FR Tour Slovenia Austria Germany Italy

September 2014

Part 4: From Germany to Austria

A beautiful early September morning finds me ready to leave Bavaria behind for Tirol Austria with mixed feelings. Sad to leave a bunch of nice guys behind, happy to meet a much older friend of mine later South of Innsbruck. Weather forecast makes the situation even more confusing. Heavy rain is expected ahead but too sunny and hot for my taste at my starting point to wear all my non breathable rain gear. I decide to risk it and leave the waterproof stuff in my luggage as I hate to sweat while I can tolerate a bit of wet me.

As I do my final check on the bike a local guy approaches me and looking at the "GR" of my bike's number plate he goes "GR??? where do you come from?" "Greenland" I respond. That cracked Melissa up. I kiss her goodbye and thank her for her hospitality and the fun we had during my stay at the hotel she works. I drive off watching her jealous eyes starring at my back through my right rear view mirror. Being a biker herself she was watching the number one thing she'd like to do at this moment instead of what she really had to do.

Weather conditions on my way to Tirol applauded my decision to not wear any rain gear, except only the last part reaching Innsbruck were I get some rain. As I wait for my friend and future host Axel to arrive, I take some birthday photos of my bike. It just turned 7!

On it's very first ride this bike went from Athens to Sounio, a week later on its first trip from Athens to North West Greece and later, as you already know if you follow me, its travelling career went sky high. I couldn't have a trustier companion in my adventures. Well deserved to spend its birthday on top places thousands of km away from home.

I call my friend Axel outside his house and he says "I'm there in 5 minutes" via the bluetooth of his helmet. He is returning from one more long trip but that's no surprise. Axel is an experienced busy motorcycle tour guide.

Funny that the first thing to see at a local restaurant we visit later at night is a Greek flag:

I ask how come but get no clear answer. The owner is not Greek though.

Next morning it's such a joy to see the weather forecast proven wrong. Contrary to the gloomy prognosis we are able to spend the whole day outdoors under Greek style heat and penetrating sun. First we pay a visit to the ski jump of Innsbruck which is a must and the view from the top is spectacular:

Funny thing though is that if you overdo your jump you go straight to the cemetery behind:

I manage to capture a couple of jumps:

After a couple of radlers we leave the place for a walk around the city of Innsbruck. One of the reasons it's among my favourite cities is it's beautiful old center:

We meet with Axel's fabulous friends and have a bunch of drinks together. Top guys. On our way to catch the train back home I see what could be a female duo band named "Vice Versa":

As if we didn't have enough alcohol during the day, Axel and I decide to have some more at a local bar in a much less warm night. After a couple of glasses Axel proposes me to visit a friend of his nearby. That leads me to an artistic place where we are welcomed by his friend Arno, with a warm smile that stayed on his face through the whole night. Feeling comfy enough as if we're old friends, I start talking about music so he decides to bring out a guitar from a case, an almost identical copy of the ones Santana usually plays. It had a great fretboard and felt really nice in my hands. I appreciate his move so the music chat goes on. I tell him "you know...the kind of music I like must have that groovy heart of Led Zeppelin, you know this fat meaty drums but also some exploratory progressive attitude." He smiles in agreement and tells me " You have to listen to Mother's Cake". I save the name on my phone to check it out later while Arno tells me more about that band, including the fact that since they were new local heroes at Tirol, Arno decided to make a mocking band with friends of his called "Father's Cake" with him as a singer. Singing was not his only talent though and his place made it quite obvious. Back at Axel's home we don't hesitate to fall asleep - especially me considering the long riding day I have tomorrow.

(At this point let me pause this travelogue to share with you a couple of facts: Arno left us shortly after and made it to the otherside. I was shocked to be among the first ones to learn his passing and rushed to inform Axel who couldn't believe an old friend of his was gone. Completely different but also intense shock I had when I first listened to Mother's Cake. They sound exactly what the band of my dreams would be like. Here's one of my most favourites:

R.I.P. Arno, thanks for all that great stuff.

Click below to continue: