The trip starts with a visit to a tire specialist in the province Limburg, where Piggy gets new shoes. To be precise, Pirelli PS 22 Pista 14×20. Regroovables! Piggy has an expensive taste. These tires should at least be able to bring us to the Far East. On the advice of the garage in Goes, the wheels are also aligned.

After an overnight stay in the Eifel we cross the German Autobahn to Weimar. The city where Goethe, Schiller, Nietzsche, Bach, Liszt, Kandinsky, Paul Klee, but also other people lived and worked. There is also the cradle of the Bauhaus architecture. All very interesting, but at the end of the Weimar Republic this high-level culture was, at that time, abused of self-glorification. Weimar became the early center of Nazism. Buchenwald Concentration Camp is only 9 km away from Weimar. I feel obliged to visit this place, just as I did in other genocide countries, such as Cambodia, Uganda, Rwanda, China (Manchuria). The coming months I will encounter more of these places on my trip. It is sad to conclude that these “Never More” locations do not affect the minds of “people” led by their “charismatic” leaders with their wrong ideas.

Unfortunately, the weather conditions are not yet optimal, so I only make a short stop at the Dornburger Schlösser. Three beautifully restored castles from the 15th to 18th century.

Dresden is my first main goal. At the end of the 2nd World War, the old center was destroyed by heavy bombing of the British and Americans, killing over 25,000 people, many of whom swallowed into the fire by the resulting fire storm. During the period of the GDR, the ruins of the Frauenkirche remained a monument, but after the fall of the wall, one chose another urban planning. To restore the city’s pre-war appearance, the Frauenkirche was completely rebuilt and other parts of the city were rebuilt and historically refurnished. At the moment, you still see cranes doing their work as evidence that, until today, the repair of Dresden is still actual. It has become a beautiful and cozy city and it can only become more beautiful.

In the Czech Republic, I come into contact with EU countries that still have their own currency system. Get used to it, because it means visiting an ATM regularly, but fortunately, for the time being, I can often pay with the credit card. Also, each country has its own toll system. For heavy campers over 3500 kg, a separate system applies. In the Czech Republic you have to rent a device so that you can be billed per kilometer electronically. Of course, you can get around the highways, but it is a long way to go on long walks and even a route that you will encounter on a detour for the 2nd time. Nice environment, though, but once is enough. My economy ultimately results in a more expensive road use when I look at the fuel costs.

Prague has also undergone tourism developments following the fall of the Wall. Fortunately, the first days are drowsy, but with the first rays of the sun, the city is besieged by a crowd of tourists waiting for the astronomical clock in the old center to watch the parade of the apostles. It only takes half a minute. Then you have to wait another hour for the next parade. Remarkably how many Chinese and Japanese are visiting the city.

I’ll stay there for 5 days. Cycling in the centre with a folding bike with small wheels is not always a pleasure. As in Dresden, a large part still consists of cobblestones with pits. So there is some more work to do.

By winding roads (because I want to spare as much toll as possible), I first visit the town of Kutná Hora, famous for its smal Roman Catholic chapel,  in which 40,000 to 70,000 skeletons have been used to provide it with creative decorations. In Spain and Portugal, such chapels also exist (See previous blogs), but this chapel wins, as far as I am concerned, the top prize. (See pictures)

The town of Cesky Krumlov is of a completely different order. A gem in a loop of the  Vltava . The city has been placed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, which promises a lot of beautiful things: a giant monastery and castle that tower over the town. Next to an extensive castle garden with an impressive fountain. A gift for the photographers. There are hundreds of them running around. Mostly selfies shooting Chinese and Japanese. Art lovers know of course Egon Schiele, the Austrian painter and contemporary of Gustav Klimt. A controversial figure who lived and worked here for a number of years. Eventually he had to leave the city because he posed minors naked for his paintings. However, an Egon Schiele museum has been established, which includes a lot of work of his own.

Near Linz lies the concentration camp Mauthausen-Gusen. Just on this day (May 4), when we remind the dead of the Second World War in Holland, I do this in my way here. In Mauthausen there are a number of barracks left, while in Gusen only 2 combustion furnaces are retained. In both places there is an extensive museum about the horrors of that period

On the way to Vienna, the fate strikes once again. At the beginning of a village, exactly in a curve on a slope, my accelerator does not respond anymore. My speed decreases rapidly, so I need to find a spot on the side of the road in just a few seconds. I’m lucky to find a relatively safe place. The conclusion that there is a cable cut. But repair is not my strongest side, so I decide to call the ANWB (Dutch Automobile Association)again. They connect me with the Austrian ANWB, and within an hour, the problem is worked out with a great deal of ingenuity. Removing the cable part, cutting the cable hose, a piece of espare cable with different clamps (purchased at a garden center with motor mowers !!) attached and much more ingenuity. Der Ulrich is proud of himself. He takes a picture of it, because he has not experienced this before and it can also be seen on my photo collection. After 2 hours, I can continue my journey to Vienna. Full commendation for Dutch and Austrian ANWB. In the meantime, there is even regular telephone contact to inquire if everything is running well. Great service.

In Vienna, I make an appointment with the MAN garage to assemble a new cable. What a giant garage. It appears to be the largest of all of Europe. They will certainly have a cable, I think. But Piggy is already at age, which means that parts are not always available. But the order is already delivered within 1 day and then it’s only hoping it all fits. Here too, something has to be adapted and refined and after a few hours I can hit the road again. Problem solved.

And then there is Vienna. Well, what will I tell you? Actually too much to mention. I’d say, read it all on Wikipedia. What great power and wealth those Habsburg’s had. Mind-boggling. Beautiful palaces, impressive squares, fountains, statues. I will not extensively visit all the museums and palaces. The outside is already pretty enough.

At the Hungarian border I decide to buy a toll vignette. I learned from the crazy wanderings in the Czech Republic to bypass the toll roads. This time it costs only 25 Euro for a month. This toll is not visible in the quality of the roads. The gravel roads in Morocco are sometimes more comfortable than here. Fast driving is therefore not wise. I’ll take it easy and follow the Danube river towards Budapest. Meanwhile I visit places like Esztergom, Visegrád and Szentendre. Here too, there has been fierce fighting over the centuries. The Mongols and Turks have come untill here in the past.

Budapest is a city to remember. Maybe because the weather is beautiful today. Sun and heat till 25 degrees Centigrade. I sleep in my rooftent again, The birds wake me up at 6 and now I write this blog outside under the awning. The skin needs factor 30 again. Enjoyed the Parliament building and the Matthias church today.

Tomorrow maybe a thermal bath.

The plan for the coming weeks is to move to the western part of Ukraine (especially the city of Lviv). Then Moldova, maybe Trans-Nistria and then Romania. After that there is time enough to make new plans.

TAKE A LOOK AT MY IMAGERY OF GERMANY, CZECH REPUBLIC, AUSTRIA, HUNGARY