The last of the German speaking countries


They say bad things happen in threes. Well, upon arrival back at Gomaringen in Germany I was a little surprised to find my bike was dead. Not only would it not start with the key but I pushed it up a hill about a hundred times to crash start it but no go. I figured out the battery was completely dead and beyond the chargeable stage. So, new battery.

Then, after a ride through the Black Forest, my air vent cover came loose. I stopped on the motorway to get it and after about twenty cars the very last one ran it over and shattered it. Great, so new air vent cover. Then I found out Davids cousin had written off his Suzuki 750. Not a good week for motorbikes in that area. I just hope the three bad things don’t necessarily have to happen to me; otherwise I’m due one more.

Anyway, Gomaringen was really cool once again. The guys were great and we did a lot of stuff including soccer (twice I might add and each time I managed to shoot the worst shots in the game although I also did score a couple of goals), trampolining, caving, barbeques, pool parties, and a beautiful ride to the Black Forest following David on his Honda CB500. I managed to push my bike up to 190 kmh, legally what’s more. Maybe that’s why the vent cover flew off.

The bus ride from Albania to Athens wasn’t so bad. It was an eight hour overnighter in which I slept precisely two hours. Oh well, at least I got to see the guys getting arrested in the Greek border, and I went straight to sleep on the plane to Stuttgart, actually I went to sleep in the waiting area and almost missed the plane.

It was a little sad to say goodbye to the Renz family with whom I was staying in Gomaringen but I guess you can’t stay in one place forever. So it was off to Rosenheim near Munich to my friend Simon, his wonderful family, and their asthmatic pet duck.

Simon’s house is just on the outskirts of town in a beautiful little farming area. Very relaxing, especially because it was raining but I wasn’t too worried. A good chance to chill for a little while. I did go for a short ride in the area. Stopping for fuel I greeted the cashier in German and said the pump number. Then he said something way too fast and I asked if he spoke English.

“Ja clar” which means ‘of course’. “Where are you from?” in a weird accent I couldn’t quite pick.
“New Zealand”
Then the accent suddenly came clear to me as he responded in the best southern hick drawl I’ve ever heard “Well you’re a li’l far from home aintchya!”
Awesome, and so unexpected. Then in a space of me handing over my credit card I found out he’s a Republican, was in the military, likes George Bush, comes from South Carolina, and had an uncle in the KKK. Welcome to wild Bavaria.

After that it was on to Austria which of course is a beautiful country to ride through. The valley from Innsbruck west to Switzerland is just amazing. I couchsurfed at a little town called Silz and when I arrives my host Sonja said “there’s not much happening round here”. Yeah except for wild craggy mountains, gushing waterfalls, castles, placid lakes surrounded by lush forest, high alpine meadows, and some of the nicest biking roads in the world. So yeah, not much happening if you’re a nature hater. Fortunately I’m not one of those.

Climbing one of the smaller mountains was a bit harder than I thought though. I guess that’s what three months of no exercise does to you. The land of chocolate and banking welcomed me a couple of days later with the heaviest rain I’ve seen so far. It didn’t matter; it was only a short ride to my friend Benno and his Subaru WRX just north of Zurich. Unfortunately for him they had a hail storm a couple of weeks before and his nice paint job was left looking like a golf ball. Seriously, I’ve never seen so many dents in one car. It’s lucky I didn’t ride through that storm or I’d probably be eating through a straw right now.

Frauenfeld is about 900 km from Rotterdam if you take a scenic way so I decided to do that in one day. No mean feat but what better roads to do it on then the German autobahns. I’m only six cm shorter now due to the rattling of the bike compacting my spine, and my hands have a permanent shake, but what a ride!

Arriving back in Holland was like arriving home after three months of being on the road. Three months of mostly spending no more than two nights at the same place, three months of living out of a back pack, three months of meeting completely new people every day. Three months of awesomeness. Unbelievable.