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:
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: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 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
This was followed by Bjorn reaching his 60 year milestone
and us planning a new trip ,which brings us to present days.🤗
Date: 18 – 23/09/2017 From/To: Prague – Venice Distance: 195 Km Total Distance: 16066 Km Weather: Cold, Drizzle, Rain, Windy Road: Paved
We said good bye to our host Blanca. She had to go to work and we started to pack our bikes.
The weather forecast was predicting rain, so we put our rain gear on, just in case.
It didn’t rain, but it was cold. On the way we found the ‘Motorest U Dubu – E 55’ restaurant, so we stopped and had some nice lunch.
Not long after we arrived in Austria, problem was now to find where the vignette- Required as proof for maud payment were sold. You need the vignette to travel on the Austria highways. Normally you can buy them at the patrol stations, but there were no petrol stations after the Czechian border. No surprise, comparing the petrol price in both countries. Anyway, it took us an hour to find a petrol station that sold the vignette, and another 30min before we found a petrol station that sell the vignette for motorcycles J
In the evening it started to rain, so we stopped in ‘Eben im Pongau ‘ looked for an accommodation. We found a nice hotel but the weather forecast for the next day was dim. Rain thew hole day, from Eben to Venice. When we started the next morning it was raining, the temperature was around 5 degrees. The snow line was dropped over night to 1000m , so we started to see white trees left and right from the highway and the temperature dropped to +0.5 degrees. Lucky there was no ice on the highway.
The rest of the right was as expected, rainy. We arrived in Cavallino, a peninsula in front of the Venice.
The next day the rain stopped and the sun started to come out. From our hotel we could see the mountains close by.
At night we had some sea food platter in a nice restaurante nearby.
The after was the day, we went to Venice using the public transport. Here some pictures approaching Venice with the ferry.
Below a picture of the famous sigh bridge-Ponte dei Sospiri .
Below you can see a prisoners hand, the last time before he went to the prison cell …, or it might be a tourist J.
And here is a picture from the famous ‘Piazza San Marco’ and the clock tower.
It started to get flooded, as it does twice a day. On the right picture you can see the water rising.
Here is a closer picture from the St. Marks Basilica.
I liked the channels, here particular with the reflection of the house in the canal.
Sigrid had to feel if the water is cold… it was. J
The pictures below from our way to the Rialto Bridge.
And here it is, the Rialto Bridge. On the left hand side you can see the middle of the bridge with shops and on the right hand side the outer stairs.
The mandoatory picture of us on the rialto bridge.
In Venice there are no roads, so the parcel delivery is done with boats and from here on a sack truck by foot. The right picture shows the garbage collection points. Here comes the garbage boat and picks up the rubbish and recycling material.
Some customer got wet feet when having dinner when the high tide started to come in.
And there was the house with the hands rising out of the water. It is a statement of the climate change impact and the rising sea level effecting Venice. The hands meant to support the side of the building.
The end of the fish marked, the left over fish was donated to the seagulls J
Just some building on the canale grande.
Narrow streets in Venice.
Some more canals.
And a dead end, we have to go back J
The old house facade was expose, it looked more impressive then the new one. And Sigrid with the lion on the ‘Piazza San Marco’
After so much walking, we sat down on a nice coffee at a channel. The weather was just perfect.
And we decided to have a gondola tour.
Here we are just passing the sigh bridge, and on the right gondola traffic jam.
At the end of our gondola trip we went up the ‘St Mark’s Campanile’, actually… we use the lift J. The view was stunning, particular at the end of the day. Below are some pictures from the top.
After all that hard work we sat down and had a glas of wine, as a finish of a marvellous day.
On our ferry trip back I saw metal Rino in a park.
Sunset at the harbour, when waiting for the bus.
Tomorrow we will start our way back to Berlin, maybe with a short detour over the Garda See.
Date: 14-17/09/2017 From/To: Dubrauke – Prague Distance: 195 Km Total Distance: 16066 Km Weather: Cold, Drizzle, Warm, Sunny Road: Paved
We left Dubrauke in the afternoon, after Marion left for her physio therapy. It started drizzling on the way (we have our personally cloud) but it stopped when we arrived in Prague. Here we had our first traffic jam for a long time. We were greeted by Blanca on arrival at the booked accommodation. There was a pool and a hot tub to relax. I didn’t feel that well (got Sigrid’s stomach bug), so we deferred the hot tub session.
The next day we explored Prague. There was a subway- the train, not the restaurant..- close by, so we hopped on it and arrived in the city within 15 min. Since we didn’t have a map, we just guessed the direction and stumbled over a small marked with all sorts of art and food.
