Friday 10.8.2012 550km Total:2610km
We got up early to get a head start on what will most likely be the longest leg of the trip.
But we weren't in more of a hurry that we'd miss the gift shop at the Nürburgring ring visitor centre because it was closed yesterday.
After spending way to much on stickers and t-shirts we rode on to the Autobahn.
Doing 550kms whereof the absolute majority of them on the Autobahn will not go down as a very memorable motorcycling experience.
The weather was great though and there where no real incidents although it did happen a couple of times that the traffic went from 140km/h+ to a standstill because of some sort of pileup.
At one of those occasions I was pretty sure I was going to kick the bucket because as per usual the traffic is just completely blocked and it comes right out of nowhere.
And this time it happened just as I was overtaking another vehicle while so closely tailgated by a Passat that he could have cleaned my number plate with his windows washers.
That the Tigers front brakes where up for the task I was pretty confident of, whether or not I was to become a hood ornament on the Passat was still to be determined.
But yet again the German driving skills impress because everyone comes to a standstill in good order.
At the end of the day the Bear gets a bit of a shock when we after a while idling in a cue at the outside of town we head into a petrol station and his bike just starts pissing out coolant.
He quickly determines that it probably just a bit of excess coolant in the tank (it wasn't, but more about that later) so we venture on.
At about the same time I realize that I've lost one of the screws for the left hand protector so I guess both the bikes put up a bit of a complaint about todays leg of the journey.
We arrive at the hotel at about 8.30PM pretty beat, keeping full and absolute focus for over 500kms takes its toll more even worse than we'd anticipated so we don't have any grander plans for the evening than a shower and a bite to eat.
On our way to the restaurant we're met by a string concerto right on the street, that's the classiest street musicians I've seen yet!
We eat at Café und Restaurang am Mariannenplatz with one the most spectacular views I've ever had over a meal, right by the town hall which is pretty much architectural pornography.
I got a bit of an energy boost from the meal so I went out for a bit of exploring while the Bear went back to the hotel.
Saturday 11.8.2012 0km
We decided that we'd go on a guided tour to Dachau.
A knowledgeable English speaking gentleman (who was actually a French-Tunisian) guided us around the Nazis first concentration camp.
An experience which I think was just as educational as it was overwhelming and unpleasant.
The fact that man is capable of this kind of cruelty is really hard to take in, to say that I was quite shaken by the seriousness of the moment is quite the understatement.
When we got to the end of the tour and arrived at a wall that says "never again" I had to step aside for a moment to collect myself because I was almost overcome by the horror of it all and I'm man enough to say that at that point I had to fight back tears.
It's probably the worst experience I've had that I would ever recommend anyone else to do.
The visit did put a bit of a damper on the rest of the day so neither one of us was really up for hitting the beer halls when we got back to town.
Instead we got a bite to eat at Agustiner am Mariannenplatz and went walkabout around town which took us by one of Jennifer's (a German girl we met in Egypt) recommendations: Viktualienmarkt.
It's permanent marketplace in the middle of town that sells everything from lederhosen to fresh blueberries.
As I don't really have the legs for lederhosen I opted for irresponsible amounts of blueberries which I devoured until I looked like a Smurf.
After that we go to a small island/park called Praterinsel which is a nice oasis in the middle of town, our main destination was actually Englisher Garten which is a gigantic park at the outskirts of town.
Obviously enormously popular with natives and tourists alike since there was hardly a square meter of grass where there weren't a ball being kicked around, someone sunbathing or just basically chilling out.
We found our way back to the city centre with just a small detour to Theatinenerkirche.
Just like almost everything else (or at lest 88% of the town) it was blown to smithereens during the war but restored to original and immaculate condition.
While we sat there taking in it in an old lady that judging by her accent had emigrated to America explained to what I can only assume was her grandchild that she remembers this church from when she visited it as a child.
I don't know if she realized it herself but it actually isn't the same building at all but it goes to show the painstaking attention to detail that went into the restoration of the church and indeed the rest of the town after the war.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at an ice cream parlour where the Bear had the mother of all ice ceams while I had a "waffel mit schokolade" with a cup of hazel nut chocolate that was so thick that I had to scoop up the last of it with the spoon.
Had I waited until it cooled it think I could have eaten the whole thing that way alternatevly poured out a cup-shaped piece of chocolate.
