I arrived in Germany in late July after taking the ferry from Bergen in Norway to Hartshells in Denmark. I got off the ferry in the morning hours and put in a big day on autbahns all the way to Berlin. I found a nasty hostel outside of town in a posh neighborhood where US diplomats used to stay.
I hung in Berlin for a few days, but the weather was poor and I was tired after two weeks in Scandanavia, so didn’t really get the proper Berlin experience.
On Friday morning I drove to Munich because my buddy Franz told me about a fun festival that weekend. I got in to his village SE of Munich and immediately packed a bag for the weekend, which was to be spent on a farm about 10km away. We cleaned out one of his work vehicles, a Ford Transit, and threw a mattress in the back, as well as a couple blankets. On the way we hit the liquor store and grocery. We only bought pickles and fruit, but there was food at the party.
The setting for the weekend festivities was incredible: a nice farm surrounded by forrest. We drove into big field where everybody was camping, and then checked out the stages and got tickets. It was super low key and mellow, despite there being maybe a thousand people, 2 stages, a bar, food vendors, and lots of art installations. Everything was made with recycled wood, nothing was commercial, and a heavy emphasis was put on keeping the place clean and beautiful. There was even a pool and “beach” next to one stage that played primarily Goa beach trance, which was a nice touch.
The weekend was a blast. I made lots of good friends and it was a cool way to see a part of Bavaria I wouldn’t have seen without Franz. I couldn’t help but dance until the sun came up the first night, but on Saturday I wasn’t vibing with the music and called it quits a bit earlier.
From then on life was mellow, living on the farm, working at installing skylights and servicing them. Franz and I rode motorcycles to cool places in the area frequently, visited his friends, had barbeques, and drank lots of good german beer. We went to a couple traditional beer festivals, where everyone was wearing liederhosen and drinking out of steins.
I helped Franz with his yurt a bit, installing new insulation, since the old insulation was made from sheep hair and stank really bad when it got a little wet. There were lots of small projects around the farm. His sister was building a new annex to his mother’s house, and the regular maintenance and animals kept everyone busy.
I made a couple solo trips, first to Vienna via the Alps. I stayed with a friend of a friend. I had never met this girl before but she hooked me up big time. She could not have been nicer and more relaxed. She was a student and happy to show me around. We biked through the city and got spritzers (wine and seltzer) my first night, and the next day we went to a cool offshoot of the Danube river and had a picnic, lay in the sun, and swam. It was just us and a few naked people further up the shore. Later we went to a more popular spot along the Danube and hung out with a bunch more of her friends. That night we went to the canal and ate pizza and drank and talked until late. We got around via bicycles all day, mine a vintage KTM, which was exciting.
On the way back to Obstadt (Franz’s village) I stopped in Graz, and city in southern Austria, where a couple friends I met earlier in the summer were living. We got dinner and walked around the very cool downtown area. The next morning I got coffee with them and I drove off for home, right as the skies were about to break. It was some of the worst rain of the trip, and cold, since I was driving through the alps. I had to change my headlight a gas station because it went out and was not safe.
I went to another cool festival the next weekend, this one in the rain and even smaller than the first. It was tons of fun, a highlight of the summer. Great music and great company.
Next I took a bigger trip to Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. I wanted to spend my time in Chamonix and Val D’ser, but it was cold and snowy. Not good riding weather. I got a couple nice days in with a friend in Interlaken. We did two hikes and got to talk a bunch about moto life.
I switched plans and went to Tuscany, which was incredible. Fantastic driving roads. Great Food. Easy place to travel. Lots of culture and history. I had a blast and would go back in a heartbeat. My final week in Germany was great. I went to Oktoberfest with a couple pro drinkers and that was a mistake. Or I should have set myself limits and not tried to keep up. I had a 5 day hangover. Large portions of my day there are a total mystery. I went back on my last day and kept it a bit more mellow.
Overall my time in Germany could not have been better. I met some amazing people, got to see a different culture that really seems to have their shit together, and relax a bunch after my trip. The best part was definitely getting the local experience from Franz, his family, and friends. A million thanks to all of them. A little bit of my heart is still there.