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    • Day 7

      Day 7 - Josef Buffler, my saviour…………….

      March 5 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 6 °C

      ………the world’s most expensive parking attendant!!!

      As predicted, I struggled to get any sleep. I was still watching Top Boy, when the Italian got up to go to the loo at 2.20am. My alarm went off at 6.30am & after showering, I went to breakfast at 6.55. To my horror the 50 odd school kids were already in there, but they had doggy bags & left almost straight away for the United Nations.

      My breakfast consisted of just 2 slices of toast, 3 coffees & yoghurt & granola, but I got the proportions wrong & it had the texture of concrete. I then packed in the dark whilst my dorm companions slept and left the hostel.

      I set my SatNav at 7.57am to get to the Holiday Inn Express, Munich City West by the fastest route, but avoiding tolls. My SatNav showed that it would take 6 hours 39 minutes, a distance of 273 miles. I was due to arrive at the hotel at 2.42pm if I didn’t stop. I wanted to get to Munich in plenty of time to make the rendezvous, be totally sorted out for the next stage of the trip & not the one perceived to be unreliable.

      The weather was best described as miserable, drizzly with stormclouds on the horizon. The roads north out of Bern were uninspiring A roads following the Aare River. At 10.30am, I arrived at Koblenz, where I crossed the Rhine River into Germany. I decided that I would stop at the 1st hopefully now reasonably priced McDonalds I saw after 11.00am. Needless to say they went into hiding. I saw one about an hour later, but incredibly there were roadworks preventing me from getting to it.

      I continued onwards towards Munich, passing Lake Constance on my right. This was on a road that Jackie and I had driven the other way on our way back from Croatia a couple of years ago. It was notable for all the vineyards along this stretch of the route. Eventually I pulled into Friedrichshafen, still on Lake Constance & hunted down a McDonalds. It turned out to be a tiny one in the railway station.

      I returned to my bike & opened up the throttle to arrive at my hotel at now just after 3pm. I was speeding east along the A96 dual carriageway, when my heated handlebar grips kept turning themselves off. Next all the lights turned themselves off & I managed to turn on the a slip road, just before my bike whirred to a standstill. I turned the ignition off then tried to-restart by bike, but nothing was happening. I got off the bike & the bike toppled over , knocking me down and prone in the middle of the road with the bike on top of me. Out of sheer absolute embarrassment, I managed to out & heaved it back upright. I then pushed it up a slope to the junction at the top where it was less of a hazard to other traffic. I was in the middle of absolutely nowhere & didn’t know how to describe where I was. All I knew was that I was beside the A96 & just over 100 miles away from Munich.

      After several unsuccessful attempts to start it, I rang Jackie and gave her the good news. Jackie very helpfully provided me with some suggestions as to who to call & she did some research for me. The upshot was that I was not covered with a breakdown service outside of the UK. I rang my bike mechanic in the UK, who got me to try various things which didn’t work, but he couldn’t help without seeing the bike. I then rang the emergency number for motorway breakdowns (not dual carriageways) and they said would get the police out to me who would arrange a recovery truck.

      Several motorists stopped & one recommended I rang a local garage who might be able to help. I rang the garage, Moto Punto, and spoke to the owner who spoke only a little English. I tried to explain where I was, but he couldn’t understand & said that I was too far away. I later rang him back & asked him if I managed to get my bike to him, would he be able to look at it. He said he would. After several more phone calls of almost pleading with the garage owner, he agreed to come out when I finally was able to give him a better idea of where I was.

      Whilst waiting for him, now 3.55pm, the police showed up. They didn’t speak English, but recorded details of my bike, driving licence & passport. Whilst they were interrogating me, my saviour in his beaten up old van arrived. He was an old man with a gammy leg from a motorcycle accident 20 years ago. We managed to get the bike in the back of his van & we drove to his garage 8.5 miles away.

      Back at his garage his mechanic got to work. He connected a large battery pack & the bike fired into action. My relief was short lived when he diagnosed that the ‘reactor’ (or something) was not working. Apparently there are two parts of the bike that keep the battery charged when the engine is running.

      After looking it up, they announced that they couldn’t get the parts until the morning, but they would take me to a hotel for the night. I enquired if I could get a train to Munich. I could & could I leave the bike with them for 10 days & pick it up then. The bottom line is that I loaded up my motorbike gear in the panniers and the owner, Josef Buffler, ran me to the train station to continue my tour. He told me to ring him when I was coming back & he would pick me up.

      My train ticket cost just €26 & arrived in Munich main station at 19.42pm. It was a 2.1 mile walk to my hotel. I could have got another train but I chose to route march to the Holiday Inn Express, Munich City West. I arrived at 8.30pm. It was a 4 minute walk back to the venue, Backstage, so I treated myself to a shower and fresh clothes.

      I arrived at the gig at 9.00pm & it was heaving with people. It was the biggest venue so far. I decided there was no way I would or could find the others from the Magic Bus Tour, so I WhatsApp’d Jack Cheung, the tour organiser and driver to let him know that I had arrived and would catch up with everyone in the morning.

      Another excellent concert seen from a totally different perspective. During the song, ‘If I Am Still Me’ Jack rose up out of the crowd near the front and was stood on the shoulders of others for his usual dance. He did the same for ‘Green and Grey’ and ‘High. The encores were ‘Bittersweet’ their 1st single and was dedicated to the original manager, Nigel Morton aged just 70 & ‘High’ & ‘Get Me Out’.

      At the end I rushed back to the hotel & my bed. The following morning I discovered that I missed a 2nd encore of ‘No Rest’ and ‘Poison Street’.

      I am just very relieved that my tour is still on course. The mechanical failure could not have been foreseen & hopefully won’t cost me a fortune. I rightly or wrongly trust Josef. Either way things could have been a lot worse.

      Song of the Day - Breakdown by The Buzzcocks.

      NMA Song of the Day - Stormclouds by New Model Army.
      Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Aitrach, ایتراچ, Айтрах, Ајтрах, DEAIT, 艾特拉

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