Euro Tour Orange Style, 2-up on a KTM990S

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cyborg, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    This year my wife and I were given a chance to go ride Europe on a KTM990S
    primarily in Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy and a taste of Switzerland and France
    ...and we took it! (now 4025km/2500mi of Euro roads later I'll share it here!)



    Oh yeah!

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    The Story:

    We live near Seattle. Our good friend Uwe Krauss, Round-The-World KTM rider, now living in Germany, sent me an email in '07 stating more or less "You aren't getting any younger, get your ass over here and ride." Along with the admonition, also came the incredible offer. Uwe would find us a bike to ride 2-up for free, just leave it to him. It would be either a BMW1200GS or a KTM990 with full touring luggage! Wow! I got seriously excited.:clap


    Now anyone familiar with Uwe (pron: "oova" BTW) would have no reason to doubt him. I think 6+ years of riding around the world makes you good at "arranging things" :wink: so plans were made and June 2008 was the target date to fly over to Germany and finally have a chance to ride in the Alps!!



    A little background:

    We met Uwe and Ramona back in 2005 during their travels around the world on KTM LC4's , when they were coming through Seattle. Uwe spent time with us at our house.

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    That LC4 has 100,000 miles on it BTW...





    We later traveled down to Peru to meet up with Uwe and Ramona when they were villa-sitting in Cusco, and had a great time!

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    Uwe cuts up some ribs

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    and yes we even did some riding in the Andes:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=119389


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    In Norton Rat Bar in Cusco

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    Uwe and Ramona are awesome folks, amazing travelers and we always enjoy visiting with them.





    Flashforward to 2008....


    The plan is 3 weeks to ride. Off we go.

    Now bear with me please, the intro shows a bit of non-moto, to at least give a bit of flavor of the story and traveling over to Germany. Moto will follow, promise! :deal



    We arrive in Frankfurt in early June

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    and catch the high speed train for Erfurt in East Germany, where Uwe lives. This is the train station built into Frankfurt airport.

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    Uwe and Ramona parted ways after their world travels. We would be visting Uwe and Danika in Germany on this trip. (and as it turns out, I would visit Ramona later in the trip too...)



    We arrive in Erfurt

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    Uwe true to form had arranged a charming little room at a guest house


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    and we finally meet up with Uwe. We were a bit haggard from the long flight and train, non-stop.

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    a little walk around town to shake off the jet lag

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    Then we go to Uwe's house for a bit of lunch

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    and enjoy their backyard garden

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    and they have a greenhouse too.
    L->R my wife Melissa, Uwe and Danika

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    and what's this out front??!! This going to be good! :clap

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    A shiny KTM990S!!!!! Our trusty steed for the weeks ahead.
    On loan from KTM Germany with luggage from Touratech! :deal
    Just too cool. :thumb

    #1
  2. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    oh my!!! that is some very cool friend!!! can I come???

    I am dying to see more pics!

    Damasovi
    #2
  3. GB007

    GB007 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    This is going to be good! :lurk U lucky man! :rayof
    #3
  4. tolits

    tolits The Cardinal

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    wow!!!

    you're very lucky to have a friend like him!! bouy, am i jealous..

    can't wait to read more about your adventure. keep it coming.
    #4
  5. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    Next day:

    Uwe's plan was to have Melissa and I relax out on his parents country property for a few days to shake off jet lag before heading out on our own. We thought that was a great idea!

    The first task at hand was to retrieve the other bike for this adventure, a brand new KTM690E for Uwe to ride with us, also on loan from KTM Germany. Problem was, the bike was 100km away up in the mountains at his parents country house (complicated story) near the town of Steinach and we had to go get it, but not by car.

    Uwe and I jumped on the KTM990, with me the terrified passenger. I very rarely ever ride pillion so I'll spare you any pictures of my anxiety. Not to worry though because Uwe is a superb rider, but I had to hang on for dear life through the twisties of the mountains Uwe grew up in, so I had to trust him. It was actually a very good lesson for me doing a little pillion time, about the trust and feeling of riding that was my wifes normal viewpoint. Gave me a lot more respect for the passenger! :getiton


    Finally we arrived and got the KTM60 ready to head back to Erfurt

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    Uwe oferred to ride the 990S back to Erfurt while I got the the spanky new KTM690E to zoom through the Thuringen mountain twisties! It was a hard job, but somebody had to do it!

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    Uwe leads the way of course since I haven't got a clue where I'm going yet...and I'm still jet laggin' like a mofo.

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    70 km of awesome twisties and 30km of Autobahn where I maxed out the 690E at right around 160kph/100mph. We switched bikes back in Erfert, I saddled up the KTM990S (sorry no pix) with all our luggage and my wife hopped on the back, and Uwe led us back out to the country house the way we had just come. This time we stopped for a break halfway there as I was getting tired.


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    and we finally arrive at the guest cabin on Uwe's parents place, a beatiful setting in the mountains, where we would rest a few days

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    My poor wife, she was looking pretty beat by this time...

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    and what a nice place to rest!

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    #5
  6. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    Uwe planned to stay at his parents house while we were there, the place just across the pond from our cabin, and catch up on his book writing.

