31 March to 3 April 2019

Berlin

We used the next few days to finish the setup of Sigrid’s bike.

Bjoern and Klaus fixed the head bearing, the air filter, tightened the chain, changed spark plugs…. with almost no hiccups.

Meanwhile Sigrid helped Freya in the garden and was paid in strawberry cake… not a bad currency!

For some reason one of the lights at Freyas place wasn’t working right. Some investigation he found a nail which was probably the culprit…

A nail like that 😊

Bjoern doing magic 😉

And one evening we managed to see Erik!

We met him in Australia at a HU meeting after which he came and visited us in Adelaide for a bit. Great conversation and a great meal were had.

Did I mention food?

Freya – the incredible host she is – cooked Kassler and Sauerkraut for us the other day.

That was also suuuper yummy!

30/03/2019: Berlin
Km travelled today: 38

Weather: Sun shine, 21 degrees

Today we were planning to visit Manja and Simon at home.

Due to the late night we slept in! We hurried to get onto the red bike but still only managed to be there quite late, by which time Manja sent us a WhatsApp snap of “Grumpy Hungry Simon”. Seems he wanted breakfast 🙂

When we finally arrived they showed us their flat. It’s a small kitchen and a decent size living/bedroom which seems perfect for the two of them. They also have a good sized balcony which they’ll use as second room whenever the weather allows – like today 🙂

But first we were off to explore their neighbourhood. We walked through the lovely park, stopped at the lake seeing this great duck swimming there.

Great McDuck, Also known as a Mandarin Duck. … not to be confused with a Peking duck.

and then we had some goulash soup because that was what they had at the park cafe and Simon wanted “Breakfast”.  No idea why he would have breakfast so late 😂

More exploring, – a squirrel

then some cake – unfortunately with no picture – instead one of the peace bell

More exploring – this would be a great playground for Silas and Caspian!

After we left the park, we walked the “Kiez” a bit and explored the lovely shops in the side-streets.

After all this walking it was high time for a break, so we stopped to get some wine at this street party we happened to walk into.  Everything was already being picked up but the very jolly wine-maker was still going strong and happily serving.

We had never seen an American school bus in Berlin before…  But apparently they have these as party busses now!

Then we walked through the “Kiez” for a bit more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming past a curious sign reminding us of home right next to the

restaurant Snow-white with curious decoration. This on one the ceiling (the photo of the deer is not sideways!)

 

Here we’d meet with Vincent and Diana. We’ve known Vincent for a long time, back from when we lived here. Oh, and he’s now Simon’s boss 🙂
Isn’t it strange how life turns out sometimes?  
We had a really great evening together and on our way home we got to see Vincent’s electro Smart. What a great little car! And soo quiet!.. and too dark to take a picture… that’s our excuse and we’re sticking to it 😀

Date: 27/3/2019
Location: Berlin
Km ridden: 15

Buerocracy part 3 – the easy part

This morning we were too lazy for exercise. Our excuse was that Klaus picked us up early to drive us to Ludwigsfelde and register Bjoerns bike.

It was surprisingly straight forward this time! Maybe we are getting the hang of this whole German Bureaucracy thing?  Probably not, but we were done in less than an hour, leaving enough time to go shopping!

That meant that Sigrid scored a new motorcycle jacket and we got some spare parts before heading back to Mahlow for the evening.

 

Date: 28/3/2019
Location: Berlin
Km ridden: 15

Freya offered to take us along to try out a jumping class. It was great fun and super exhausting. We were so focussed that we forgot to take pictures during the class, but here we are at the gym as proof:

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To ensure balance, all this exercise called for a good breakfast which we had at a lovely bakery.

Freya then dropped us off at Klaus. We added the number plate – now with valid TÜV sticker – to Bjorns bike. Now we were ready for a test run, but weren’t sure where to go.  Eventually the test run led us to Gerlind, where we helped her move some stuff before heading to dinner at a nice Indian place nearby.

 

Date:29/3/2019
Location:Berlin
Km ridden: 15

The morning started with core exercises-back on track 🙂

With the exercise done, Bjoern went to Klaus to do some motorcycle maintenance for our upcoming journey. Sigrid stayed in Mahlow for some household chores. 

Then, during bike maintenance, disaster struck:

While changing the spark plug a plastic bit broke. Bjoern had no time to fix this because he had to be back for an outing we had planned with Freya.
He was not happy at all. After some back and forth, trying all sorts of things, Klaus pulled the proverbial rabbit out of a hat and managed to fix it.

