This is part of the third section of our around the
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Netherlands
15/4/98 The Harley versus other brands of motorcycle "competition" doesn't occur with motorcycle "travellers" but its always great conversation and polite ribbing over a few beers. This is how we started in Turkey, one year ago and are continuing with our "now hosts" in Germany who ride "the best motorcycle in the world" an Africa Twin. Having been too and from India overland a couple of times and 140,000 km later on the same motorcycle without problems he has some valid arguments, but we defend Harleys pretty well. His close friend owns both a Harley and an Africa twin so we all put shit on BMW and Cagiva's as there riders aren't there to defend themselves.
16/4/98 What's Germany without food and beer and schnapps. Lunch at a Brouhaus, a Dusseldorf boutique brewery for some soleier eggs, half a boiled egg with the yoke removed and vinegar, oil, pepper, salt and mustard in the hole then back goes the yoke and all at once into the mouth with an explosion of different flavours, brawn, melt (raw mince), sausages, flunz and schmalz (flavoured lard). Then dinner with black bread, local Kolsch beer, sauerkraut, panahas (blood fat and spices), blutworst (blood sausage) and finishing with schnapps. Our hosts Jorn and Judith who indulged us with these culinary and liquid delights have started a motorcycle travel business, escorted tours from Germany to India and Nepal, based on their own travel experiences, called "Eurasia", if their tours are like their hospitality they will be a roaring success.
17/4/98 A big day when a friend collects his new motorcycle, of course it has to be scratched by friends to avoid that dreaded fear of the first scratch, also signed on the bash plate by Jorn and myself and a schnapps and lunch to celebrate its first 100 km followed in the evening with a dousing in champaign and beer with the bottle smashed across the rear axle finishes the welcoming of a new member to the family. The same day also celebrates our hosts Judith's XX birthday, the main excuse for the visit, with a party lasting till 6 am before rising at 10.30 to get ready for the motorcycle rally the next day.
18/4/98 On the way to the rally we finally achieved, at least legally, 100 miles per hour (160 km/hr) on the Harley (barely getting there fully loaded two up) on the autobahn. The only two places I know off where there is no upper speed limit are the autobahns in Germany and in the Northern Territory of Australia. Bernd Tesch holds a rally every year. This is his twentieth, for around the would motorcyclists and people planning long trips or people just interested in other peoples trips. Having ridden from Australia we were honoured as his special guests, and joined the 14 people present (including Ted Simons, Jupiter's Travels and Nick Sanders, fastest man around the world on a motorcycle) who had ridden motorcycles around the world, on stage, for introductions and photos. The rally of over 350 people and motorcycles included audio visual presentations and slide shows from many renowned motorcycle travellers. It was great to meet many other travellers with similar stories and experiences as your own and swap them around the campfire over a beer or in the parking lot surrounded by well travelled motorcycles.
19/4/98 With two hundred tents and more motorcycles crammed into a small campground, the only access over a slippery, muddy road through a creek crossing (or over a narrow pedestrian bridge) most had camped for the last two nights, for us just one, we started a slow day after the late night partying. There were no facilities at the site, nor food, as most travel rough, with their own tents, cooking and food, the way they would travel more remote areas of the world. Being more comfort travellers so far, (flea ridden beds in Indonesia, India etc. aside and rats sharing our room occasionally in asia) the need to camp for cost saving in Europe next trip, or in Africa out of necessity, we wandered around absorbing the wealth of equipment some of the more hardened motorcycle travellers were using. The rally slowly wound up with changes of address and promised visits before we headed back to Germany absolutely stuffed.
20/4/98 A nice rainy day just suited for relaxing inside after a heavy couple of days.
21/4/98 Moving again South towards Switzerland. A fairly quick ride beside the Rhine River, its vineyards, quaint houses and a castle on every bend. The weather, warm for the first time since Paris, we sat and watched the flotilla of barges ploughing up river and coasting down seemingly overladen with their cargo about to swamp them. Finished the day in Stuttgart at the "official hostel". The most antiquated we have yet been in and making a mockery of German efficiency and technology. The rules of the hostel seemingly discouraging people from staying or at least shortening their visit. Sleeping bags are not allowed, new registration forms filled in every day, breakfast between 7-8 am with the biggest fraulein I have ever seen standing over the food ensuring you don't take a morsel more than your allowance. Shades of Oliver "Please sir can I have some more" with enormous Mrs Bumble. The microphone blares out messages to every room, about breakfasts impending finish and the need to vacate the hostel at 9 am for three hours of closing. Why do we stay here? Its cheap else it would be empty.
22/4/98 Anything free is of good value, and of excellent value is the Mercedes Museum and factory tour. In three hours at the museum we discovered the first ever motorcycle, a vehicle purpose built purely to test a Daimler engine in 1885, the first motorcar, a three wheeled Daimler 1886, whose engine they ran for us, horseless buggies, racing cars that in 1909 could travel at 280 km/hr, more modern vehicles previously owned by the Pope, and another worth $4 million previously owned by Eva Peron and the first aeroplane to circumnavigate the globe. (It used a Mercedes engine). This selection only represents 75 vehicles of there 300 stored in Stuttgart. Then on to a more modern concept where a Mercedes car is created every 35 seconds, 24 hours a day, using 28 km of production line and thousands of robots. Robots assemble and weld all larger parts, precisely insert the dashboard and windows, including sunroofs, and move parts around the factory on trolleys guided by electric strips on the floor. Apart from maintenance, man only works with the smaller components and even here the robots are intruding.
23/4/98 I always thought Black Forest was that delicious chocolate cake but it is also an area in Southern Germany where the pine trees are so dark green and densely growing that underneath is almost black, hence black forest. The road here is so great for motorcyclists that they had to reduce the speed limit to 70 km /hr as motorcyclists were killing themselves in groups and in some places motorcycles are banned on Sundays from the roads because of their speeding and accidents with other vehicles. A good lesson for fear other councils will ban motorcycles in the area for the actions of a few idiots giving us a bad reputation. But the scenery was magnificent, typical German houses dotted amongst the bright green hills, with the dark green pines as a backdrop, on a rare bright sunny day of 23 degrees, perhaps spring has finally arrived.
24/4/98 The House of 1000 Clocks, well there are now three houses of that name, presumably all with 1000 cuckoo clocks in Triberg, the home of cuckoo clocks deep in the Black Forest. The road to the Swiss border is no less spectacular than yesterday, highway 500 over the mountain pass, snow still on the roadside and another new country.
Move with us to Switzerland
, or go to our next visit to Germany
Story and photos copyright ©
Peter and Kay Forwood,