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    Danika and her young son Magnus stayed in Erfurt because she had to work during the time we were visiting.



    Uwe came by to have a snack at the table outside the cabin. In Germany they eat LOTS of bread (brot) and cheese, and let me tell you, it's some of the best bread we've ever had!

    Uwe is smirking while reading a phrase from our "Wicked German" phrasebook, which totally butchers the German language with nonsensical tourist questions!

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    The place behind Uwe is the lodge belonging to his Grandmother. Notice the intricate slate work on the sides.


    One of Uwe's good friends came by on his Triumph Tiger and that made me nostalgic for the Triumph Tigers I used to own. Great bikes!

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    The family property was quite the interesting place on a beautiful piece of forested land. Very private and had several buildings on it. All the homes and buildings were designed and built by Uwe's family and Uwe helped build the cabin we stayed in. His Father is a talented architect and a very skilled craftsman too. His charming Mother is a doctor too, some quite gifted people, and incredibly nice to us!


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    A fountain out front of the lodge

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    another table on the property

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    And a cold storage cave for the lodge, with, of course, beer in it :freaky

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    We went hiking around the property and surrounding forrest that evening, which had lots of trails.

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    #6
  7. Deuce

    Deuce Crazy Canuck

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    :lurk
    #7
  8. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    Fiddling with the bike, getting the gear sorted out and my 276C GPS mounted and wired in.

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    Hanging out at the cabin.

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    Uwe brings over some brats to barbeque

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    They were very tasty!

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    and of course into the cave for some more beer :freaky

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    #8
  9. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    Out for a bit more hiking, some interesting signs. They don't allow motorized vehicles on these forest roads anymore, other than official vehicles.

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    Back at the cabin an old farmer came by on this old MZ bike labeled "IFA". Cool bike :thumb and it ran great!


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    Compared to modern machinery!

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    #9
  10. Sundance

    Sundance Adventurer

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    I've always believed that good things happen to good people. You must be extra good. Keep the pictuers and story coming.
    #10
  11. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    We took a day trip on our own through the local Thuringen area around the town of Steinach. Thuringen is a region in North Eastern Germany and is still quite forested.

    See the wind generator? We saw them all over Europe.

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    My wifes poses by the bike

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    We went through the small town of Lehesten which one of the central sources of slate for a large part of Europe. All the building in the local region had lots of slate on roofs and siding. Very durable!

    This hill of slate is natural, part of the Thuringian Slate Mountains

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    Nearby was the entrance to the slate factory.

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    Look at this building on the factory site, all slate covered! :huh

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    Then back out to zoom around the countryside

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    Traces of Roman handiwork in this bridge

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    #11
  12. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    So marks the end of our pleasant stay at Uwe's parents property and House of "Waldfrieden". Relaxed and ready to ride!

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    The next day started out cloudy and a bit cold. We bid our farewells to Uwe and family and their warm hospitality and generosity. Uwe would join us 3 days later in Austria to show us the Alps, so we would be riding on our own for a few days. GPS is my friend and I had all of Europe loaded into it. A real handy tool for navigating the old towns and dense myriad of roads in Europe. Uwe also gave us a cell phone to use to stay in contact with him and I had Skype and email on my Nokia N810 Internet Tablet when I could find free WiFi.


    We did our final packing of the bikes at the cabin and headed into Stienach town to stock up on some food snacks and water for the bike panniers. We always had to be careful not to buy water with "gas", carbonated water, which was more plentiful than regular bottled water and the labels were hard to read! Bottle soft, regular water, bottle stiff, "mit gas". Bottled water was just for while traveling on the bike. We drank local tap water all over Europe and it was fine. By the way did I mention fuel was around $10 USD per gallon? Yikes!:huh


    From Steinach in Germany our target for the day was the bustling metropolitan capital city of Prague in Czech Republic, and a good half day or more of solid riding due East. Prague was my wife's special request destination, because she wanted to see the Alphonse Mucha Museum there.
    http://www.mucha.cz/index.phtml?S=home&Lang=EN

    Prague is also supposed to be one of the favorite destinations cities for Europeans on vacation.
    Punched the route into the GPS and off we went!


    We saw a lot of countryside, trees and fields, on and on. Very few fences and almost no livestock.

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    It was cold, grey and a bit rainy that day so I didn't take many pictures. No border post at the Germany/Czech boundary due to the current European Union. This was the first gas station just across the border. Note the Vzduch and Voda (Air and Water) station.

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    then back on the road headed for Prague, spelled "Praha" in Europe.

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    The GPS did a good job of leading me through the unfamiliar big city streets and right to our hotel in the center of Prague. Third grey rowhouse in from the left.

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    Fancy name but normal hotel.

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    It did have a great view of the main royal castle on the hill, the big tourist attraction in Prague.

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    I did like our room because we were at the top and had cool powered windows that raised up, and retro carpet, and had WiFi :wink:

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    Great views from the room of the main river through town, the Vltava River. Note the landscaping on the roofs below, to reduce the 'ugly roof' views I assume.

