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  • Mike Axe

Balkan Odyssey, final post.

Last post. Crossed into Austria and bought vignette for 5.20. Austrian roads in very good condition with long sweeping bends to keep it interesting. Found great campsite run by Sonia and husband. You help yourself in the bar and write down what you take then pay at the end. Into Germany where you need to be very careful on Autobahns where there is no upper speed limit on many sections, drivers come up very fast so you need to watch the rear view very carefully or you get a Porsche up your exhaust. Got to Munich in one piece and found bash plate on my bike was hanging off so a quick repair with wire did the trick. I also needed some minor surgery to remove a deep rooted thorn in my side with Alf holding the magnifying glass and Ian wielding the knife. The scar won’t be too big A visit to Dachau concentration camp memorial was a sobering experience. Much of the original camp is still intact and the film clips and photos showing actual events could be positioned exactly. It was a bright sunny day so it seemed hard to believe that these events took place in this place. We must not forget that this could happen anywhere, not just in Germany. On the ride north we stopped at a ‘feng shui’ restaurant (the food tasted the same) where they had a self cleaning toilet which rotated and brushed off prior to sitting down (no need to hover girls). There were lots of roadworks on the autobahns, increasing the number of lanes, which caused large tailbacks but most drivers were pretty good and it was like Moses parting the waves riding through. Camped at Walldorf Astoria and caught up on washing etc. this was a good hub for visits to some good local attractions. A visit to Hockenheim race circuit was very good, we had a visit to the race museum and a tour of the facilities including pits and podium followed by a lap. We were ejected from the outside of the circuit at the Jim Clark memorial because we rode up a cycle track and the Gestapo said we must leave NOW! We also visited the Technical museums at Sinsheim and Speyer, both very similar with Sinsheim having a Concorde and the Russian TU144 (Concordski) on the roof amongst many other aircraft and Speyer having a Jumbo Jet mounted on its roof. The museums contained WW2 German vehicles, American cars, motorbikes, trains and a submarine, some boats, jet engines and loads of other stuff. Fantastic places and well worth a visit. Last leg from Walldorf to Liege started well but then ran into heavy rain on a road with no services for a very long way. Near Francorchamps we decided to tough it out and ride straight in. Met rest of Festers tours at Liege after a run of 5,450 miles, 17 countries and 37 days, during which Ian lost a woolly hat, a pair of crocs, a pair of glasses and Alf lost the feeling in his bum! We nearly lost my camera, Ian’s wallet and watch and an electric cable. We found a Razor, a bottle of baby shampoo, a cooking stove and gas cylinder, washing powder (x2) and a handkerchief. Signing off at the end of another great trip. Mike.

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