After the sugar shock we headed back to base camp.
Sunday 12.8.2012 350km Total:2960km
The day starts out less than optimal with me almost ramming a police cruiser in a roundabout.
In my defense the lane marking was some sort of dotted rocks which I managed to miss completely until I had my whole rearview full of "Polizei".
The took it surprisingly well and just drove past in good order when I had managed to get my shit together.
We had read and heard all sorts of warnings about the German police before we started going here, that they would be strict as hell and seize the bike if you have a race exhaust until you get the OEM shipped and fitted and so on.
So far I've overtaken the police at speeds above the limit and I've almost rammed them and have suffered no consequences so I think they may have an undeserved rep.
And so far I don't think I've seen a single German bike without an open exhaust.
After the usual pileups on the Autobahn (I'm starting to understand why they have to drive like a bat out of hell when you actually can move considering how often it's at a standstill) we snaked our way up fantastic roads up towards Eagles nest.
On site we find the restaurant and order food straight away, the way it usually goes we are weak and starving by the time we get something to eat which is a habit we're trying to break.
Lacking imagination I order a hamburger and you've guessed it: a weissbier.
Since we'd be riding again soon enough I had a non-alcoholic.
It tasted like I'd opened a pack of yeast and taken a bite.
I've had low or non alcohol beers that have been alright but this was the worst excuse for a beer I've ever had.
Already going up the view was spectacular and it definitely didn't get worse, it was magnificent.
I had an image painted in my head of how it was going to look up there based on the old journal footage I've seen on tv and it didn't look like that at all.
They've remade the whole thing into a restaurant and I understand them, no one (in their right mind) really wants a Hitler memorial.
And with that view they could have put a bouncy castle on top and it really wouldn't have spoiled the experience.
Since we already realized we'd not manage Italy and Slovenia on this trip it was really about time to start heading back in the homewards direction but we still wanted to do Grossglockner because of the praise it got from the Brits we met at the ring.
We got there a bit lat but we at least got to ride half the pass in bright sunshine and it was grand, both the riding and the scenery.
It was twisties that almost unscrewed my head.
We got to "bikers point" on the Edelweiss peak on a road that was so exciting that Bears bike pissed itself (again).
The Bear didn't think much of it by now as it wasn't any alarming volumes so he decided he'd top it up later so we could ride on.
Because we really needed to, the sky was darkening at an alarming pace and in just ten minutes someone turned the knob to half-light.
We wanted to see the glacier on the other side of the pass so we ride on.
On the other side we stop at where the glacier should be and dismount looking up at the mountains.
By now it's completely and totally pitch black.
Me: Do you see that white stuff way over there surrounded by black stuff?
Me: Must be the glacier.
Bear: Must be.
Me: You good.
Bear: I'm good.
So I think we can say we've seen it but I can say we've really seen it.
Since we would be heading north from here we didn't really want to spend the night on the wrong side of the pass, not least because that would be mean another pass fee (2x€22) so we needed to haul ass to get back and clear of the pass before they closed it for the night.
It was an exciting ride with the surrounding mountains and the dark clouds like a lid on top, I've never ridden in such compact darkness in my life.
By now are we not only slowly starving of hunger we are also in a real hurry to find accommodation for the night.
The time is rapidly approaching 10PM when most receptions close and finding a place with round-the-clock reception here did not seem likely.
We ride into the first place we find after riding out of the pass but unfortunately they were fully booked.
We're luckier at the next place, with 5 minutes to spare until the 10PM deadline we get a room at Landgasthof Wasserfall.
It felt like a bargain at €70 and we managed to negotiate a couple of toasties as well it was wunderbar.
When I asked the waiter if they had weissbier he just cleared his throat and looked up, I was standing under a colossal parasol with "weissbier" written all over it, I guess I'd lost a bit of focus by then.
They also asked us if we wanted to haul in our gear before eating to which the Bear swiftly answered yes whereby I said (or probably more like growled) a few choice words that weren't very friendly that at this point my stomach negotiates with no man.
Conclusion: Fatigue and hunger don't make for either great conversation or social skills.
With a stomach full of toasties and beer we booked our next stay in Vienna.
Bears film from Kehlsteinhaus
Bear films the view from Bikers Point