Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
DAY 5 - Did you really say NO speed limit?
It was gradually becoming more difficult to wake up relatively early in the morning, as the long days on the bike were taking their toll…
We woke up at the Greek-infested hotel, had breakfast, and started planning the day.
We had little distance to cover, but Salzburg has many sights, both within the city and nearby. On top of that, we wanted to reach Bischofsmais by 19.00h, when the buffet and later the opening ceremony would take place. We decided to start with the town center and adjust the program on the go.
I managed to find my missing ignition key, which sat gloriously inside my tankbag, which I had turned upside down a thousand times last night (I had a spare anyway but still…), so we went through the usual loading of the bikes, and left for Salzburg.
We parked the bikes and secured our belongings with various patents, and walked towards the good staff, the old town.
The “Salt City”, named after its salt mines which used to be located to the south, is a lovely town. It is also the birthplace of Mozart so everywhere you look you see Mozart-shaped things: Chocolates, key holders, stickers you name it. I bet they have Mozart-shaped condoms but I didn’t bother to ask…
Mozart used to play the organ in this very church until the age of 17 (from probably before he was born, those geniuses get on my nerves )
One can pay and tour around the old city by horse carriages, the only problem is the "emissions", which turn some road into minefields..
The old town is well preserved, and is ideal for relaxing walks, souvenir shopping and Mozart-related trivia. We found out that there is a lazy way to get to the castle, a nice rail lift, which costs about 10 euros for a return ticket. We had to conserve energy for the trip ahead (a good excuse to be lazy), so we decided to do just that.
We got to the top (fantastic view), and sat at the café-restaurant for a coffee/beer.. I didn’t catch the name, but they served a wonderful smoked beer up there, make sure to check it out if you ever go there (I will add a special beer section later on, I believe I have a good audience for that topic in here…).
We visited the castle which had a wonderful torture tools collection among other interesting stuff… I thought I’d get my wife one of these but they didn’t have her size…
How you doing?
We returned to the town, sat for a sausage snack (always sample the local specialties, I say), and realized that the salt mines were out of the question, we will have to wait until our next visit to see that. Thankfully Salzburg is a central passing point so I’m hoping I’ll go there again soon…
Oh, there was a vintage car race taking place that day:
We returned to our bikes, geared up, and left for Germany.
Once again, the gps and the different colored road signs were the only way to realize that we had entered a new country (Yani, the other capo rider, thought we were still in Austria even 120kms past the “border”).
We stopped at a small village for a quick coffee (Yani: we are in Germany already?).
I had the funniest conversation with a German biker who didn’t speak any English:
-Gesture -> “bike”, “twist of the throttle”, “thumb up”?
- Yaa, “twist of the throttle”*2, sound “vrrrm, vrrrrm”, Gooot yaa!
- “wave bye bye”, “thumb up”, gesture “long way”
- “wave bye bye”, “thumb up”
We could talk for hours like this…
Back on the road, we reach our first autobahn section, for only 20kms. I have IGO8 on my gps, and I have it show on the left lower corner the remaining distance, the altitude and the current speed limit. I was wondering how “no speed limit” would show, it turns out it simply blanks out, and the speed limit field is suddenly empty.
Party time!! The truth is that there IS a speed limit of 120 when it rains, and there are signs indicating that, at the moment it’s not raining so it’s time to step on it… It’s very expensive to go really fast on the autobahn because someone will always be slowing you down, as they change lane to overpass other traffic. So you go to 200, then down to 100, then 210, back to 80 (trucks overpass too), then 190, and so on. Needless to say all that slowing down and accelerating increases consumption but, who cares for that, the bloody road has no speed limit!! It is very rare to manage to stay above 200km/h for long periods because of that fact. Even like this, the 20kms are gone before you know it, and we (the two capos) stop at the side and wait for the transalps (this will be our downfall tomorrow)… Whatever the deal, the German autobahn is still the only place on the planet (except for race tracks) where you can LEGALY have the time of your life with a set of quick wheels, and the capo falls into that category…
We finally reach Bischofsmais, we go to the “rezeption”, get our keys, and hit the buffet immediately with ferociousness… It’s starting to rain lightly as we go back to the main building’s large balcony for beer and catching up with the others.
A little later, we are guided at the “campfire”, where the Germans have prepared a little opening ceremony, to get things started. Personally I leave a couple of minutes later because I’m starting to feel like I’m in church camp…
I head to our accommodation with Yani (the capo one), unload the damn luggage (by now its “damn luggage”, notice the climax?), and start unpacking. Teo (the TA650 guy, or “old fart” for short) joins us a little later and we have some small talk before hitting the bed…
Another day comes at an end, and tomorrow we’re headed for an extra autobahn dose, plus a burned regulator… Stay tuned!!