A little stressed Bjoern headed back to Mahlow and managed to get himself cleaned up just in time for us to head out. 

Freya took us out for dinner at the “Villa Rixdorf” fantastic ambiance and great German food.

After a delicious dinner we headed to the “Theater Heimhafen Neuköln”, where we saw a very entertaining show called The Rixdorfer Perlen.

Date: 26/3/2019
Location: Berlin
Km ridden: 12

Klaus picked us up in early after we’d done our exercises – well at least the short version – again.

His car needed TÜV as well, so we dropped the car and all papers at the workshop and went ahead to explore the area Adlershof. We found the Johannistal Airportfield, now a nice biotop with rare plants.

Then we discovered the Trundelturm and wind channel, where, back in the 1930’s, to-scale model airplanes were filmed with high-speed cameras to investigate the cause, effect and correction of airplane “Trudeln” or Spiralling. 

Close by in the Engine testing station, we found a student cafe – cheap!- and had an interesting talk with the barista.

 

He originally studied to become a chemistry laboratory clerk, but changed his mind and is learning to be a tram driver. He informed us about history of the Motor test station and the trundle wind channel.

Another picture of the trundle wind channel, which used to be used to test the “trundling” of aircrafts.

 

Later we found the UNI Mensa where we had lunch with obstacles. All students had a card they used to get cheap lunches. Like pay-wave for food. For us that meant a choice of no lunch or obtaining of a guest card. We decided to get the guest cart – each of us needed one – and loaded them with a few Euros each in order to get our lunches. Said and done, we entered only to discover the caveat while working out the prices… Hmm not as cheap as we thought, all food had 2 prices: Student and Normal with Normal being not very cheap.  As guests, of course, the more expensive one was valid for us… ah well. The food was ok and in the end we could return the guest cards and got a little money back.

After walking around a bit we found a nice coffee shop with good looking cakes. We could not resist.

Just when finished we received the phone call that the bike and the car were ready for pickup, all done!

Unfortunately by now it was too late to go to the motor registration in Ludwigsfelde, we would do that tomorrow.

We finished the day at Klaus’ place watching some pictures and videos of his holidays.

Date: 25/3/2019
Location: Berlin
Km ridden: 10

 

It snowed!

Even in this weather, we still kept up with our sport by doing a short session with loads of burpees!  We’re 60-ish, and traveling, what’s your excuse? 😉

Freya drove us to the migration office to get Bjoerns visa extended…  Even though he has the strongest German accent in the family, he was the first Australian. Back when we moved to Australia, he bravely forfeited his German citizenship for an Australian one to give us certainty of residence.  

Luckily we were there at 11:50, so we still got a number. Sitting down we expected to be in and out in no time…however there is lunch… A nice official told us to get some lunch ourselves because we would only be seen after lunch – approximately 1 hour later… We waited in the cafeteria, then it was finally our turn. The actual application went without a hitch once we got in, and we were out in a flash. Now we just need to wait to get the visa.  Aaah, German bureaucracy. A game of patience and waiting. 

Directly after that we met up with Klaus to head to our friend Peters place where Bjoerns bike had spent the year. Being efficient, we employed 3 gps devices: Bjoerns, Sigrids and Klaus’…. all of them leading us up the garden path, almost literally.  We ended up on the wrong side of the Müggelsee.  After a scenic drive around the lake we ended up in a Forrest. For some reason Klaus didn’t want to continue that direction.  Eventually after a couple more turns we managed to find our way out and arrived at Peters place just before dark, about 1.5 hours later than intended.

Unpacking the bike was a great joy, no marks, no rust and with the battery reconnected it started straight away!

Ok by now it started to rain and Bjorn had to ride the bike in the rainy dark to the workshop where we needed to have it inspected for the TÜV: a necessity that needs to be done every 2 years to ascertain the roadworthiness of a vehicle.

Sigrid was worried, but despite her worries all went ok and we dropped off the bike before Klaus drove both of us home.

Date:22/03/2019
Location: Berlin-Kleinbeeren-Mahlow
KM ridden: 15

We took the bike to pick up our new SIM cards for our phones. Then we met for lunch at Freya’s, she had prepared a German chicken dish – Frikassee for us, yummy! The rest of the day we spent at Klaus and Connie’s, torturing them with showing them our photos.


Date:23/03/2019
Location: Berlin-Konigswusterhausen-Cottbus-Mahlow
KM ridden: 54

Today we got to meet Manjas (Simons girlfriend) family, so we headed over to Cottbus where they live 

We used the bike and a train. It was Manja’s mum’s birthday and we got to meet the whole family


Date:24/3/2019
Location: Berlin Mahlow-Blankensee
KM ridden: 54

Freya drove us around to visit Blankensee.

