I have arrived safely back in Germany at the home of my friends Gernot & Marlies, after wandering around Austria for a couple of days. Since I last wrote my adventure has gone like this:
Leaving Graz i still felt unwell but purchased some bland food and rode away. I had obtained a Motorrad Touring Map from the infocentre (in return for filling out their questionere) and decided to follow some of the winding lines on it. To this end I rode toward Deutschlandberg and then northwest to Judenburg before camping the night at Oberzeiring.
In the afternoon I stopped at Birkfield for a coffee and asked the waitress what purpose the little triangles sticking out of the roofs served. I had seen them all over Europe and wondered. She couldn´t explain so a man sitting nearby volunteered and in good English told me their purpose. Ask me when you see me next and I´ll tell you. He went on to ask if travelling in foreign language countries alone had been boring! "Not at all" I replied and explained that being alone helped me to meet people like himself. The language barrier is certainly frustrating, but hardly boring. After coffee I was back on the bike, the roads were great, not too much traffic (considering it´s summer) and I generally enjoyed the ride.
During the night I realised my new summer weight sleeping bag was not up to the standard required for alpine touring however, and froze as I lay in my tent. The fdamily in the next tent didn´t help when they came home late and talked loudly to each other in German for half an hour. Eventually though I got to sleep and in the morning strolled into the town center for a look around. Again a very small boutique village amongst farmland.
I now had all of Wednesday to roam in the mountains before heading north on Thursday. During the course of the afternnon I took one of the most interesting looking roads on the map and came top a boom gate where a lady demanded 7 Euro for me to proceed. I asked her to justify the fee and then come outside and take my photograph, before paying her and riding off up the spectacular mountian road known as the Nockalmstrabe. The mountains are not as high as in Switzerland but hold a softer beauty and are still very pleasant. the road is good and the traffic was bearable although busier than some of the lesser known roads nearby.
While in Graz I had visited the Apotheke (chemist) and noticed some earplugs made of a kind of putty on the counter. I bought a packet and used them the follwing day, finding them very good. I liked them so much I went back to the shop, bought two more packets and mailed them home. Well a couple of days later I was questioning the wisdom of that purchase. While removing the very effective plugs at the end of the day in Oberzeiring, half of one was left in my left ear. Therefore i spent two days and nights with one blocked ear. It was OK on the bike, great in fact, as I want to block my ears when riding.
By the Wednesday night however I had had enough and went to a doctor to see if he could remove the plug. Unfortunately he was too impatient and clumsy and only hurt my ear and pushed the plug in further before declaring he could not fixing it and taking 33 Euro from me. The ear sepecialist he sent me to the following day was not there, and I felt (was) generally ripped off. Furthermore my ear was still blocked!
I spent the night in a hotel in Mauterndorf, setting off early in the morning to meet the phantom ear specialist. When that fell through I asked Ken to guide me to Freising, taking the long way to see some more mountains.
Back into Germany I felt like I was coming home - the country flattened out and the motorway traffic multplied and sped up as I pushed the Ducati northwards. It was at least 350km over some slow, windy, traffic infested roads, before I reckognised the Isar river and saw again the Freising bahnhoff where I had arrived first nine years ago. it was very special to see a familiar face as Marlies came out to greet me and I put the bike into the garage before relaxing for a while.
This morning I went to a local ear doctor who removed thhe obstruction painlessly in seconds - after four days that was wonderful!
Today i will see some more of Freising on my latest mode of transport - the trusty pushbike. Gernot has toured much of Europe on this bike and I must admit i´m enjoying the relaxed pace for a day. I plan to stay here until tomorrow (Samstag) and then make a run for the south of France.
All the best.