Travel Through France, Belgium and Germany on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Austria, Germany, Belgium and France on a Harley (1/7/10 - 9/7/10)
Distance 1463 km (571137 km to 572600 km)

This is part of the sixteenth section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from the United Kingdom or read our previous visit to Germany  

1/7/10 Travelling a now well worn path from Calais, across France and into Belgium we took a campground late into the evening.

2/7/10 With still 350 km of riding to get to the Horizons Unlimited Rally in Ober-Liebersbach in Germany we started out early, staying on the freeway, meeting commuter traffic which often slowed progress to a crawl, forcing us to split lanes just to keep moving, and arriving at the rally about lunchtime. A much smaller rally than Ripley in the UK, and different, more personalised, chatty, with about 80 in attendance, the group was more concentrated on the riding of travelling rather than the thinking of travelling. Many attendees had just finished or were just starting a trip. Jens, the rally organiser, had arranged internet connection and we finalised the engines shipping, 230 Euro to Brisbane, including collection from the H-D shop in Slough, forAfter a while the rally photos start to look the same as last years our half cubic metre package. They will store it for a month ensuring it doesn't arrive in Australia before us so we can clear customs ourselves.

3/7/10 With a smaller rally it is difficult to attract the variety of speakers. We were pleased to see Sjaak's extended presentation last night. The same theme, and better than last years. His trip on the R1 Yamaha, getting great audience reaction from the Congo sections and the Uyuni salt lakes ride. His timing is superb and he presents professionally, so has a well rehearsed performance. Luckily our slide show didn't follow his, ours being tonight, and whilst the trip and photos speak for themselves, I find it a bit of a chore doing presentations, and have only done a few. Other speakers also presented reasonable to good shows of their trips, adequately entertaining the audiences, and Kay led the womens only forum, where women talked on womens travel problems, or on women travelling in general, and I joined the group discussing shipping, a common concern with new travellers. There was the always well attended workshop on puncture repair and tyre changing, something we are not concernedEast German pension in a quiet street, Erfurt with as the H-D has tubeless tyres, and as we use tyre plugs to repair punctures. The GPS talk was also well attended.

4/7/10 Last nights round of presentation talks ended with people sitting around the log fire listening to guitar music over a few drinks. It had been almost 2am when we finally collapsed in our tent, another late night for an aging couple. The last few weeks, since the Touratech Rally, have been quite hectic and we are looking for a prolonged rest but that might not be possible. With just two months to finish this trip, and a loop to Nordkapp planned, we will be on the move a bit more than usual. Having, only yesterday, decided to loop anti-clockwise we internet booked accommodation in Berlin and will be heading that way tomorrow, but first it was goodbye to everyone this morning and helping Jens pack up the tent and clean up and then we were left to ourselves for the rest of the day to complete motorcycle jobs, front brakes, lubricating the new swing arm bolt, and checking for loose nuts and bolts after the engine change.

5/7/10 Dunlop GermanyErfurt's old historical square, with a modern electric tram has again provided us with a rear tyre, again pick up from Premio Reifen and Autoservice in Hanau, and after leaving the camp spot we arrived as long time friends, particularly with the Polish staff, but also with the rest of the friendly bunch that works there. We were given an empty work bay and proceeded to remove the rear tyre, the one that needed changing, greased the wheel bearings, replaced the rear brake pads and generally checked over the bike, and again on departing they refused payment for the tyre change. It is this friendly acceptance of us and our trip by some and the complete opposite at other places that confuses the mind when travelling. Just minutes later, at the H-D dealer in Hanau, where we needed to purchase oils for the new engine's first oil change, and wanting to use H-D oil, at least initially, we encountered cool to cold reception, as we did at this shop on our last visit. Perhaps it was that we just wanted to purchase oil, and not get the oil change done there, or that we carry our own spare oil filters, but the staff at the shop just seemed disinterested in life, not a recommendation for a lifestyle sport. Despite all our travels we had not managed to venture into Eastern Germany, just somehow missed it, but today we rode to Erfurt,36 years married, now in Berlin choosing a small pension in a lovely street of restored century old buildings. A short walking along nearby streets, dinner in our room, and an early night after watching a few episodes of the TV show Friends, on our lap top. A relaxing comedy to unwind with, no need to think, no need to concentrate, just letting the mood of the show wash over our weary minds.

6/7/10 We decided to go to Berlin for our 36th wedding anniversary, well we were going to be there anyway, so after a morning looking around the lovely old, now restored city streets of Erfurt, we headed onto the motorway for the 300 km ride. Another internet booked, lucky dip hotel, this time in a rambling old ramshackle Soviet era building on the waterfront in Grunau 18 km's from the city centre, and at 34 Euro a double, with internet and breakfast, it has to be better than camping in a city. Again scanning www.booking.com for the cheapest hotel in a city we have ended up in a location of the country we would never have ventured into otherwise. A bottle of wine, a supermarket picnic dinner, and an early night topped off the anniversary.

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin7/7/10 Berlin city for the day. It is a history of our era, the Berlin wall, the bringing down of it, the Brandenburg Gate, and check point Charlie, have all been in the news in our lifetime, all been part of the communist era and its demise. Today it was great to see first hand these, although now touristy, made touristy by recent history, these historical sights. A walk in Tiergarten, the city's wooded park, and a lie on the grass outside the Reichstag, the country's parliament, while watching a more enthusiastic crowd than energy we could muster, completed our Berlin visit. Back at our waterside hotel we cooked dinner overlooking the small boat landing.

8/7/10 The new engine had been running smoothly, but, had been making oil, which we have seen before, all too recently, and on checking the primary chain and clutch area, whose oil level was too low, assumed oil had been flowing past the sprocket shaft bearing oil seal. The majority of the day passed with us considering options and possible reasons for this problem.

9/7/10 It had been a short visit to East Germany, but time to assess that the people here, despite 20 years of reunification, were still quite reserved towards strangers compared to their Western counterparts.

Move with us to Poland or go to our next visit to Germany

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