woensdag 4 september 2013

GR2013 Day 25 & 26: St Johann & Friedberg

Originally, my plan was to see more of Slovenia today. Go to Ljubjana, the centre of Postojna maybe... but when I opened the outside door on my way to get something from my panniers I was greeted by this:

And it was still raining... quite badly, too.

I didn't really feel like spending time in city centres when it's pouring down, to be honest.

Still - I had been on the road for nearly 4 weeks, and this would be the first I'd ride in the rain.

Quite refreshing... in both figuratively, and literally speaking. 

The Beast seemed quite happy too. Time to wash off all the dirt from those past 6000 kilometres!

At the first gas station, the hunt for a Slovenia sticker was on... and I struck gold immediately, how about that?

The rain, sadly, didn't let up.

It was good to see though that I was not the only iron-munching die-hard braving the torrential downpour.

This one even gave me the thumbs up. Two-wheeled nomads unite!

During my ride North, I came across a heck of a lot of caravans and campers. And I'm not making a joke when I tell you that half of them had Dutch plates.

Up until now I'd always wave enthusiastically whenever I saw another Dutch car, caravan or camper... but riding this highway the penny soon dropped why nobody waved back at me anymore.

Gah. Time for petrol.

Here's a super duper optical illusion, 3rd person style and everything.

Trickery, it's a beautiful thing. See, clear picture - it's not raining anymore!

Ah, spoken too soon.

Time to enter the tunnel into Austria.

But not before I'd spend half an hour trying to take my soaked gloves off.

My playful "Ahhh, the joys of riding a motorbike in the rain..." was yet again met by a smiling face.

So far, overwhelming success with toll attendees!

I chose not to keep the caravans behind me waiting for another half an hour, and threw ATGATT out of the window momentarily.


Then, it was time to leave Slovenia...

...and enter Austria. The country I'd originally planned not to visit, but that's the fun of an impromptu traveling schedule.

And because Austria, like Switzerland and Slovenia, uses highway-vignets instead of toll...

...it was time to pull over, and get the windshield another sticker.

And the rain was still not letting up. 

Eventually I chose to just take a break and get some tea inside of me, to warm up a little.

I then met a German couple on KTMs, who were on their way to Montenegro.

They'd never been there before, so...

...time to dig up my map of Montenegro, and show them which roads to ride!

Inside the petrol station, I bought myself a map, and saw that Austria stickers weren't that hard to come by. However, they only had the boring white-oval kind, and I really wanted one of the flag with possibly the eagle as well.

I chose to roll the dice, and didn't buy one yet.

Back outside, it seemed to have cleared up a little.

Wait, that wasn't a RAINDROP I just felt, now WAS IT?!

Nope. All clear!

The sun was even coming through, which was the icing on the cake.

Now I just needed to get my gloves dry. Crashbars, they have their uses...

I decided to bite the bullet, and buy a boring white-oval Austria sticker as back-up. Should I not find a better example, I at least had one I could use.

The sun then proceeded to fog up the Drift's lens. I guess that's happens when you make something interchangeable.

But no matter. After some time beside the road, I could see clearly now the rain had gone.

I could see all projectstickers in my way.

(and I swear I don't know how that one got there)

Soon enough, my exit was upon me...

..and after a little riding around, I arrived in the little town of St. Johann im Pongau. Not only did I have luck with the view...

...but the Beast did as well! 

Time to be the annoying tourist...

...just like all the Dutch families who surrounded me. I wasn't really prepared yet to be talking Dutch on a regular basis... not this far away from home at least. And even if I did, most of them were quite rude and disinterested.

But after 12 countries and 7000 km, I thought this was appropriate. Even though it's a shameless plug.

The pub was really nice, too. I spent the entire evening talking with the lovely barmaid Nina, who, after I'd told her about the trip and project, enthusiastically proceeded to tell everyone that came in about the Dutchman at the bar. 

Yeah, it was a nice evening.

And the next morning, the sun was out as well!

Glorious sun, where hath thou been?

Over here I wanted to check oil, but in towns like this, even the flat surfaces are at an incline.

Oh, come on...

Austria however, didn't want me to leave without leaving a good impression.

But whereas the scenery was stunning, I just don't like running into my countrymen this far away from home. 

One or two is good fun, but going out to eat and only hearing your native language around you is simply too much.

I'm not pointing fingers, but the Drift even developed a cataract.

Because of that, I missed the German border.

"Oh wait, we're in Germany? CATARACTUS DISAPPEARUM!"

The guys at the hotel were kind enough to let the Beast stand on the private parking lot, right underneath my window. It felt good to know that some hosts were aware of a rider's needs... one of which is to sleep as close as possible to where the bike sleeps.

Nothing romantic (okay maybe a little <3 ), but the bike on a trip like this is everything you have... and it just takes one idiot to ruin your trip.