it back in, they eventually took the exhaust off. By this stage I had given up standing around not being much use so I went inside and watched Nordwand, a fantastic movie about the tragic death of 4 mountaineers on the north face of the Eiger. When the movie was finished Rhys and Horst had finished – perfect timing. It was then time to start the bike, Michael had finished work and was happy with our progress. The bike started and Rhys took it for a spin around the block, all happy! However when he got back and after we had cleaned up the garage a bit we thought to start the bike again….not so good! It would not start and it was getting flooded with fuel. After many attemptes to get it started we eventually gave up and went inside, Michael phoned his friend at a BMW shop in the next town and he informed us it could be the o’rings in the carburetor therefore in the morning Rhys and I were to take the carburetor out again and go into the BMW shop. We were all a little disheartened by our day of work on the bike with nothing positive to show, therefore over dinner 4 bottles of red wine were consumed. Hopefully all can be fixed tomorrow.

4/9/12

On heading downstairs for another expertly prepared breakfast, Michael informed us that our work on the bike from the previous day was futile as this morning it was leaking fuel badly and it wouldn’t even start. Michael informed us that he had already rung the BMW dealer in the next town and had organized for us to bring the carburetor to him so he could have a look, over breakfast we decided to quickly remove the carby’s again and to also take my bike to get some new shoes! We zipped out, stripped the bike down again and easily removed the carby in record time, off we went. I dropped my bike off at the tyre shop while Raelene and Michael continued on to the BMW dealer. On arriving the mechanic took one look at it, pulled it apart and replaced two, TINY O-rings. Job done, hopefully this was the end of our troubles. Raelene also picked up some chain lube, oil and oil filter, brake fluid, coolant and a new fuel tap! They swung back around to the tyre shop where my bike was done and was looking spiffy with the new rubber. We headed home and went about putting the bike back together again! This consisted of removing everything and slowly putting the jigsaw puzzle back together. While I was swearing and cursing trying to reseat the carby into its little nook, Raelene had done the oil, oil filter, coolant and fixed the fuel tap on the tank, GO GIRL! I finally got everything back together, and we went to start it….no go it sounded like the starter motor had packed it in as we had had the battery on charge the whole day…Raelene, a bit disheartened, walked off leaving me to work out the problem. After fiddling around and holding down the ignition button, the starter motor kicked into life and after only about 15 cranks the engine fired into life…happy days. We then set about bleeding the rear brake and after this we went for a ride. Raelene rode and I went pillion, I must say she did very well with a big oaf on the back! We had a wander through the village cemetery and saw some of Michael’s extraordinary craftsmanship on display. On riding home we popped the bike back in the shed and gave it another clean. Very happy with ourselves and extremely grateful for Michaels help in getting things back on track, Raelene and Michael cleaned and lubed the chain while I grated the hell out of some cheese for our yummy fondue! With the bike completed it was the most TLC it had, had for a long time. We went upstairs and had a fantastic cheese fondue Elke had prepared for dinner, after which we went for a great walk around the village. After the walk we were all still very full of cheese so had a game of pool, Rhys beating Michael a few times!

We then all hit the sack and the big test will be if there is fuel on the ground again tomorrow morning, fingers crossed!!!!
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Comments

Grant and Sue ( Mum and Dad) on

Really was very worth while talking to a 'stranger'in a caravan park. Say hi to Michael for us please.

Jane on

Couldn't have met a better bloke, really. :)

Keith on

we're glad you went to King Ludwig's castle

we went there in 2006, it is an amazing piece of architecture!!

hope you are having a great time the photos are great

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