Chapter 2              Written / Published  2.08. /  5.08.15              Pics by author, unless indicated

      HOME                    THE  WINNER  GAVE  IT  ALL           Given your all - Now what

 

In this chapter join me as we commence to relive my 2015 two-months trip to Europe. As in previous books, many chapters will begin with domestic happenings (life goes on) and continue abroad. Shall we call it time-travel?

 

Unlike the 2012 five-months jaunt, and all other overseas trips since 2003, this time I travelled not on my own, but was fortunate to have the company of my cloud-gazing, storm-chasing meteorologist son Jon, who shares my love for bike riding.

 

On the morning of writing, a Sunday, I only managed the above two paragraphs, plus naming the chapter - I love J. (An image, later in the chapter, is the reason.)

 

Two hours later in church,  J surprised. LOVE it.

 

2.  I love J

"Finding a 20 cent coin on the roadway is nothing special," my wife commented, after I returned from my ten kilometre evening bike ride through our neighbouring suburbs. If  there were not more to the story, of course, we'd all have to agree. Only a person who loves money would get as excited as I was with the find in my pocket.

The bible calls the love of money the root of all evil. Thank God, I don't suffer from this destructive compulsion. I was stirred because of the timing of my find.

Has anybody ever done a study, how long it would take, on average, to find any coin in the street? In the US, I know, a one-cent, or two cent coin, could be found quickly. The higher the value of a coin the longer it would take to locate one.

It was only an hour or so, after having worked for days writing and launching the first chapter of Book 14, when I took the above mentioned bike ride and found this:

 20 cent coin (NZ) found, corner McIntyre / Bridge Rds.

Remember, in Bk.14, Chapter 1 the No.20 surprised us a few times, not the least football player No.20, whose team won 2:0 on the 20th of the month. Why should I not feel like the women in the bible, who threw a party, because she had lost and found a valuable coin?

At the very beginning of the same bike ride, within hours of uploading WINNA at 103, and only meters from our house, I spotted two registration plates. Amazing, how they fitted:

One was this van, WIN ... which I captured on camera, because it was parked.  

The other car, seconds later, registration plate ...103, was moving. (Sorry, no picture)

(Readers may believe the trivia I write, or they may dismiss it as fantasy, it makes no difference to me. Para Hills may be our suburb, but that does not mean I am para ... no...id.

- - - - - - -

Later I spotted more surprises, which followed my book launch. During the evening TV News on the screen appeared a close up of a yellow school bus. The number spooked me - 1401.

The next morning came an interview of a high-flying Olympic Champion. The young lady holds three world records, the latest being the first woman in history to perform the quad-twisting somersault.

While listening to her story, and watching footage of her aerial skying acrobatics, my inquisitive mind started to wonder, what her name was. When it appeared on the TV screen - Lydia Lassila, I took a closer look at the letters. Sure enough, there were 3 A and 3 L in her name, plus five more Y D I SS I.

By decoding SS, making  L o V e  out of SS, we could create - WHY I love ID - Weird, but stimulating to behold.

- - - - - - -

As mentioned in the introduction, on Sunday morning August 2nd I had very briefly opened my P/C, hoping to work on this chapter. There were distractions and I only managed to write the opening paragraphs. During those few moments I had the inspiration to name this chapter - I love J. The thought was inspired by a photograph I had taken during my travels in the Czech Republic. (Shown at the end of this chapter).

At the very beginning of the church service, only two hours later, the large image on the big screen took me by surprise. It was the theme for that morning's worship service - LOVE. Despite my wife's disapproval, I sneaked in this photo from my seat:

 

<<<  But the greatest of these is - LOVE.

The theme that day was obvious. The scripture 1. Corinthians 13. The children's segment started with one question the storyteller asked the little ones: 

Who do you love? A good question for all.

 

The preacher, Dave, challenged the congregation, if their daily life was really reflecting the attributes of love, as described in the scripture:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." (1. John 4, 20).

At this point in my writing*, great timing, on Stuttgart's Radio SWR4 the lyrics are sung: I just called to say I love you..." 

(*6.28 AM, 3.8.15, I had only minutes earlier tuned into their web radio. It was the first time in 4 or 5 months.)

God is LOVE. HE loves to just call in to say: "I love you!" Love is the debt we all owe our fellow citizens. (Romans 13, 8). What I found puzzling in recent years: Why is there an ever increasing hostility towards Christianity, when love is the central theme of its teaching.

The answer is sad: "Many call themselves Christian, even go to church, but as soon as they leave the building, they live life their way. Too often I speak to people about their faith. Too often I realize by their response they once went to church, but were hurt by hypocrites, whose ear may have heard many sermons, but they never acted on any of them. 