After we found the tourist information, we had a map and some directions. First we looked at the old town hall with the astronomical clock build at the beginning of the 15th century. The clock has two dials, one showing the position of the sun and moon and other astronomical details, the other is a calender dial, representing the month. Each hour, there is “The Walk of the Apostles”, a clockwork showing the figures of the Apostles. By chance we were there right at 12:00, as you can see there was a large crowd to see the ‘Walk of the Aposteles’.
Unfortunatelly they renovated the town hall so we couldn’t appreciate it. Anyway, there is the picture from both of us in front of the old town hall and the old town square.
On the square was as well the ‘Church of Our Lady before Týn’ (I love wiki). I took the pictures only of the small spires, because they look like out of a cindarella movie.
We found wonderful restored houses walking through the old town
Sigrid found a devil and had to hold it on his horns
We found the fireman sculpture rescuing a victim from fire. I it was at the top of house
When we enquired in the tourist office if there were free guided tours in Prague, we meet Jan. He was very friendly and knowledgable. He just returned from China, so we spend quite a bit of time in the tourist office to talk about Prague and the possibility of traveling on our own through China. .
From here we walked to the Charles Bridge, well that was the plan. We must have turned somewhere too early; we ended up at this monument, which looked rather interesting.
From there we could take a picture of the Charles Bridge from the side.
This is the bridge tower, the entrance to the Charles Bridge.
On the Charles Bridge there are a lot of sculptures, each is fascinating on its own right.
This is the other side of the bridge, the entrance to the little city.
Uphill from the little city, there is the Prague Castle
The Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world. It is more a castle complex, with a cathedral inside. You can see the tower over the top of the main gate.
The cathedral and one of the gargolyes.
Looking a bit closer shows how much work is put into all the details
Here is the cathedral from the side with the St.Vitus tower, which can be climbed-We’ll leave that for another day….
On our way back we realised how deep the subway goes, the escalator was long and steep.
The next day we took the tram to the city when we came across this lightning rod on a car park. It was in the middle of a staircase. I would use the elevator instead of the staircase J
Back in the old city we noticed at one house some windows only painted J
We came across this restaurant where you eat in middle age style, no forks and knives, use only the hands.
Back in the castle we visited the church treasury; it is one of the most extensive treasuries in Europe. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures. There was at least one guard in each room who was watching you. So the only picture is Sigrid at the entrance. I was impressed by the craftsmanship of the 10th century.
We thought we need some exercise after so much culture, so we climbed the ‘Great Tower’.
At the top we were exhausted, but the view was worth it. On the left is the view down to the square and a bit of the ‘Little Town’ and on the right both towers of the cathedral.
A view over Prague with it bridges.
On our way we found again an Irish Pub J But we didn’t go in, there was still too much to visit J
We hopped onto the ‘Funicular Railway‘ to get onto the top of the ‘Petrin Hill’ were a small Eifel Tower is located.
Here is the tower from the bottom. We didn’t climb up since we already had a great view over the city earlier in the day
Next we went to the other side of town, to the ‘Krizikova Fountain‘. The fountains are located in a park and they have a show to different types of music. Since it started to get cold, we picked the earliest show, it was classical music. Below you can see the setup before the show.
I liked the idea to use water as a screen and projects short movie scenes on it. This reminded us at the ‘Bellagio’ in Las Vegas.
The following pictures are from our way back as we passed a brigde. The buildings looked nice, I liked the purple towerJ
And the Prague Castle at night.
Tomorrow we pack up and leave for Venice. Apparently it should be warmer there -we shall see…
Date: 11- 13/09/2017 From/To: Przewloka – Dubrauke Distance: 719 Km Total Distance: 15871 Km Weather: Sunny Road: Paved
During our ride from Andrew to Dubrauke, the GPS started to play up. After 150km it showed roads which didn’t exist and was consistently recalculating. I realise that the scope has changed and the GPS used the world map as back up. So I used the GPS as an direction indicator, which didn’t work so well when going through a major town. At the end we managed and stopped on a ‘Windmill hotel’. The interior was down my alley, in the eating area there were some water basins, with small waterfalls and in the hallway were some tables with china on the ceiling, were the cups had some bulbs in them and were the actually lights.
Two days later we arrived at Marion’s and Pitschl’s place. Marion just has started her REHA for her new knee replacement, but she organized to have a day off. When we arrived, she was just having a training run on the road and was surprised when two motorcycles pulled up close to her. Here is the first picture with Pitschl, Sigrid, Rico and Marion.
Not long after, Anke arrived with here daugther Tara-Marie.
Marion and Pitschel had organized dinner for us, so we had dinner together before we continued to talk. By this time, Katia was waking up, she had night shift and was sleeping all day. I hope we didn’t disturbe her sleep too much. Here is a picture of them both with Sigrid.
