Monday 18 July 2016 Villach

Today’s the day hopefully I get my bike back. 

I receive a text at 9.45am saying

“The garage have advised us the diagnosis will be available in the afternoon” and offering to help if I need a hire car or hotel booked. “Otherwise we will contact you this afternoon with the diagnosis.” 

Once again the latter is a lie, but at the time I don’t know this.

I go for a short wander, and buy a pizza slice and a small version of these donuts for breakfast   just because the name made me chuckle!

There is a boat trip down the river leaving at 11.45, so after another little walk round the town I join the boat for my two hour trip costing  12 euro.

Now when I go on a boat trip I expect to see stuff. I’m not sure what, but definitely more than a couple of swans, which is all I saw on this one. Pretty scenery in the distance yes, but that was it!

To make matters worse,  Dad and his whining 5 year old daughter have  left the rest of their family in peace and come and sat behind me. She didn’t stop, all the way back. In the end I had to put my earphones in to block her out!

Anyway enough moaning, here’s photos of the scenery…

I can’t face walking round the town again, so sit and enjoy an iced coffee…ok, it had ice cream in it too!

I follow this with a cold coke. Desperately trying to fill in time till I hear about my bike.

At 4.17, I send a text to them asking if there’s any news, but no reply.

I probably should have followed up with a call straight away but stupidly leave it till 5.38 pm.

First,  they think I’m someone else, then tell me my bike is ready. When I sound surprised she says their system is acting up so she would check and call me back.  

I explain about the text I received, that I’d chased, but no-one had been in contact. I tell them that the shop closes at 6pm and I really need to know what is happening.  They promise to contact the “correspondents ‘ ,  ( I assume ABDO) who sent the text and get back to me.

At 17.52, she calls back and says the Correspondent is going to call the garage and fax back the details.

I repeat the the garage closes at 6pm.  By now I am getting quite upset: a whole days riding lost and I have to check out of my hotel tomorrow because they are full. 

I ask who will call me to tell me what us happening,  she says she will  

Time 18.24, she calls back. They have not been able to get hold of the garage, but bike will be ready by noon . They can organise a cab to the garage.

When I ask what us wrong with the bike, she said she didn’t know and sounded surprised that I don’t. 

She then said she thought a diagnosis had been done. 

I repeated about the text, and my follow up and that I had heard nothing.

I am very upset now, no-one seems to have a clue. I am close to tears.

I explain that I am riding on my own, and that I have to check out in the morning, so if the bike is not ready then I need to find another hotel 

She says she will get the diagnostics for me in the morning, I ask for her to call me by 10, but she says definitely by 10.30, and that she will put a flag on file. I am not feeling confident 😔

I put the phone down and burst into tears. I really thought I would have my bike back today and I hate feeling so useless.

I can’t face sitting in a restaurant,  so with only a few minutes to spare  I find a local supermarket and buy some cheese, wine and crisps to nibble on.

Even this beautiful sunset doesn’t cheer me up.

Sunday 17 July 2016 Villach

A silver lining to my enforced stay in Villach is that I can get to watch the German MotoGP, and even better I don’t even have to get dressed for it as it is on my hotel tv!

After the racing,  I get dressed 😉 and go for a wander along the river.

This sculpture is next to my hotel.


And this brewery opposite! 


As usual the graffitti catches my eye!


As I walk across the bridge I spot a “shell” sign. Seems the Camino De Santiago pilgrims are  everywhere!

I’ve remembered to see if there are any geocaches here. There are, but today is not my day, I try 3 different ones and cannot find any of them…perhaps something is lost in translation!
The first one is hidden at the beautiful church that I took a photo of yesterday. It is currently being renovated and to be honest not as stunning up close.  Although the entrance ceiling is interesting. 

My walk taken me back into the town centre.  Perhaps I should have stayed here! 

The pavements in the town centre are cobbled, they even cobble the drain covers.

Love both of these example of ironwork that I spot. 



It’s 5.30pm and I’m starting to get hungry.. I spot a couple of tables,   in the centre of town where people are eating so decide to join them. I always prefer to sit outside to eat if possible, especially when travelling alone 

It all looks so good I decide to have a starter as well as a main course.
But I don’t quite get what I expected Steak Tartar to start, a first for me and quite nice. As are the dumplings, and the local beer.

The bridge, and in fact, the whole Old Town are festooned with bunting- very pretty.

The sun is  still shining strong, so I decide to make use of the funky public seating along the river in front of my hotel and chill for an hour or so catching up with The Archers on podcast! 

Back at my hotel,  and there’s a great view from my window, as I pull my curtains to go to sleep.

Saturday 16 July 2016 Trieben to Villach

I set the alarm on my phone for 3.50 am, but as is often the  way I wake up at 3.45 anyway!

I creep downstairs and the taxi is there, and I hear Sue creeping downstairs too!

It really is goodbye now or Au Revoir as the French say- it is only a matter of time until our next adventure together, and who knows what continent it will be on!

I fall back asleep quickly, and wake up to the sound of rain. Not so good.

After breakfast the rain has stopped, but with weather still looking dodgy,  I load the bike, put on my waterproofs and after a quick detour to the local petrol station I’m off.

I’m feeling quite anxious,  not like me, but today’s route is not a challenging one,  only  a planned 4 hours of riding time.  I ride at an easy pace, even at times pulling over so that cars can  overtake me.  I am not in the mood to rush today, but need to get into the flow of the ride.

My route takes me South on 114 to Judenberg. Then right onto 317

I stop to take a photo of this church at Scheifling, as its gleaming copper tower catches my eye

At Neumarkt, I take a left onto the 92, which at first takes you up over a hill bringing you out to a sweeping vista below.

