Last month I took up an offer from some good friends to meet them in Munich, Germany and spend a week riding in the German Bavarian Mountains. Having never rode before in Europe, I jumped at the opportunity. My wife and myself flew into Munich, had a free day to recover from jet lag and then our friends Peter and Mira picked us up at hotel to head South to Bavaria.
Peter loves all things American, and is a longtime Harley rider, so he made his own custom Ford truck with decals and emblems he had picked on past trips to the States. Once out of the city, we drove on the Autobahn towards Bavaria. If posted, the average speed on the Autobahn is 80 mph, on stretches of the speedway there is no speed limit at all. So some serious speed compared to the U.S.A.
Bavaria is the largest German state in the southeastern part of the country. With 13 million inhabitants, it is Germany's second most populous state. Bavarians have been proud of their culture, which includes a language, cuisine, architecture, festivals such as Oktoberfest and elements of Alpine symbolism.
Peter and Mira rented a typical Bavarian house for us to stay at. It was right out of a post card you would picture a chalet in the German mountains. Next day off on the motorcycles, Mira was kind enough to let me borrow her Road King for the week. Peter on his chopper style Harley and Mira on a nimble little Triumph. The weather was the hottest it had been in years, with temperatures in the 90's and sunny. For me this is t-shirt riding weather, but for the Europeans, safety and protection is always the number one priority. You will never see an European riding a motorcycle with shorts and flip flops like you see some doing here. So feeling a little under dressed and under protected, we took off for a full day of riding.
Rolling mountains and winding roads were exactly what I needed to forget about the stresses in life. We would ride at a decent clip, only to slow down to pass through a small village. Mira was our road captain for the week and choose some amazing routes to ride. The smell of fresh cut hay, cows and 100% fresh clean air made for a way better smell than getting stuck behind a garbage truck in New York City.
On our many day trips we would stop off at small villages, castles, a whiskey brewery and other points of interest. Lunch time ice cream breaks were always a welcome stop. We would get back to our chalet around dinner time, for what else, but beer and a bite to eat. As I said Peter is a big fan or American culture, music and movies. One thing that totally surprised me was German's love for our USA Western history of Cowboys and Indians. On one of the hottest days of the week, we drove to a place called Fichten Ranch. A popular riding destination, that has the look of a Western ranch. A place to grab some food and drink, and if you are there for one of their weekend parties you can rent a tee pee or furnished stage coach for the night. This is Germany, not Arizona, Texas or any other States you would expect to see places like this.
Towards the end of the week we drove to another destination called Pullman City were we spent the night. You guessed it another Wild West Town, with everybody dressed as Cowboys and Indian. Only came across one Indian, who was really French. There was a Harley Event going on for the weekend. We met all of Peter and Mira's friends who were all bikers and super friendly. Bands, food, vendors and good times. It does not matter what part of the world you are in, a biker party is always a good time. We left the bikes at the hotel and taxied it to the event at night. Non-stop flow of Bavarian beer all night. The entertainment for the night was a Rammstein style band with an elaborate light show. This was a event for Harley Davidson motorcycles only, not organized by Harley. I was surprised to see that any non-Harley motorcycle was not allowed into the main parking area, didn't matter who you were if you were not on a Harley you needed to park with the cars in an outside parking lot.
The week flew by and before you knew it our last night in Bavaria had arrived. Our great hosts invited us to a typical German Ale house for our last night together for some traditional food and drinks. They choose a place in the middle of the woods with not much around but farmland. After settling down to our first round of beers, we were approached by a young woman who told our host, Peter, that by accident she hit his pick up truck in the parking lot. For me this was very surprising, because the parking lot was huge and mostly empty. Anyway Peter asked all of us to accompany him to see the damage on his truck. As we were walking to the parking lot, a figure appeared out of the woods and beckoned us to follow him. That Peter is some actor, something did not seem right. We followed the creature into the woods and within minutes we were surrounded by demons and monsters. About twenty people were dressed in costumes from head to toe, with elaborate hand carved wooden masks and animal hides. This day was close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so a huge sacrifice on their part. After posing for pictures and meeting the group they joined us for drinks and dinner. They are one of most sought after Krumpus groups for Christmas celebrations in Germany and Austria and put on this special showing just for us on the request of Peter and Mira. A great bunch of people. An incredible way to end our trip to Bavaria. Check out our previous blog about Krampus.
Next day we said our goodbyes to Peter and Mira and headed back to Munich for our flight back to New York. A once in a life time invitation that we could not pass up. The German people are very friendly and go out of their way to make sure all is well with you. This being my first experience riding in Europe, I would suggest ride with somebody who knows the area. Even with GPS, you could easily get lost, and some of the roads are very different from what we are used to in the States. For me this was unforgettable trip, weather was sunny all week, scenery unlike you would find Stateside, incredible riding with twists and turns and always a surprise around every bend and people who were always friendly and happy to assist you in any way.
Big thank you to Peter and Mira for a great time and their generous hospitality.