"Be not merely hearers to the word, thereby deceiving yourselves, but doers." (James 1, 22)

- - - - - - -

At the end of the service, as if the letter J was stalking me that day, I got talking to a family, who were visiting our church; a teenage boy, his mother and grandparents. His name sounded like Jadan, his mother's name Janet. Grandmother, who introduced them, made a point of saying that names with the letters J run in the family. Her name was Joan. She pointed out that a Jesse was also a close relative.

I thought, what strange timing? Hours after I had that morning given this chapter the title I love J. Obviously, there were others in the world, who love the tenth letter of the alphabet. On leaving, I joked: "Say hello to Jim for me..."

- - - - - - - 

    Pic: johnnyjet.com

 

It wasn't a love for the letter J when my wife and I christened (nice word - christ.ened) our youngest son Jon. When our baby, in 2015 aged 25, suggested he I and take a cycling holiday in Europe, it took about half a nanosecond for me to say yes!

Earlier in the year I had considered to be visiting my ill brother in Germany during 2015. From there it would have been relatively close to London, where from 1-5 July a major event called Boundless was to take place,  All stops were Go!

Adelaide to Dubai was a long, tedious 13 hours in the seat of the full Boeing 777-300. In the seat-pocket in front of me was the Emirates on-board magazine. Casually looking through the travel section, reading about an exotic destination somewhere on the airline's network, I paused when I saw an image of a motor car. It was its registration number, which took me in. I probably would not bother writing about it here, but take a look and see, what I discovered on the very day of writing this chapter. (Sorry to be coming back home, only moments after becoming airborne.)

 Ford Cortina J - AI - 153

Originally I saw this registration plate as JA 153 won.

Now that I drew attention to the letter J, why not J = A 1?

 

Below: After I opened my Boundless Bible Reading booklet, on the day of writing, I noticed a misprint (circled). The printer had omitted to insert 3. 

This drew my attention to the v 15 and v 18. Had the 3 been included - 3 Lives - it would make sense.

 

From very early in my writing, did the number 153 and 183 play a major role in many chapters. 138 symbolizes corruption in high places and ONE, who came to destroy those  evil deeds. 

 

The Emirates Boeing jet took my son Johnny, sorry Jon, and myself firstly to Dubai, then on a different plane on to Munich, Germany. On the second flight I had been allocated seat 55A, which arrived in Munich on 10.5.15 at 13.10 PM. 

It took about an hour to unpack our bikes at the airport terminal and away we cycled into the Bavarian sunshine. If we were supposed to be jetlagged, I did not feel it. I was too excited riding my GIANT on a German roadway. We had a little trouble finding the exit out of the airport precinct. Not many air travellers cycle or walk away after arriving on an international flight.

Dr. Google had found reasonably priced accommodation for us, close to the airport, and ideally situated for our departure to the Danube two days later. The name Dietersheim was only the beginning. The address of our Pension was No.1 Auweg (Au Lane). Loved it. Looking more closely at the map I found that we had to travel a short distance on State Road 301. 

 Dietersheim  >>>

 

On the other side of the Isar River, just below Dietersheim, note the name of a village called Fischerhaeuser. (Heim = home, Haeuser = houses).

 

 

We stayed in Dietersheim, Pension

Hanrieder, because it was close

to the airport and reasonably priced. 

Ismaning is another, very interesting name!

 

The next major town north in above map is a place called Freising.

Anyone searching for the name Dieter Fischer in Google will find many. My website happens to be among the top listings. However, a German actor named Dieter Fischer, at the present time, ranks on top. His birthplace happens to be Freising.

 

How weird: Researching Dieter Fischer I note, he appeared in the long-running German crime show SOKO 5113. Should we be more surprised about 5OOK or  the Ford, above - J A I I 5 3?

 

As I sat the next morning in the cosy, beautifully decorated breakfast room, the table loaded with a variety of sliced meats and cheeses, fresh bread rolls and crispy pretzels, I said to my son Jon: "I think I died and gone to heaven". Germans really know how to serve a good breakfast.

It must have been one of the first real warm days in Munich. Everybody seemed to be out and about. Real keen sunbakers had their towels spread out on islands in the middle to the Isar River. (The next best thing to Bondi beach). We took our time exploring the Bavarian metropolis. Jon sat on a shady bench seat and skyped his love back home. We passed the landmark Rathaus (town hall) just in time to watch the Glockenspiel at 12 noon.

