The maiden voyage

Trip Start Feb 02, 2010
Trip End Feb 02, 2011

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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

After one month to the day in Dosingen, we have left. We packed up all our things and still have a lot of space if we need it on the bike. It was such a relief to be going, I was getting very edgy. The last week I had a strange cold that put me into a really foul mood. I was very angry and grumpy with everything. Our original plan was to ride to Graz via Vienna. The warm week we wanted to go, unfortunately our insurance, numberplates and new tyres weren't ready yet. So we waited a while longer hoping it would warm up. In the end I got to frustrated waiting and waiting so we just left anyway, but for Munich instead. We though it would be better to do a shorted, more achievable ride for our first trip because it was so cold. Then if it was too cold, unpleasant or dangerous to ride we would be not too far between Daniel’s and a couch-surfer’s in Munich rather then in the forest somewhere between Daniel’s ands Vienna.

It was such a pleasure to staying with Daniels family. His father Horst made us feel totally welcome, he sort of adopted us as an addition to his children, as did Oma, who brought a delicious meal over everyday for all of us. The whole community of Daniels family and friends completely welcomed and involved us in their lives.

So now, after making our maiden voyage with Nina, we are safely Munich, very cold but satisfied to have finally covered a distance with her. Felix did so well, I’m proud of him, he rode so well, in snow and ice and traffic. Nina went well too, I still don’t trust her entirely yet. She still stalls unexpectedly sometimes, though Felix and her are working on that. When I see her go a bit further with out a single problem then I might trust her. She is actually parked illegally at the moment on the footpath. After much discussion with many Germans and still no conclusion about whether or not it was legal to park a motorbike and the footpath and if a side car was classed as a bike or a car we talked to a parking inspector, who had just handed out a row of tickets, and he confirmed, it accepted to park a motorbike on the footpath if there was room but not a motorbike with sidecar. Nina is parked on the footpath outside the apartment of another couch-surfer, trying to hide among the other bikes and scooters, hoping to not be seen and fined.

We are staying with a lovely girl Julia, in her tiny flat. There is the main room, which is used as the dining, lounge and bedroom, the kitchen is in a little alcove about one by two meters. The bathroom had just enough room for a bath toilet and sink. It is very nice though. She has a green theme, some strips of green stripy wallpaper and green curtains. I think if Julia had been at Steiner she would have loved it. She is an excellent sewer, crotchetier and knitter, she is teaching me to knit socks at the moment. I think if her and I were to get stuck in here with a big bag of wool, we would be perfectly entertained for weeks. Sadly we won’t be here long enough anyway for me to learn all the good 'nanna craft’ skills she can teach me. It is so wonderful to meet a young person who loves ‘nanna craft’ as much as me and is so knowledgeable in so many different techniques useful thing to make. There are boxes and piles of fabric in one corner near the sewing machine and some little plants and herbs on the windowsill. The shelves, considering the size of the flat are very ordered and uncluttered, it is very romantic single student living. My favourite thing though is the four little felted horses around the room…see she really should have gone to Steiner.

Last night, our first night in Munich, we went with Julia to a Couch Surfing meeting at a Bock Beer festival. Bock beer is also known as ‘strong beer’ because of its dark colour, thickness and high alcohol content. According to one Hungarian Couch Surfer, it was brewed during lent when the monks wouldn’t eat meet. It was meant to give them the extra nutrients they were missing from no meat. I’m not sure if the high alcohol percentage was a deliberate or they just found it in there though ‘oh well that’s a nice bonus’ After taking the tram in the wrong direction and getting off at the wrong train station, we made it to the festival twelve minuets before the bar closed. So we didn’t get a chance to enjoy the joys of many bock beers, but we did get to enjoy the joys of many drunken Germans in lederhosen and dirndels dancing on the tables and chair to a live band playing daggy old music. We also met a few other Couch Surfers being a meeting and all.

We left the festival and went with Julia and three other to another bar. Apart from the pleasure of meeting and spending time with some very nice people there is not much to report from the rest of last night.

This morning we went to Louis, a motorbike superstore and Felix bought heated hand grips for Nina. Felix was experiencing massive pain from getting cold hands while riding. We didn’t expect how hard it would be to fit them. The man in the shop told us to use hair spry to help them slid on then stick in place. We decided to try with out. First we stuck the wrong one on the wrong side, and used electrical tape to try to make it fit better. After an hour or more of trying to fit them we realised we just needed to get the hairspray. Unfortunately we had to cut one of the old grips off, so we couldn’t put it back on, couldn’t get the new ones on, so we couldn’t ride to a supermarket to get hairspray. So we started walking, very soon we found a very nice hairdresser but he wanted fifteen euros for a can of hairspray! He was telling us how good quality it was and Felix was trying to get him to give us a deal and we were about to walk out and keep looking but we had left muddy footprints all through his salon. So we bought the freaking excellent quality hairspray. It did make fitting the hand grips very easy. Riding back to park the bike Felix said they made a world of difference, I hope Nina likes them too.

We spent the afternoon walking round Munich, mainly looking for an army shop to buy some ponchos/tarps and a wool shop. We met a man who gave us directions; it was like he was out of a movie, the way he asked, good looking, maybe about thirty with some stubble, standing on the street smoking a cigarette. We also found a lovely neo-gothic church or castle, I tried to sneak into the pay toilets but a lady caught us and Felix paid up. We bought some wool and saw some band doing a public concert at some Free Tibet gathering. All in all it was quite nice, but so cold. We even managed to find our way home on the train by ourselves.

I’m totally addicted to Paul Dempsey at the moment, I’ve been listening to the few songs I have of his everyday and making Felix cross by singing them all other times, it’s become my soundtrack to the first part of this trip. I’ve been very conscious of what songs remind me of places since I was very young but I realised how nice it was to have songs remind you of special places rather then just the bend on the end of your street when I was talking to someone who told me how one band reminded him of being in Scotland because he had listed to them a lot when he was there walking around castles. It was a story that really stuck with me. Anyway, there is some crappy personal jibber jabber…
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John Cameron on

Wow, lovely photos, it looks so cold. Beautiful writing Floss, makes me feel like I am there. And I love the "cr*ppy personal jibber jabber". More photos of you both please, I mean its nice to meet Nina, but there's 4 Nina photos and only 1 each of Flex and Floss :-). Thinking of you both. Been listening to "Upward over the mountain", funny to hear the real thing after hearing you singing it so often over at Carbeena, actually I prefer your version but I listen to the Iron and Wine one anyway just cos it reminds me of Floss&Flex zooming over some white snowy landscape far away.

PS. It wouldn't let me say c r a p p y! It said a "profane" word was found and rejected my post. The internet is getting too smart for its own good.

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