That's it. My first motorcycle trip
It should be ready on March 13, 2018. I started for my first motorcycle trip ever. Since January 30, 2018, I was a motorcyclist on my Honda Africa Twin, and I loved it (and still do). This trip was to change my life. But more on that later.
Already the day before I prepared everything. Of course, I was excited. The blue L was firmly mounted, the suitcases with all sorts of stuff I did not need packed and tied the packsack tightly at the rear. I had something to think about because I was a novice driver, and now the machine was loaded to the maximum. As the car balance confirmed the next day, the bike was 330 kilograms heavy. With me as a driver (and I am not very light), I was slightly above the maximum permissible mass. That should be funny.
March 13 started cold and rainy. But I did not care. I finally wanted to leave. Why travelling has such a charm, I already noticed after the first few meters. This feeling of freedom, always nose-deep with no plan and goal. Even though I had a purpose here and there, I was free and could do what I want.
I started from St. Gallen east towards Lake Constance. Arbon should be my first stopover. I had no idea how long you are always on the road and where to make a stopover. I first wanted to drive past the places that had accompanied me over the last few years. That was eastern Switzerland and northwestern Switzerland. After 20 minutes of driving, I reached the port of Arbon. I took a picture and realized that I was not really far away from home. So fast on. Shit, I did not get the hang of it yet ...
So I decided to drive directly to Stein am Rhein. This city is probably one of the oldest in Europe, and I have never been there. The weather was not the best, but I had just been on the road for a few hours. Along Lake Constance, we went to the small town on the Rhine. After finding a parking space and eating at a small restaurant, I strolled around town. The old houses impress with their magnificent paintings, which only give an idea of what a beautiful city this was once. It is also charming today compared to other European cities, but it seems that the old town has lost its charm a bit. However, it is exciting to sneak through the small side streets and to discover the little peculiarities of a centuries-old old town.
My father comes from Worms am Rhein, he studied in Mainz am Rhein. My brother is studying in Mainz am Rhein. I lived in Bad Säckingen on the Rhine. Now I live in eastern Switzerland .. wait .. on the Rhine. Without a doubt, the Rhine was a river that has accompanied me all my life. Now I also wanted to go to the Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen. I always thought of a small trickle that drips down the rocks. The Rhine Falls but rather the European Niagara Falls I do not think so. Standing on the lower observation deck makes you feel small. Tiny. Weak and helpless. These enormous masses of water, which let down here with unstoppable power and deafening noise, awaken in me ambiguous feelings. For one thing, they were scary to the other but incredibly fascinating. After the prolonged spray had wet me, I decided to take a picture and drive west.
It was raining all day, so I was happy to arrive at my destination in the afternoon. A small farm near Aarau offered me a non-binding request to pitch my tent in the yard. Under a small gazebo, I even had a dry spot for my dinner. Unusual - On motorbike trips with the tent you get tired very early. Already at 20 o'clock I lay in my sleeping bag and sank into the land of dreams.
Suddenly it was warm in the tent. The sun had risen and beamed directly onto the tent. I opened the zipper, and it opened a fantastic view of the valley. The sunbeams reflected in the fog created an almost apocalyptic mood as if I were the only survivor after a nuclear attack. A welcome change after the previous very wet day. My breakfast was carefully checked by the farmer's dog and found to be very tasty. Nevertheless, he got nothing.
After I had stowed my equipment neatly on the Africa Twin, I continued on my way to the west. The next destination should be Basel. The city .. wait .. on the Rhine. The weather was getting better, and the sun heated the air to a good 25 ° C. Perfect motorcycle weather. But then the next disillusionment. The highway to Basel was completely closed after a massive truck accident, and thus all the roads were blocked entirely. Since my motorcycle with suitcases was relatively full, I could not lurk past the cars. Not to mention the fact that the police in Switzerland does not like to see me and I was still on the way with the blue L. I decided to skip Basel and flee to the Jura to the south. A great decision.
The three hours of traffic jam that day and the rain on the first day had drained me. I was tired and decided to go to my destination. A small farm near Porrentruy near the French border. Especially in Switzerland are extreme language barriers. Driving from Basel to Geneva, the spoken language changes from German to French between two villages. And with it the traffic signs.
The small farm in Porrentruy was great. A super friendly host, which provided me with everything necessary and provided me with the entire meadow, since there were no other guests. After a small off-road track to the field (my first ever!), I pitched my tent, made dinner and slumbered as already on the evening before at 19:30 clock.
