Monday, August 24, 2009

Willkommen nach Heidelberg


Knopf Motorcycle Services in Heidelberg GermanyI woke up to the sound of traffic. I wanted to sleep a little longer but it wasn't a possibility. After being pulled over by the police for the second time I decided to call it quits for the night and find a place to bunk. I knew I wasn't going to find a hotel or a camp sight in the dark so I just parked my bike out of the way and walked into the farmers field adjacent to the gas station. I found a decent spot under a tree. I didn't bother setting up a tent because I didn't want to be too conspicuous. I just put on a sweater and climbed into my sleeping bag and used my duffel as a pillow. The cold weather woke me up so I put on a toque (Canadian for knitted hat) and fell back asleep.

It was warm out and I woke up in a sweat. I was absolutely ravenous so I grabbed out my tucker bag (Australian for food holding bag) and started eating the contents furiously. I had filled it with breads and cheeses from the continental breakfasts I had attended during the trip but what I really needed was a coffee so I walked over to the gas station and put some money into the Nescafe Machine. This would be the closest thing I would have to a coffee for the rest of the trip.

It was beautiful and warm out and my motorcycle started right away. I tied all my belongings on and started down the Autobahn again. After thirty kilometers I had knocked off the cobwebs and I was fully awake. I was following the signs to Frankfurt but my real target today was Heidelberg. If I was lucky I wouldn't get too lost.

No rubber on Motorcycle TireI held back on the throttle so I could enjoy what may very well be my last day of riding for a long, long time. Plus, I could feel my back tire sliding out from behind me on even the widest of corners. It might be a good idea to keep the speed down in case the tire were too blow. I'm just smart that way.

I managed to pick up a sign to Heidelberg which saved me having to ask for directions. This is turning out to be a very lucky day indeed. Within a couple of hours of waking up I was arriving in Heidelberg. My motorcycle adventure was coming to an end for the year. I had traveled a lot of miles (American for 1.6 kilometers) and I was road weary. In an effort to see as many places as possible my pace was hectic to say the least. What started out as a "Beer Fest" in Munich's HofbrÀuhaus has taken me through fourteen countries covering about six thousand kilometers. I'm ready to relax a bit.

I showed up in Heidelberg and made my way down to the center of town. One word describes Heidelberg, "Beautiful!" What a great place to finish my trip. If I had never traveled to Germany before and were asked to draw a picture of what I thought a German town looks like, I would draw Heidelberg. I stopped and had a couple of knackwursts with hot cabbage and finished it up with a beer, yummy! I still needed to find Knopf Tours, the place I was dropping off my bike. So I pulled out my iPhone to see if I could find an Internet connection. Yet again, I was in luck.

I typed "Knopf Tours" into Google and it spit out:

Knopf Tours
Hardtstrasse 78
Heidelberg, Germany 69124
Telephone: (49) 6221 7272308
Mobile: (49) 172 978 6218
Email: knopftours@aol.com
GPS: 49° 22.592N 008°40.478E

What a great idea putting the actual GPS coordinates on your website. Even if you couldn't read a map you would still be able to pull out your sextant and navigate your way to the shop. Fortunately my phone is equipped with Google Maps because I left my nautical charts and pocket watch at home.

I wasn't far from Knopf Tours so I lounged about the square a bit and took in the atmosphere. I was starting to prepare myself for reintegration into the 'real world' even though I still had another day before I had to be on the plane. I had a life to get back to that didn't involve motorcycles or border crossings and I would need a bit of time to re-acclimatise myself to it. I had to get back to a world where everyone spoke English. How weird would that be?

I'm going to miss this.

1 comment

Anonymous said...

Amazing, to have seen and done the things you have. Reading it felt like being there. Inspiring, for riders, adventurers, free spirits... I will keep the story in mind as I ride up the 417 on Sunday morning. My goal will be New Smyrna Beach. Hopefully the love bugs will be gone by then, it hurts when they hit your skin, lol

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