We're leaving Hans and Julia much better off than when we arrived. Our mood is so much lighter. This Friends Tour of Germany is working out quite well for us. Visiting people that we know, that know us and that are also fellow motorcycle travelers is really providing us with some sorely needed company. So we're going to continue on in the same vein, making a U-Turn and heading back south to see more friends that we missed this summer.
Saying goodbye to Hans and Julia. You can see by the logo
on the wall of their house where their passions lie
Despite riding away into a grey, gloomy day, we're leaving in pretty good spirits
Our plan for the day is staying off the Autobahn and just taking our time following the Rhine River as it meanders south to the Swiss border. We're getting a bit conscious of the weather and how the days are not only getting shorter, but the temperatures are slowly dropping day by day, so south is a good direction to head this time of year. We still haven't made a decision as to what we're going to do once we finish visiting all our friends but we're having too much of a good time to worry about the future.
Catching the ferry again back south across the Rhine
Rain clouds have found us again
Following the Rhine southbound
Entering one of the tiny towns along the Rhine, Sankt Goar
Stopped to get some gas, eat a sandwich and take some pictures
Watching the boats float down the Rhine, the ruins of Burg Rheinfels on the other banks of the river
A few leisurely hours later, we arrive in Karlsruhe and ring the doorbell of our friends Simon and Anne. Like most of our European friends, we also met them on the Stahlratte. You may remember them from when we hung out with them while in Colombia when Simon got dengue fever. They were on their honeymoon and backpacking around the world the last time we saw them (two years ago!) and now they're back in Germany: new apartment, new jobs and... new kid!!!
Hanging out with Simon and Anne and brand new person, Selma
We've met a lot of backpackers on this trip, we seem to have a lot in common with them because of how slow we travel. Normally when we meet other motorcycle travelers, it's a very quick hello and goodbye since they're always on the move. But backpackers seem to stay a bit longer in each place which is exactly the way we do things as well. I guess we're motorcycle backpackers!
Among our many topics of conversation, I had to ask them if they missed traveling. The answer, even with a new baby, was... of course.
Neda and I are at a point where we've pretty much stopped touring and sightseeing for the last month and a half now and we're in no rush to get back to it. But still... I don't want us to call it quits, get a home, get a job, be sitting on our couch staring at the TV after work and suddenly realize that I miss being on the road. I want us to be sure that we're done and not just travel fatigued.
But it's been so long since we felt really enthusiastic about seeing new places...
The next morning, we bid farewell to Simon, Anne and Selma
Time to hit the road again!
The plan is... keep on doing what's made us happy over the last week: See more friends!
Karlsruhe is at the northern edge of the region called the Black Forest. The trees aren't really black here. It's called the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) because of the canopy of dense evergreen trees that block out the sunlight. The roads here gently wind around the contours of the many mountains in the area. Fun!
Stopping to take off our rain jackets. The weather is nice and warm today! Double Fun!
The Black Forest is also home to many picturesque villages
Village of Triberg
All the buildings in the small villages here look as if they came straight out of a Brother's Grimm fairy tale (which makes sense, since most of the tales are set in the Schwarzwald). It feels like there's a big bad wolf or gingerbread-baking witch lurking behind every shop door. Speaking of shops, this is really popular in the area:
Handmade cuckoo clocks!
Apparently people from all over the world visit the Black Forest to buy a German-made cuckoo clock. The number on the price tags were crazy high! Thousands of Euros for a wooden clock. Dare I say, the prices were a bit... cuckoo.
This one goes out to my buddy, Jeff.
Passing by alpine-style houses in the Black Forest
Here's a video of more picturesque villages and winding roads of the Black Forest
We emerge from the southern edge of the Black Forest and settle into a campground in the town of Kandern, which is within spitting distance of the Swiss border. Because we are so close to Basel, we've contacted our friends Colleen and Dan to see if they are free for dinner. Even though it's threatening rain, they offer to come across the border to meet us here! So while they ride over (only about half an hour away), we set up our tent while the ground is still dry.
Good food and great company!
We last saw them in Dijon, France, six months ago! Yay! Hanging out with more friends. We're starting to get a bit of a social life again!
Colleen and Dan head back to Switzerland after dinner! Roads are drying somewhat...
We're very comfortable in Europe since we know so many people here! We could probably continue doing what we're doing for a while longer if the impending winter weren't pushing us to warmer climates. Good thing we have more friends to the south that we can visit... Hi Ho!