The beds are comfier in Austria...so far
Trip Start Jul 23, 2012
60Trip End Feb 03, 2013
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Where I stayed
Michael and Elke's house
What I did
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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 all hit the sack and the big test will be if there is fuel on the ground again tomorrow morning, fingers crossed!!!!