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    The hotel advised me NOT to leave the bike parked in front of the hotel, but rather to put it in the central underground city parking just across the river. It would be safer there I was told, and cheaper than parking on the street in front of the hotel, which had a fee and vandalism, even in the fairly 'nice' part of town where we were. The underground parking garage attendant was cheerful and helpful and waved us to a special zone right by his booth and chained it off, so it was extra safe for the few days it would remain there. We then walked across one of the picturesque river bridges back to the hotel in less than 5 minutes.


    Ok that's all for today. Next installment, a bit of the sights of Prague (a rockin' city BTW), then off on the bike south through the Bohemian Forests to Austria... stay tuned. :thumb
    #12
  13. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University

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    subscribed!

    I really enjoyed rerading Uwe and Ramona's reports published in Two Wheels so great to hear more of and about them!

    Shane
    #13
  14. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    Hi Shane, my RR may not be as exciting as Uwe and Ramona's world travels were, but later here I will have pictures Uwe took in the Dolomites and Alps with his big camera :thumb
    #14
  15. supercub

    supercub ass-less chaps rule!

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    WOW, what an awsome RR.your friend uwe sound like a pretty cool dude - especially setting you up with some really cool bikes and an excelent ride in germany. keep the pics coming!!!!!!!!

    maybe i'll see you around woodinvill sometime, or if you make it into monroe give me shout. BUT, keep the pics commmmmmmmming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:norton
    #15
  16. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    A few pix of hangin' out in Prague

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    Melissa finally reaches her destination, and it was a cool art museum.

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    And our last day in Prague draws to a close, back on the bike tomorrow!


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    We would go back to Prague again, it was a fun city. Great mix of old a new.

    #16
  17. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    Heading out of Prague I caught a quick shot of this wild building! Wonder who the architect was?

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    Riding South through the Czech Repubulic, heading for Austria.

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    Lots of rolling farmlands and scattered forests.

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    And we finally reach the Czech/Austria border, also abandoned due to the European Union


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    Very little traffic everywhere we went.
    #17
  18. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    Anyone know what/where Mattighofen is?

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    Yep, it's the "M" in KTM, the town in Austria where the KTM factory is and located pretty close to where we crossed the Czech border.


    Since we were riding on a Big Orange, I had to go have a look see.

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    It was a Sunday, so the plant was closed. My wifes uses a bit of KTM lawn to relax :lol3

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    I chatted with one engineer who came by to get something at the office and he said they don't really do factory tours except for VIP's. Joe Public can just hit the Bleed Orange Gift shop, which we can all do online anyway, so no big loss.



    Orange Central!

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    They had all their models in a very long glass tunnel all along their main factory. This is just a section of it!

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    Actually they have many support factories spread out around the town of Mattighofen but this was the main campus.

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    It was getting late in the day so we looked for a place to stay in Mattighofen. We had a bite to eat for lunch in town and saw quite a few KTM bikes zip by, also quite a few KTM990's rode by. This was the only time I saw KTM990s in several thousand miles of riding all over Europe on this trip. In fact often wherever we stopped in our trip people came up to take pictures of the 990, having never seen one before.

    The waitress told us of one of the only places to stay in the whole area and we ended up at a place in the town of Munderfing just outside of Mattighofen, at the Guesthouse Weiss.

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    Since there are very few hotels or guesthouses in Mattighofen (industrial town), turns out this is the lodging where KTM usually puts their VIP's and racerboys when they come to visit. All the Dakar riders, MX and Enduro guys like David Knight have stayed here too. The owner said we just missed Cyril Despres by a day.

    It's a modest but nice place, good food and great owners who spoke very good English and they had WiFi! You can tell it's a company town because we saw Sunday picnics in peoples backyards as we rode by and the pop-up awenings and sun covers all had the KTM logo on them!

    I parked the bike inside on a porch

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    #18
  19. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    Meanwhile, as we were settling in...

    Uwe had started his trip from Germany down to meet us in Austria the day before. I called him and told him where we were staying and he would meet us the following morning in Munderfing.



    Here are his pictures of his solo trip down from Germany on the KTM690E.

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    He camped the night on the way down

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    And then headed down to meet us



    We meet in the parking lot at the Gasthof Weiss. As we were packing an old guy rode up on his bicycle to chat with us, well, with Uwe since I don't speak much German

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    He was very interested in the bikes and had a lot of stories to tell.

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    He had the coolest bicycle bell ever and I lusted after it an told him so via Uwe.

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    He said in essence "no way!" That bell was very old and he would not part with it, but we had a big laugh. :lol3

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    #19
  20. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    We headed off into the mountains for our first taste of the Alps. Uwe promised to show us his favorite routes and sights in the Alps since he has ridden and guided tours here many times.

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    Off in the distance, our stop for the night in the town of Tamsweg, Austria.

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    Our lodging for the night in Tamsweg.

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    The view from our room balcony :D Rural eh?

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    Uwe dashed off to meet with a friend of his in this town and we went for a hike

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    The old castle church on the hill caught our interest so we hiked up there.

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    The view from the little road to the church was nice, town of Tamsweg.

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    The old castle at night from our room

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    #20