Later we ate lunch at the popular Viktualien Markt, sausages and sauerkraut, what else? The world famous Hofbräuhaus was a must for Jon, a home brewer. I loved the brass band, which provided the appropriate atmosphere for this huge beer hall / restaurant (Picture below).

  Brass band in Munich's famous Hofbräuhaus.

<<< You can easily guess the tune: "In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus eins, zwei ..."

 

 

Moments after this picture an important looking person seemed to be the centre of attention. People took his photo or squeezed beside him to be in it.

I asked the person next to me, who this person was. None other than the Minister for Finance, Markus 5öder, had made a public appearance. A brief info session online revealed more about this popular politician.

 Wikipedia informs, this gentleman had called for stronger protection of religious symbols and a strengthening of the blasphemy laws, after a TV Channel broadcast offending cartoons.

Such a politician deserves to be elected President! I noted his party is the CSU - pronounced >>> Sees you!

 

Our first all-day ride from Munich north toward the Danube River almost turned out a fiasco. No, we didn't have a crash. Falling off the bike came a few days later. Around mid-day that Tuesday, after having cycled about 40 kilometers, I suddenly remembered that I had left some clothes hanging in the cupboard in Room 26 in Auweg, Dietersheim. 

After stopping and telling Jon about it on that lonely country road, I expected a strong reaction by my possibly upset son. It was a little early to be spoiling his holiday. Lucky for me, he also had left clothes hanging in that cupboard, his expensive pair of jeans.

We decided to pedal on to the next town, Erding, the home of the world's largest wheat beer brewery ( Erdinger). Over lunch in an outdoor Cafe (I drank soft drink, no worry) we discussed, mostly argued, as to how to best get our clothing back. I certainly could not do without the two pair of trousers and shirts. Neither did we want to change our itinerary.

Thankfully, I had learned to talk to God in such circumstances. HE knows best what to do. The one who can turn our scars into stars knows how to turn mistakes into magic. So it was. 

Jon found a WI-FI connection. We took a closer look at the geography and realized we had not only made one mistake, leaving clothes behind, we had made two. Instead of following a roadmap, we did not have a real one, we relied on the app on the smart phone. We had not cycled due north-east, but  somehow, after Freising near Langenbach, we turned off in an easterly direction, then south in error. That's how we ended up in Erding.

Q: Why am I writing this in such detail? A: Composing these last few paragraphs I became aware that if we were to draw our detour on a map, Dietersheim - Freising - Langenbach - Erding,  it would create the letter J (upside down).

 

 

This J turned out to be our 'Saviour'. Jon worked out that, because of our mistake, after cycling about 45 kilomtres, were only 20 kilometers from our starting point - and the clothes we had left behind. 

Since it was a fine afternoon, we enjoyed the extra 40 kilometers of flat riding. That evening we had covered almost 140 km, good preparation for the long track to Prague, the interim destination of our tour.

- - - - - - -

The next day, thankfully, was much easier cycling. A brisk tailwind wind pushed us north-east along the Vils, a tributary to the Danube River. At Vilshofen we reached the Danube and paused for lunch. As we rested on a seat in the main street, two fellow riders arrived on their electric bikes. These are becoming very popular in Germany.

It surprised us that our fellow riders, as did many we met in Europe, had never heard of Adelaide. Was it our lack of promotion or their lack of education?  (No doubt, some would have believed us, had we told them, that the big bridge in Sydney links Australia with New Zealand).

Our destination for that day was Passau, which we reached in under two hours, riding on the famous Donau-Radweg (Danube Cycleway). It was still early in the season (May 13th) with little two-wheel traffic. We had been alerted to the fact that this route is very crowded in the high season.  

Just before reaching Passau the cycle-way crossed the Danube via an old fashioned ferry-on-demand. You ring the bell and wait.

<<< Jon on ferry, near Passau.

This small passenger ferry is driven merely by the current of the river; clever, ancient technology.

The lady operator has been doing the job for 30 years. She had taken over from her father. 

Passau is known as the 'Dreiflüsse Stadt (Three Rivers town.) Three rivers meet, the Inn, the Ilz and the Danube. Of its 50415 inhabitants about 11 000 are studying at the local university. In 2013 the old town was hit by the worst flooding since 1501.

 

Jon and I had booked a room at a cosy Pension, called Vicus, not far from the town centre. The owners have put a lot of their creative talent to work. It was evident throughout the building and guest rooms. For example, there was not merely a number on our door, but a framed piece of artwork with 21 at the centre.

The scenery along the river became more and more spectacular; one picturesque town after another, with the occasional castle sitting on top of a wooded hill. Looking at the scenery, however, became my downfall, literally.