The next morning I left early. At 6:30 am my gear was already packed and lashed. I wanted to go to the Creux-du-Van. Also known as the Swiss Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, my expectation was not fulfilled. The cloud cover had dropped to a high nebula field and completely enveloped the mountain in a solid white. So I toured all over the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The goal was the Valais. Above Martigny, there was a small village in the mountains. I was here two years ago, and I really wanted to return to this beautiful place. But first, it went back east to Lake Lucerne. Why do I drive this way and that through Switzerland? I wanted to see every spot in Switzerland and just follow my nose.
Passing Lake Lucerne, head east and finally arrive at the border to the east. I wanted to go to the Engadin. About the high passes. But I did not expect the weather again. I knew that it will be challenging to drive the passes in March. However, even in the Engadine valley in St. Moritz, there were more than 70 centimetres of snow on the streets, and the traffic almost came to a standstill. I could not dare that with the motorcycle. So on to the south to Ticino. So slowly, it had become too cold for me.
I literally forgot myself and drove and drove. Hardly any breaks should later prove to be my fate, and unfortunately, I did not take many pictures. Meanwhile, we had March 20.
This day should stay in my memory longer. On this day, I laid for the first time a route which should probably lead through three climatic zones. I started in the morning in Lugano on Lake Lugano at 16 ° C, blue skies and sunshine and made my way to the north. Today's destination should finally be the chalet in Valais. The day's stage was 290 kilometres long and was to lead me across the Alps. Shortly before the Gotthard tunnel at around 1144 meters, it was then still fresh with 5 ° C and even blue sky. Driving through the Gotthard tunnel, they said it was warm, they said. They were not wrong. But I packed friendly as for a polar expedition and the nearly 32 ° C in the tunnel was in the winter clothing over the 16.9 kilometres then quite hot and almost unbearable. I just wanted to get out quickly and was looking forward to the fresh and sunny exit. It was not chilly, rather cold with -10 ° C and there was no question of bright. It has snowed and that 16.9 kilometres after it had been pleasantly fresh and sunny. The mountain must have stopped a cloud on the way to the south, which now drained its entire amount of water in the snow on the north portal. Well, it did not help, and I could not turn around again. Since I wanted to go further into the Valais, I had to get off the highway and continue to Realp to Furkaverlad. The Furkaverlad was a car train which brought the motorists under the mountain in the Valais, as the passes were locked as every winter. Realp was over 1,500 meters still above something, and it was not clear that the weather would be better up there. So I fought my way through the snow with my two legs on the ground up the pass to the loading station. The people probably did not see much motorcycles at this time of the year and were astonished by something very intrusive. In the station cafe Realp, I warmed up and waited for the train. I knew such car trains already from my holidays on Sylt but had never used one with the motorcycle. I dreaded the idea that I would have to stay on the open train through a cold tunnel. That would be pretty cold. However, I felt a bit stupid and yet relieved when I was first waved onto the waggons in a small motorcycle compartment. Immediately in the first wagon at the train driver I could not only warm up while driving but finally melted the icicles on my machine, and my Africa Twin also seemed to do well to get some warm air. During the drive through the tunnel, the train driver told me that I did not have to worry because the weather in Valais was much better and lo and behold when I arrived in Oberwald I could not believe it. 10 ° C PLUS and a föhniger wind blew me around the nose. What a relief and yet I was highly fascinated by the phenomenon of weather, which could form such delimited zones.
After a swift trip through eastern Valais, I reached Martigny and drove further into the mountains. The small chalet was far back in the village of Le Trétien, and the last meters were only accessible on foot. No traffic, no crowds, the crackle of the fire in the fireplace. This is my world. Quiet. I decided in advance on the booking that I will probably stay here for three days. During this time, I turned off all my devices.
After three days of relaxation, my tour should already be over. As I could not reach the extreme east due to the weather in the Engadine, at least I wanted to go to the far west to Geneva. Along Lake Geneva, with fantastic weather, my last stop was the beautiful city of Geneva.q
The way home hurt and that was the first time I felt this feeling of wanderlust. I did not want to go home. I wanted to go further. Discover the world and get to know foreign countries. It was the starting signal for my travel career and was supposed to change my life.
However, not only in the right way because of the too fewer breaks, I now had calf pain.
I was back home.