And here is the youngest member of the Förster family and we convinced Anke’s Sohn to sit on the bike.
And here is a group picutre with everbody who was visiting this day.
We were talking for a long time and looked at some pictures from Marions and Pitschls travel. They traveled a lot in Europa and gave us some ideas.
The next morning Marion had to go to her Reha, so we waited with her for the pickup.
After Marion has left, we packed up the bikes and made our way to Prague.
Date: 09- 10/09/2017 From/To: Vilnius – Przewloka Distance: 501 Km Total Distance: 15152 Km Weather: Sunny Road: Paved
We left Vilnius relatively early and had lunch break just before the border. There was a Doener shop, with American touch. The interior was like an old American Dinner and opposite was an old American school bus parked. We enjoyed the little break and continued to the border.
Well, I passed the sign but Sigrid stop just in time, so I turned around and could take the border shot (no, nothing to drink).
The next stop was at a road house. Sigrid mentioned it on her Facebook, what is missing here. Well it’s not that my ice is bigger than Sigrid’s, and the bikes are not parked in the shop and we are outside, no, we didn’t wear raingear at all and instead of having a hot drink we had iceceam J
At the evening we arrived at the Village Andrew was living in, he picked us up from the chapel and guided us home. The right picture is a bit short, Andrew is on the left hand side, just outside the picture J
Next day we visited with Andrew his home church, quite interesting. It is in an imarcular condition. We witnessed a service, and the church was so full that people were standing during the whole service.
After visiting the church, we had lunch and picked Margaret up from the bus stop. She had visited her Mother first before she joined Andrew. On Andrews farm is still a well, here is Sigrid trying to fetch some water without getting knocked unconcious.
After a short rest we visitd the part of forest that belongs to Andrew. He had the exact measurment, so we counted the step and found his section. During the walk we talked about what to do with the forest. Wood harvesting is the obvious answer, but I wouldn’d have a clou how to do it, so Andrew explained how he has done it hundreds of times with his dad. I was keen to participate in it, unfortunatelly harvest time is in January/February, so at this time we will be at home in Australia.
Andrew pointing out a field that belongs to him as well. Back home Andrew started a BBQ and we had some meat and some ‘Moonshine’. Well the night was long, and the morning too early.
The next morning we packed ‘slowly’ our bikes, said quitely good bye to Margaret and Andrew and left ‘slowly’ J
Date: 07- 08/09/2017 From/To: Riga – Vilnius Distance: 295 Km Total Distance: 14651 Km Weather: Sunny Road: Paved
We found a spot to stop on the border.
The ride into Vilnius was much nicer as Riga, it seemed to be more wellcoming and the drivers seemed to be less stressed. We arrived at the booked accommodation and our host gave us some hints what to see and some nice traditional restaurants.
Since there was still daylight, we had a brief walk to the edge of the old town. Sigrid started to feel unwell, she must have gotten a stomach bug. Close to our accommodation we found an Easter egg sculpture. It signifies the restoration and revival of this part of the Old Town.
We had a look around and found a couple of old churches. Since we didn’t had a guide, we wouldn’t have any information about them, but still the looked quite nice.
The next day we organize a map and off we went. First we found the ‘Oldtown’ pub, it seems to be a pub for bachalor parties J
We had a guide now, so at least we could look up the churches we came across. Here are some pictures of the ‘Church of St. Casimir’, the first and the oldest baroque church in Vilnius.
Some street with nicly restored houses and some art on he side of the road.
At lunch we went to one of the recommended restaurants. Sigrid ordered a soup, I liked the plate it was served inJ. When finished with the soup, eat the dish J
And there was some pork with beet root and some cabbage, it tasted quite good particular the crackling.
After lunch we went to the ‘Cathedral Square’, where most of the attractions were located. On the left is a picture of the ‘Bell Tower’ and on the right the main entrance of the ‘Cathedral’
There was an option to climb the bell tower, so we did. On one of the level there were bells hanging with a clople to play with them. Sigrid couldn’t resist, well I couldn’t either, but there are no pictures of me J. The small bell on the rigth if from the 15th Century. On the right is the view up into the bell tower. This is the wooden structure we would walk up.
Here are the wooden framework form the top. You can see the bells on the top and right of the picture. To put it in perspective, these bells were around half a tone each. The biggest bell did weigh more then 1.5 tones.
The view from the top was great. We could the square and the castle..
The old clock work was still there and the small bell, which rung every quarter of an hour.
Next we had a look inside the cathedral. It was quite impressive, but we had seen so many beautiful churches, that it started to feel a bit like same old, same olde.
Next we had a look at the ‘Vilnius upper castle’, which included a steep incline.
Th view from the top was better then from the bell tower. The tower is on the right picture.
