The destination: BMW Motorrad Days 2019 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
It is only five days since we returned to Cyprus, and I find myself again in the airport, ready for another adventure.
The destination: BMW Motorrad Days 2019 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
I took a flight to Zurich, and from there to Frankfurt, followed by a train to Darmstadt, where I would meet my good old adventures partner Shmil, and we would receive our rental bikes from our long-time friends Achim and Manfred from MCD – Motorrad Center Darmstadt.
I have posted some weeks ago the full story of our trip to Europe, with a focus on the Greek Mountains. That post had a lot of pictures of the trip, but not all of them.
In case you are interested in seeing the whole set of pictures (764 in total), you can see them at this Picasa album.
Additionally, I have edited two videos of the trip, from the 9 hours of videos and pictures that I have accumulated in the 16 days.
The first video is a full video, with 59 minutes, that shows quite well the views, the riding, and the experience we had there. Here it is.
The second one, a shorter version with 22 minutes only, also gives a view of the experience for those with less time (or less patience) to view the full video.
So I hope you enjoy the videos and the pictures.
Well, whoever is following these posts has surely noticed that I have been very quiet in the last two weeks. The reason for that was that, as you have seen in the last articles, I've been very busy enjoying a journey from Germany to Greece with my two ladies: my wife Lily, and Saphira, my new motorcycle.
This post is all about a journey log. I am trying to tell day-by-day what we did, how we felt and how it was, together with showing a little of the beauty of the places we passed by.
It all began in the last article, when I arrived to Germany to get Saphira from the dealer I bought it from, and traveled to Vienna in Austria to meet my wife. That was Saturday the 8th of August, I arrived after 700 Km of riding to the Park Inn Hotel in Vienna, and my wife was supposed to arrive at in the Austrian Airlines flight from Tel Aviv at 19:00. But the flight did not arrive. It was cancelled due to two broken toilets. People from Austrian Airlines in Tel Aviv told my wife to go back home that they would call her to reassign her to another flight in two hours, and she could be waiting until today, because nobody called. Since it was a Saturday in Israel, there was nobody to call as well.
Luckily, when the Universe is at your side, everything aligns to make things go right. That wasn't really an Austrian paid flight (what would lock me with Austrian), but an United mileage flight with a Star Alliance airline. So I called United in the US, explained the situation, and in 5 minutes they changed Lily's reservation to a flight by Aegean Airlines, leaving Israel at 4 am in the same night, and arriving Vienna at 10 am, after a connection in Athens. Using the reservation number, I already checked her in to the flight, and used Google Chrome's Cloudprint feature to print her boarding cards at our home printer, so she had them immediately. At 10 am Lily was landing in Vienna. Since we had planned a full day there, we only lost an evening and half day visiting the city. Our schedule, however, was not modified.
Some pictures of Vienna (as usually in this blog you can always click the picture to see its full version in big size).
Last February I took a a decision that it was time to step up and change my 2002 BMW R1150RT to a 2014 BMW R1200RT. Same model, 12 years newer.
The RT above is the 2002. It is a bike that marked my move from the big scooters to the motorcycles, and within that, to the BMW tourer world. I must say that I enjoyed every minute of riding with it, but since last year in the Pyrenees, when I had a rental 2014 RT, I was thinking that it is probably time to move on.
Since you can't find 2014 for sale in Israel (whoever has them hold them tight), I decided for buying it abroad and doing a personal import. More than that, I decided that I would personally go and bring the motorcycle to Greece and put it on a ship to Israel. If not for the price difference, then for the adventure of doing that kind of import experience (and all the expectation that comes with it) once in my life.
So I began looking for the dealers' websites in the internet. It didn't take much, just some conversations with friends on facebook, until someone pointed out a website called http://mobile.de which aggregated the sales of a very big number of german dealers. I began to look there and try to find the bike of my dreams.
Here I must make a stop and comment: Israel is a difficult country for personal imports. First, the motorcycle must be maximum 2-years old, but not from first licensing, from production day, at the moment it comes into the country. Considering that it takes 6-8 months from production to first license, this ruled out most 2013 bikes - specially the 90-Jahre special edition that I wanted much. Besides that, you need to get the import license BEFORE you ship the bike. This means you need to find a dealer who is willing to keep the bike for you for around 3-6 weeks while you have paid a first down-payment and can still withdraw from the deal in case you don't get the license for any reason. Third, you have to prove that the bike complies with all the European standards and some additional local requirements to get the license.
After some months of writing back and forth with some dealers, I came up to this beauty at MCD - Motorrad Center Darmstadt:
June 19th. Two years of waiting since our last motorcycle tour in France and Italy have finally come to an end. Lily and me are again on our way to the Ben Gurion Airport, from where we will take our flight to Barcelona.
At the airport, we meet our friends and partners to the adventure: Shmil and Louiza, who were together with us in our previous trip in France and Italy, Eitan and Anat, who were with me four years ago in a tour in Austria, Arik and Rachel, who are old acquaintances, but with whom I am travelling for the first time.
Our first stop is in Barcelona, where we will spend our first afternoon and night, and to where we will return at the end of the trip.
The first evening in Barcelona was mainly for arrangements and rest from the flight. We bought local SIM cards, Arik visited the Harley Davidson store in Barcelona to order some parts to take back with him to Israel, we set the schedule for the next day during a dinner at the Rambla, and went to enjoy a good night of sleep, important after waking up at 5AM in the beginning of the day.
In the next morning, at 9:00, we left the hotel with all our things, in order to receive the rental motorcycles: three BMW R1200RT and one BMW R1200GS for Eitan, who is too tall for the RT. It took time until we managed to finish installing all the equipment in the motorcycles and organizing our luggage in the side and top boxes - it is a really obscure science, in which a box which looks completely full now may look empty in two days, so the secret is to bring the "two days" to now and take advantage of every spot in which something can be put.
At the end, at the time of 12:30, we were ready to go. First destination: Blanes, in the Costa Brava.
Nothing can be better for opening a family blog site than the announcement of a new member in the family:
This is it, this 2002 BMW R1150RT with 75,800 Km is joining the family, substituting my Burgman 650, which is now waiting to be sold.
Helio is a gadget and motorcycling blogger, holding the sites MobilityFreak and Burgman & Co., the home of the Israel Burgman Club.