My nerves are beginning to settle now and I really start to enjoy the ride.

I stop at Huttenberg to capture this unexpected view, which turns out to be a Tibet Centre

I also take a photo of this roadside shrine, one of many you pass as you ride along.

The road continues to curve it’s way through many little villages.

Another quick stop ,when I spot this shrine with carved scenes of the crucifixion, and dated 1608.

I also use this as an opportunity to take a photo of my Tiger.

I reach Buckl, and turn right onto 82, having decided to lunch at St.Vent.

About 5 minutes drive later  and I pull over into a lay-by. For the life of me I can’t remember why now 😕, but when I try to start the bike there is nothing, absolutely nothing.

I remember to check the kill switch – been caught by that before- still nothing.

Try again- still nothing. The needle moves, dashboard lights come on, go off, leaving just engine management and oil light on, but none of the normal gurgling  noise that usually happens.

Shit!

Time 12.05

I WhatsApp Roger but he’s at work.

Time 12.30

I decide to call Carl Rosners to see if they have any ideas. The guy on the phone takes me through the basic moves to start it up but still nothing. He suggests it may be flat battery or the ignition overheating. He suggests waiting 15 minutes and trying again.

I wait 20 minutes and try again. Nothing.

Time 1.04pm

Time to call the RAC. I ring the number on my key fob and after being on hold for what seems like an eternity, I get to speak to someone and give him all the details, starting with the fact I’m in Austria.

He then tells me I have to be transferred to the European Breakdown Service. I then have to repeat everything, including my name, contact details and the problem to a guy with broken English.

He wants to know where I am. I give him the road number and that I am 5 minutes West of Brukl- that’s not enough. But he seems happy when I give him the EXACT GPS cordinates.

He tells me he will text me when someone is on their way. He lies.

Time 1.56pm

Roger calls me. He thinks it may be battery, so I get him to talk me through what to do do bump start it. Maybe a kind biker will stop and help .

Just after this , a breakdown van goes past, he gives me the thumbs up and I say No and wave at him to stop.

He turns the van around,  gets out and starts looking at my bike.

After trying to start it himself, he tests the battery- not flat. He tests other things, and tries to read the diagnostics but no good.

I start to look up on my phone where the nearest Triumph garage is- it looks like Villach,  but it closes Saturday lunchtime.

Another biker stops and offers sympathy and confirms Villach is the nearest.

Time 2.46pm

I still haven’t received text to tell me what is happening, so I call RAC, as I also want to know if I can use this guy and reclaim it and to find out if they will take me to the Triumph dealer – they can’t tell me that!

Apparently they wrote my number down incorrectly and don’t think to contact RAC UK.  I can cancel the call out or wait for their guy. I decide to wait.

I ask Stefan – the lovely breakdown man- if he can find out how much his firm will charge to take bike to Villach.

He calls his boss,  then asks me if I’m with RAC, yes I say. In that case he can take me to the Triumph dealer as the call had just come through,

HOO fuckin RAH!

Time 3.17 pm

I phone Roger to give him the good news that it all seems to be sorted.  ( how optimistic of me)

We have to drive to St Veit to swap over to a van and trailer that can take the bike.So I grab my stuff, put it in the van, take a quick pic of the bike and we head off.

A short journey and a quick swap over  of vehicles  and we are back to load the bike.

This guy is my hero of the day. I can’t thank him enough for all his help. He is the one person who deserves praise for his help today – especially as he stopped to help a ” damsel in distress”

The Tiger is loaded, although it does try to escape a little further down the road.

As we are driving Stefan receives a text about my call, but they do not know where I am. He laughs saying he knows where I am, sitting next to him!

Time 4.18pm

I have to now start thinking logistics.

I cancel my room on Booking.com and send an email explaing the circumstances and asking if they will waive the cancellation charge.

Then I need to book somewhere for the next few nights,definitely tonight and Sunday and possibly Monday, maybe even Tuesday. I hope not.

I decide to use my IHG points and phone to book into the Holiday Inn for tonight through to Tues morning. They are fully booked on Tuesday. But the optimist in me hopes that won’t be needed.

Time 4.53

I receive a call from RAC, asking if there is anything I need help with like hotels, taxi. I advise that I have booked hotel and how do I claim it back, but the lady said we could sort that out later.

Stefan and I have a lovely chat whilst we are driving. His English is very good. He loves visiting London, rides an old Ducati Monster and had 3 Vw campervans. I am  sad to be told that he lost his stepbrother Marcel aged 24, 4 weeks ago in a motorbike accident. I am going to light a candle for him in Porcaro.
We arrive at the Triumph dealer,  but I am unhappy about just leaving my bike here in front of the shop with no security.

Stefan agrees and calls his office,  where they tell him he can take it to their depot 5 minutes away where it can be locked up over the weekend and they will deliver it back to the dealer first thing on Monday. Perfect, well it should be, but when we get to the depot no-one is there.

Another phone call, and Stefan is told to leave it outside, we leave the keys as well, so that the garage will be able to look at it straight away on Monday, or not as it turns out.

Then it’s a 5 minute drop off to the Holiday Inn, where I sign the paperwork. Getting a copy made at reception as I have no idea what I am signing!

Time 6.30pm

Five and half hours and 53 kms from when I called RAC I can relax, hardly the 5 star service they advertise.

A while later, I head into the town centre and find a nice Italian in a courtyard setting to enjoy garlic prawns.

As I cross the bridge to my hotel the setting sun lights up this church beautifully.

What a day! I’m exhausted!