83 Kara Wankers

Trip Start Apr 21, 2013
Trip End Aug 28, 2013

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 83

12 July 2013


My apologies to the English speaking readers but as I need a catchy heading I could not let that one go by- . More on that later.

It was my plan to leave but my host insisted that I should use his home as base for a day while he went to work and take advantage of the challenging roads which starts right from the front gate and seems to lead straight to heaven.

The official Wolfsberg website from which I stole one picture states "Wolfsberg, holiday city in paradise". Not altogether right, if paradise means heaven, then heaven starts outside the town and… if you have been a good person- or so the story goes- if you miss one of the hundreds of sharp turns, you know exactly where heaven is located within several minutes while tumbling down the mountain.  So all indicators point to, that you need to be outside the town.

Perhaps this is the reason that most town are called Saint this or Saint that.

Within minutes one reaches a few thousand meters and ii is not just the cool mountain that takes your breath away; the views are stunning! The people are friendly and actually wave when you pass by.   

By lunchtime I was back in town and headed for the BMW dealer where I needed some assistance.

Before I had time to park the bike I was greeted by an employee who spoke English. When I asked for the spare parts department he took me right though the building and through the normally off limits area of the spare parts warehouse area and introduced me to one of the persons who worked there and who first shook hands before asking what my needs where. This in itself gives you a good feeling about being there.

I needed some parts to fix up the rattle in my exhaust system as riding down a cobblestone streets started to attract people's stares which I figured was not because they admired the motorcycle or me but more so the rattling noise coming from under the bike.  It turned out that a small bracket had broken off for which I wanted a replacement. To my amazement I found the bracket to be part of the muffler which perhaps would cost hundreds of Euros to replace. Also I needed a speedometer cable as it had broken- but was not in stock.

Of course what most people who have seen the pictures of the bike don’t realize is that although the bike looks fairly new it is nearly 20 years old. The cable needed to be ordered and would be there in a week for me to collect later if/when I pass the area again on the way back.

 Meanwhile emergency repair was arranged which was performed with a minimum of fuss and without any cost. While a mechanic performed the task I was offered a cup of coffee. That is what you call service.

 have to say that I have noticed that at times the knowledge that I come from Australia generates a degree of respect or interest at times.  (more on that later.)

 I had the key to the house and was able to make myself some lunch (Why are some people so nice to me, I often wonder)  

In the afternoon, on the GPS, I selected  the shortest route (which offersa more challenging, twisting, elevated route ) to go to the town of Kranj in Slovenia. Kranj in located in former Yugoslavia; in early days this is where you first entered the communist east block and faced a strict border checkpoint plus the need for visa’s etc.

Today this part is now called Slovenia and is a member of the European Union which means that the border post are now deserted and you are able to enter without any form of control.

Many European borders are natural borders. They are formed by high  mountain ranges or rivers.. I had crossed this area further west several times and here it was no different.

First you ride through valleys and start to follow a twisting road beside fast flowing rivers with the occasional waterfall to take you attention away from the road and your instruments.  And… didn’t I mentioned that my Speedo cable had broken?   I entered a town and had no idea that I was doing 77 kph in a 50 km zone. The speed zones are not indicatedby road signs , as the sign with the town’s name on it is enough to inform you that you are in a build up area and that the limit is fifty.

Near the end of the town I was met by a Revenue Collector in the form of a policeman with a smiling face who uttered the words”Gruss Gott” . I have no idea what the means other than “Greeting from Go”  He pulled out his pistol in the shape of a speed camera and ask for my driver’s license and bike papers. I showed him my Australian Drivers license which he could not work out as the European A license is an R license in Australia.

Meanwhile he informed me that I needed to pay an on the spot fine of 50 Euros.  In the confusion he did not check the bikes registration papers so that saved me time as the bike is registered in my friend Rob’s name.

This policeman was just doing a job he is paid to do and it is always best to keep smiling and be polite. I remember that as a kid there was a TV show in which a policeman told stories about road and general safety and road rules for pedestrians. When he came on they played a song “De Polite is m’n beste kamaraad”  (the Police is my best friend) In those days you believed anything you saw on TV because they never told you that if they are short of money they set up speed traps in safe areas where everyone goes just a bit faster than the limit because there is no danger to so. Anyhow, I said jokingly that he did not absolute needed to fine me but warn me instead or slap me on the hand. I taken me glove off so he could do that.  He laughed and shook his head but… reduced the fine to 25 Euros instead.

Of course in true policemen’s style his car was hidden out if sight and he himself hid behind a wall.

The road continued skywards until it reached the old border post after which it went straight down, I turned off the engine and freewheeled down the mountain for the next 15 minutes.  

Via Kranj I took a different route back until I ended up near a autobahn (freeway) near Wolfsburg.  There was no traffic, wide road and an opportunity to find out what this old bike was still capable of. Within second she climbed past the 170 kph and accelerated all the way to 210 kph measured on the GPS- not bad for an old girl.

Now for the Kara Wankers.

Although we talk about “The Alps” as being a mountain range of Europe which may be called French Alps, Swiss Alps, Austrian Alps etc. locally they often have another name as well. In Northern Italy there are the Dolomites and in this area around Klagenfurt they are the… “Karawanken”  so, I figure that the people who live are…? Exactly.
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