We could see the ‘Church of St. Anne’, which is one of the most intersting Gothic churches in Lithuania. Our accomodation was close to the Vilnius Choral Synagogue, which we could see from here. From here we could even see where our accomodation was
And Sigird dicovered the Vilan and by zooming in with the camerea, there is a coffee shop at the river.
So we went down and were headding straight to the coffee, were sitting in the sun and had some ice cream. There we were sitting for a while, enjoying the sun.
After it started to get a bit cooler, we walked home. Passing a carpark, that was covered with a screen with pictures from waterfall.
And we saw some rings hanging under a bridge, not sure if this was art or had some other functions. During the time we tried to figure out what the rings were, a Wiking boat was passing by J, looks like a boat tour on the Vilna.
And here Sigrid got framed J
Well, we forgot the map at our accomodation, and as it turned out, I made some additional sight seeing on our way home. I thought we had to visit the ‘Gate of Dawn’. As you can see, we made it and it was sort of on our way J.
Tomorrow we will leave for Poland, to visit our Australian neighbour at his farm in Poland.
Date: 04 – 06/09/2017 From/To: Tallinn – Riga Distance: 310 Km Total Distance: 14356 Km Weather: Cloudy, Sunny Road: Paved
Today we head for Riga, the capital of Latvia. Below you can see the border between Estonia and Latvia, which was single lane traffic, since they tried to extend the highway.
Riga is a big city and we felt it as soon we entered it. The traffic was hectic and people were quite pushy. At our accomodation we were welcomed by our host and could park the bike on the property in front of the flat. That was great since we didn’t have to carry all the luggage upstairs.
After we settled in, we walked towards the old city. Since it was late, we just walked to the train station and back.
On the way we found these two nice shops. One was a bakery and the second one a game café, with exceptional cocktails, as we were assured by some young guys when we took a picture of the sign.
Below are just a couple of pictures taken by nicely restored houses.
The next day we walked up the old town, got to the tourist office and followed the yellow brick road J, a maped out walked where we would see most of the Riga inner City attractions. Below some pictures takes of the old town.
We were surprised to find so much german heritage. Some house have german verses over the entrance.
The ‘Balsam’ is a type of ‘Schnaps’, I would say similar to ‘Jaegermeister’. And again, some traces of German in Riga.
These are beautiful restored houses.
And here is the ‘Freedom Monument’. It symbolises the suffering of the Latvian people on the way to freedom.
Below is the famous ‘House of the Blackheads’ which was currently under reconstruction, so they hang a screen with a picture in front of the building side. These houses were errected in the beginning of the 14th Century, and got demolished during the second world war, but were now reconstructed.
Below is Sigrid with her famous dress (would fit with the chariot from St. Petersburg:-)
Below some more impressive buildings.
And we found a playground with sculptures of a small dragon and an amadillo, which Sigrid tried to pull back J
And here is Sigrid, checking that the playground is also fit for heavy children.
The ‘Key of Riga’ was just a nice restaurant close to the market square. On the right hand side is the marked square with an old fire engine that had a sort of Flower Power painting at the back.
And there was the knitting shop, there was everything nitted. I guess if you stay to long there, you would be knitted in, as you can see happened to the horse.
There is a monument for the ‘1991 Barricades’. In 1991 the Baltic states fought for independence, in Riga they protected strategic important buildings with barricades.
Here are the three brothers, it is the oldest building complex in Riga (15th …17th century)
And here is the ‘Big Christopher’. By a legent, he was the founder of Riga.
The Big Christopher was on the ‘Daugava’, so Sigrid couldn’t resist and had to feel the temperature. At the back you can see the modern Riga with some fency buildings.
Beeing after Lunch time, we had a look for something nice, so we found a restaurante in the cellar. Sigrid is trying a traditional (colourful) soup. J
And after lunch we found that sign, so we couldn’t resist. It was so romantic that I forgot to take pictures from the inside. I can only say, it is worth it J
On our way home we found some more town walls and Gate towers.
Walking through the park we found a larger group of people shouting. When we looked a bit closer, we saw that they watch a basketball game, and were supporting the Letvian national team.
Sgirid posing with with a french guy J
The sculpture of Barcley de Toley, he was the invetor of the scorched earthpolic, which was important to Napoleons defeat.
Some more nice churches, each of them is amazing in its own rights, but after so many churches, they start to look all the same, still beautiful.
This would be a cheaper accomodation J. Really, it is opposite of our accomodation, seems that the insurance is dragging their feeds, it was burned before 2011 (first google street picture).
This is our accomodation, just at the back of the park.
In the park, close to the fountain and some pokemon gyms, there was a nice coffee, which had a great pavlova and coffee wih authentic Latvian Balsam J