Germany here we come
25.07.2016 - 28.07.2016
From Metmenstetten, Switzerland to Munich, Germany is about 400kms so our riding for Sunday 24 July was mostly on the highways and autobahns of Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria and Germany. Jim P can proudly say he has dropped a koala in each country (we carry the little marsupial souvenirs clipped on our bikes and hand them out to children we meet along our journey) as on that Sunday they were jumping off the Eurochief all day! The riding was pleasant enough for highway riding made a lot easier as, on Sundays, trucks are not permitted to be on the roads. The rigs would be all lined up in the wayside stops for the day with satellite dishes hung from side windows or even a spot of washing hung across the windscreen. At many of the larger truck stops there are bathing and laundry facilities for travellers and truckers to use so the day off the road is their chance to catch up on "chores".
We arrived at Werner and Hanna Trautner's home in an outer suburb of Munich in brilliant hot sunshine in the late afternoon. Hanna is an artist and on that day she was holding a small exhibition of her paintings and drawings as well as the craft of some friends. We settled in for a while to drink some beers and talk to the guests and then Werner led us, on his Scout, to the hotel/gaust haus he owns in the suburb of Allach where we would spend the next three nights, hanging up our riding boots to replace them with our tourist shoes. Werner sub-lets the restaurant/bar and so we ate in the rear garden by a swift running brook, our delicious meal of Bavarian specialties served by Eileen and one of the co-owners, Jurgen. He was most helpful in giving us detailed directions to the train station, what stop to get off at and even where to eat for lunch the next day when we planned to go into Munich and ride the HopOnHopOff bus for the day. Monday, after a relaxing breakfast we walked, as directed, to the station and bought two group tickets (cheaper to pay €12.20 for 5 people than to buy individual tickets). Getting off at Marienplatz we walked a bit to find the right bus stop for the HoHo bus, having to scramble to buy brollies in the platz as the rain was tumbling down more heavily than we had planned for. On to the bus and off on the Red route, seeing buildings old and new, the English Garden, the venue of the Oktoberfest, and grand avenues with many statues. Jurgen had recommended a small, local restaurant near the market area called Zwickl but somewhere during the morning we dropped the map with the address of our lunch spot. We asked the young tour guides who were most resourceful and found the address for us. All we had to do was hook in to a wifi hotspot and voilá Google Maps to the rescue. Finally, a hotspot and finally, we rounded a corner and there was Spickl and the best meatballs on offer in Munich. Wine, beer, local Bavarian food and we were very happy travellers. It took a while to find a bus stop to recatch the HoHo bus and so, by the time we had walked for quite a while in the afternoon sun, Jim P, Jorgen and Caterina had had enough and headed back to the gaust haus while the other 5 intrepid tourists went around on the Blue route seeing the artists' quarter, the Pinakotec (Munich's art gallery complex) and a magnificent boulevard with buildings designed in the style of the Renaissance.
We learnt that Munich "makes its own weather" and that temperatures can change 10+ degrees in minutes and that thunderstorms can gather likewise. We had a direct experience of this in the last 5 minutes of the tour with black clouds gathering quickly, thunder and lightning and pelting rain coming out of nowhere. Consequently getting off the bus we got pretty drenched but not to worry! Underground to the train and then home to where the storm had passed and drinks and dinner were to be had.
Tuesday the men went with Werner to see Peter at Munich Indian Parts and the women lazed around reading, doing crosswords, writing their blog and having a look at the local shops. Wednesday we were heading off to the rally and Werner had planned a day of riding about 400kms on small roads so we all chose to have a lazy day to rest and prepare ourselves for the days to come. We dined in the restaurant at night with Werner and Hanna and bright and early Wednesday morning we gathered in the hotel carpark, fired up now 7 bikes and took off for our night's stay in the small village of Trätzhof. We rode the most wonderful picturesque small roads, passing through village after village. I noted that if we rode like this in Australia we would be in the middle of nowhere but in Germany we were in the middle of everywhere! At one point the main road passed through the middle of the medieval village of Dinkelsbuhl with original and restored buildings either side of the cobbled narrow road. Amazing!
Unfortunately the Eurochief developed rear brake problems with the diagnosis that Jim had cooked them in the Alps and that the shoes would need replacing. It was on to the trailer for the bike and Jim and after lunch Jim took the driving of the van over from Sharon, at her request. Our afternoon tea stop to eat gelati at the village of Wertheim was also very interesting with old, old buildings set around a large open square and a dominating castle presiding over the village atop a steep hill. We arrived at our hotel about 7pm very tired and hungry. A great meal outside and then to bed to ride the final leg of our "to the rally" ride on Thursday. I noted a phenomenon I kept seeing throughout Germany at the front of the hotel and that was a cigarette vending machine located on the fence of he hotel abutting the footpath. Not something we in Australia have anymore with our strict laws on the sale of cigarettes.
So on Thursday morning three Scouts, four Chiefs and the black Merc van and trailer set off on the last 200 or so kms to Kierspe to the site of the 2016 International Indian Rally where we would once again catch up with our friends from all over Europe and the UK, a great weekend of fun awaiting us.