There we had lunch, then walked along the lake then went for coffee and cake! What a great day in crisp spring weather.

 

Date:21/03/2019
Location: Berlin-Kleinbeeren-Mahlow
KM ridden: 12

 

This morning we got up a bit later. We started with our gym session first in the room, then in the front garden.

Anne, our coach from EFM Flinders Park arranged a program for us we could follow when on the road.

 

Additionally we had started a new thing to stay healthy. A “5/2” health plan: 5 day normal eating, 2 days of diet where we eat only 500 cals a day.
Fasting day today! So we had muesli for breakfast…

We got the bike ready for the first outing and started to drive to Klaus.

One Proud Biker

After only a couple of meters a warning light turned on indicating that the back tyre did not have enough pressure. We stopped at the next petrol stations to pump up the tyres. What we didn’t remember was that the tyre pressure in Germany is measured in Bar not PSI so we pumped them up to a nominal value. We quickly noticed a second issue: the GPS wasn’t getting charged by the battery.

When we arrived at Klaus’s house, he was working on his Polo to get it ready for “TÜV”: A mandatory bi-annual vehicle safety inspection. As he was working, Bjoern took a look at the GPS issue. Seemed that the clamps had come loose, so he removed all clamps and soldered the contacts. While he was at is he re-wired the Spot tracker to the battery (The thing that makes our Map go and tells our family we’re okay) and closed the bike up.

In the evening we went back to Freyas and had fish for dinner, finishing off our fasting day.

Date:Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Location: Berlin Mahlow
KMs Ridden:0
So, to ride motorbikes around in Europe is somewhat of an administrative nightmare and, as we all know, Germany has administrative bureaucracy down to a fine art. One of our bikes was still registered, because we had lent it to our Son and kept the registration going.  The other had lapsed, so we had to get it re-registered. 

So today we had an early start and yummy Breakfast with Freya, before heading to the “Einwohnermeldamt” (Resident Registration office – it’s a thing in Germany!)  in Mahlow. Even though no one was in the queue in front of us, it took a while to register us as officially living in Germany.  And yes, we need to be officially registered at a current residence in Germany to attempt to register the bike.  So: Step one done! 

The second step was insurance. When we had finished at “Einwohnermeldamt” Freya dropped us off to Klaus who was going to drive to the insurance office with us to take out insurance for both bikes. With the official insurance documents in hand we rushed to the third and final part: the motor registration office. We arrived there just before 11:30. Just early enough to get Sigrid’s bike registered.  Success!

This is what success looks like. Also, our numberplate.

In the afternoon we attempted to get new sim cards for our phones to be reachable more easily – and affordably – in Europe. Turns out that it takes 2 days…  Did I mention German Bureaucracy? So we got the process started and we’ll pick them up on Friday.

 

Back at Freya’s place, Bjoern and Klaus put the battery into Sigrid’s bike and fitted the number plate.  The battery had been removed for storage, and it turns out the bike runs better with it.

Great! This was by far the fastest we ever had to get a bike registered and on the road! Practice, as they say, makes perfect. 

We are off again to another visit to Europe, this time we’ve planned to visit the more southern part then Morocco and Egypt. Here are now a few snaps

from the journey to Berlin.

Stop over on Doha airport

 

We will travel back to Europe in a few days to explore more of it. After returning to Australia October 2017 we bussied ourselfs with the grandchildren and family commitments.

In 2018 we travelled sans Blog to northern QLD. The intention was to reach Cape York , however we only got to 25 km out of Laura. There we both came off on the dirt road. Not thinking much of it we lifted up the bikes to survey the damage. After that it became apparent that Sigrid had sustained some more injuries than originally thought. A kind lady in pickup drove her back to Laura first aid station. From there she got air lifted with suspected spleen rupture.

Helicopter landing place where Sigrids helicopter landed

Bjorn and Sigrid having the first coffee together after the accident

The spleen rupture turned out to be a minor tear, so no operation was required. It did however hospitalise her in Cairns for a week.

Bjorn in the meantime had his hands full with getting the bikes out of the dirt and back to Cairns which he managed with the help of kind strangers and friends currently living up there. Repairs proved to be difficult. But after 4 weeks we were back on the road and returned home for a big family event-our son’s wedding.

The happy couple

The happy couple

This was followed by Bjorn reaching his 60 year milestone

and us planning a new trip ,which brings us to present days.🤗