I should have known better, after having taught new drivers over many years, to not get distracted while driving. Admiring the scenery just for a moment while riding, I collided with Jon.

It happened an hour out of Passau, we had just passed the 15 km sign. My front wheel touched my son's luggage, I lost balance and could not recover. Thankfully, I did not drag him down with me. I fell badly, landing on my bare elbow and left shoulder. Jon told me later my bike was on top of me. For a moment I lost consciousness, but got up seconds later, stumbled to my feet and held onto the handrail.

 

Minutes after the accident Jon repaired the slight damage to my bike; I had to attend to other important matters, like trying to stop the bleeding and ... taking photographs.

 

Before any suggestions that a 65-year-old man is too old for riding a bike, another cyclist, much younger, fell of his bike that same day.

 

 

It wasn't my son. >>>

He and I were on the road again in no time. Whilst we grew closer in other ways, on the road I kept my distance.

Albert Contador, at the finishing sprint of Stage 6 of the Giro d' Italia, also fell off his bike on Thursday 14.5.15. He was the tour leader at the time, but lost the stage win to Andrei Greipel, the German riding giant. Regular readers of my auto-bio may remember him. 

At 32 years AL is about half my age. According to Velonews.com, on the podium after the race, A.C. had his knee covered with an icepack and was touching his left shoulder, a sign of an injury.

  - - - - - - -

Because of the key-word left shoulder, let's for a moment return to Australia; to Melbourne / Victoria to be precise. About 20 years ago, I was riding my bike from Melbourne to Geelong, a distance of exactly 75 kilometres. It takes under an hour in the car, about an hour on a train, costing $ 11.00, and 35 minutes by chartered helicopter, which costs $ 5227.00.

Not far out of Melbourne on that fast stretch of highway I noticed an interesting sign. I asked my friend Bill to take this picture:

 

 

Photo: Bill Schroder

<<<  Cyclists use left shoulder. (Sign, between Melbourne and Geelong.)

My law-abiding mind was momentarily confused. There was an explanation, however: Cyclists had too many punctures on that stretch of highway.

However, since the sign was erected, those who followed instructions never ever had another puncture! (Took me 3 days to reach Geelong, but I got there, Bronny, ha ha). 

- - - - - - -

Jon and I were fortunate, during our entire ride together, there was no more mishaps, no punctures or mechanical problems, besides a minor adjustment to my Giant in Vienna. 

As long as I was not moving it, or trying to lift my left arm, the pain was bearable. Despite this, I wrote into my diary, I loved the next section from Schloegen to Aschach. It was one of my most enjoyable rides ever.

Linz was one of many places we left un-explored. We spent too much time looking for accommodation, which in hindsight we should have pre-booked. Riding long distance, without accompanying vehicle, keeps one busy with limited time for doing the tourist circuit.

Arriving at our next overnight stop, Melk, we knew exactly where we were staying - the four star Hotel Zum Schwarzer Baren. To our surprise we had been upgraded to the luxury suite in Room 201.

For some inexplicable reason, all our rooms numbers had included the number 2: Dietersheim (26) Hotel Bina, near Vilsbiburg (21) Passau (12) Linz (2) and 201 in Melk.

In Adelaide lives a person with the nice surname Herr, translated Mister or Lord. Herr Herr, who I regularly see through my voluntary work with the German-speaking community, comes from Melk. If he were to like the number 5, as I do, he would have been a little excited, as I was. 

The day my son and I came to Melk, Austria was commemorating the 60th anniversary of the signing of the treaty, which re-established Austria as a sovereign state, which was on 15.5.1955. (Interesting, the current Austrian President is Heinz Fischer, nice name too.)

At Melk we left the Danube track to ride the shorter distance via Polten. The skies were blue, bright sunshine, not too hot and a fresh tailwind. It pays to travel with a meteorologist.

 <<< Market square in Polten, Sat. 16.5.15.

 

 

The weather was perfect for the annual Bike Fest, a festival to promote everything bike.

There was a mechanic on hand for advise and minor repairs. Pity, nothing was wrong with our bikes.

In the next town TULLN, it wasn't bikes that were the centre of attention, but motor cars. Approaching the town we were glad we were on two wheels, the traffic was at a standstill, people everywhere. We knew that there was a major event happening - the 27th International Oldtimer Messe (Vintage Car Show). So much to see, so little time.

 

<<< Red Cross Ambulance

Hauptplatz, Tulln.

 

While eating a long lunch in the main square, watching passing traffic, I could not help noticing cars and their number plates. One was an exotic, vintage vehicle No. 639, with the letters YNC (or I C N?) on the side.

