The road trip begins
12.07.2016 - 17.07.2016 30 °C
The Aussie Entourage left Grevbo around 6am Tuesday morning to drive to Duisburg, trailer loaded with the 4 Chiefs like a game of Tetris and the van packed likewise with luggage. Jorgen's Renault van carried the Bluebird and more luggage. The Mercedes was speed limited to 80km due to the large trailer but not the Renault so Catarina and Jorgen left later and passed us swiftly about an hour down the road. The weather was lousy with heavy rain showers regularly throughout the day so we were pleased to be in the comfort of the van for the 1050km journey. Lunch was taken at a fuel stop and we made the Rödby ferry for the 5pm sailing from Denmark to Germany. The Renault caught the same crossing after having a faster journey but longer lunch at a "very nice restaurant" so we were told. For the sake of convenience we had booked our night's stay at the hotel adjacent to the ferry at Puttgarden on the German side - Hotel Dania. A good choice as there was a bar (mandatory), a restaurant (yes, required) and a large carpark for the vans and comfy beds.
Off at a reasonable hour Wednesday morning to drive to Duisbug, a further 450kms, an easier day allowing us to have a "very nice restaurant" lunch at the small and ancient town of Tecklenburg.
We arrived at Matthias' house late afternoon and settled in to stay for the next two days. Matt was a brilliant host and took us touring - Thursday on a morning boat trip around Duisburg harbour where Jim saw the MV Indian on a slipway, a boat he had driven up the Rhine a few years earlier with his friend Gerd, and Friday to Cologne to see the cathedral, have lunch at a famous and very popular beer house, and then to a decommissioned steel mill in a northern suburb of Duisburg for afternoon drinks and a climb to the top of the smelter. So many interesting things to see with wonderful food and drinks chucked in for good measure.
Saturday 16th July the riding tour began. Five Indians, a van and small trailer left Blumstra 20 Duisburg around 9ish for the 450kms to Baden-Baden, via the Alsace Region albeit for about 20 mins, to the home of Klaus and Sally Wildemann. We all carried our passports as we were unsure of how the border crossing would pan out with the current situation in France but as it was there was no French official there to wish us "bonjour" only a very large and long vacant building that once was the international border station. A really long day on the bikes, made just that bit longer by having a long lunch at a "very nice restaurant" on the banks of the Rhine, the Galthof Zum Landsknecht
The weather held (overcast but dry) and the scenery was spectacular with castles of all shapes and sizes regularly positioned along the route and villages that looked like pictures on the lids of biscuit boxes that were around when we were kids. A BBQ dinner, wine and good conversation finished off a great day. Klaus and Sally have a very large 1901 home, three stories with at least 10 bedrooms so there was plenty of room to sleep our party of 8 travellers.
Sunday morning after an al fresco breakfast, led by Klaus, we rode out through the Black Forest en route to Metmenstetten, Switzerland to the home of Urz and Lan Speck. To ride/drive on Swiss roads you need an annual permit so we stopped and bought passes for bikes, car and trailer at the border, this station operated by a very officious young man! A sunny and hot day, the riding was brilliant, again! Urz had sent Jim some photos of the Alps two days earlier when it had snowed and the weather was cold but we've looked at the forecast for the next days and at the moment the weather should be 30 degrees and so, even though there will be snow high up, it should be sunny. Let's hope so!