 

<<< This ambulance stopped quite a while right in front of us.

Ambulance 3-69 / 007. The Red Cross motto fits nicely into this chapter: Aus Liebe zum Mensche. Trans. For the love of man. (If my German grammar is correct, there should be a n at the end - Menschen?)

 

Later that Saturday afternoon we rejoined the cycle path along the Danube, just before Vienna. Two-wheel traffic had increased considerably. The glorious, early summer weather must have brought everyone out of hibernation. Jon was very clever finding the way right across the centre of Vienna to our hotel near Schonbrunn.

It had been a big day, travelling and otherwise. But it was such a beautiful mild evening, too good to waste. Straight after checking into our hotel, after a well deserved hot shower I cycled into the centre of Vienna. Crowds of people were out everywhere, cafes and outdoor restaurants filled with Viennese or visitors enjoying Saturday night out. 

There was another reason, why so much life. An event was taking place in preparation for the 2015 Eurovision Contest, which was to be held a week later. Australia was taking part for the first time in the 60 year history of this song contest. Jon, who that evening did his own exploration of Vienna, told me he saw Guy Sebastian, the young Australian chosen to represent our country.

Guy comes from Adelaide. He started his career as a singer at Paradise Community Church around 2000 B.T. (Before Tattoos). When I explained casually to someone later that I knew the man, that I used to play indoor soccer with the father of his wife, they were impressed.

A week later Guy landed an impressive 5th place in Eurovision 2015.

The year before the Austrian entry in the Eurovision contest had won. (That's why the event was held in Austria.) The person, he or she (not sure) had caused some confusion. She looks like a lady, but he also grows a beard. As I understand, this non-descript singer, is promoting a controversial lifestyle, using his/her new found fame as a platform. Riding around the centre of Vienna I came across these protesters:

 

<<< Brave bible believing Austrians tell it straight from God's word.

 

Was Conchita sagt ist Wurst (trans. what Conchita says doesn't count). This heading is a play on words. Wurst is the gender-confused singer's surname.

Romans 1 ,27: "Men committed shameful acts with other men and so received for themselves the deserved punishment for their error."

Friends, it takes fearless voices in our time, to stand up and speak out against the flood of iniquity, which is spreading all over the Western world.

In an ABC TV interview recently a journalist was trying to extract from the leader of the Palmer United Party, if he was in favour of same-sex marriage. The way the lady put the question was not only biased, it was downright misleading.

"If there were a vote in Federal Parliament, would you be in favour of it, since 23 advanced nation have now legalized same-sex marriage?"

What I found objectionable is the word 'advanced'. It implies that whoever is not in favour of same-sex marriage is standing in the way of progress. It implies, since advanced nations of the world accept same-sex marriage, Australia is a backward country, until we accept it too? Bulldust!

In my mind resonates the thinking of the early years of Nazi Germany. The propaganda machine of the Third Reich urged all to get behind the great dictator, who in the end led 55 Million to their death. A new era was coming, times have changed, get with it!

Anyone, who spoke up against the new order, was persecuted. As happened back then, persecution of certain people started with ridicule and progressed to economic boycott. Both are happening right now to those, who resist to 'get with it'. They stand firm in their believe, because some things will never change!

Thank God, HE who is in us, is greater than he who is in the world. (1. John 4, 4).

I felt a solidarity with these brave people, so I stood and listened for a while as they prayed and made their peaceful protest. On leaving I gave the thumbs up sign and called out: "We need more people like you!"

- - - - - - -

<<< Schonbrunn Castle.

This Baroque palace, a former summer residence of the House of Habsburg has 1441 rooms. It's the most architectural, cultural and historical monument in the country. It's therefore the most visited.

<<< The centre of Vienna in 2001 has been declared world heritage.

Since the 1600s Vienna has been regarded as the music capital of the world. The horse drawn carriages, seen everywhere in Vienna are called 'Fiakers'.

<<< Riesenrad am Prater.

The giant ferris wheel was built in 1897. It stands at the entrance of the Prater, the popular amusement park.

At 65 m it was the tallest of its kind until 1985. At 9.50 Euros it was worth the ride, with views all across Vienna.

 

 (Souce: Wikipedia)

- - - - - - -

Not only in Vienna but other places, where Jon and I shared a small hotel room, my snoring created much friction between us. Every morning he gave me two reports - the day's weather and the night's snoring. I had not realized how loud the noises were that I allegedly made. (I only make them when I'm asleep). Sleeping on my side, I thought, stopped the snoring, but not so, according to Jon.

From the breakfast room of our hotel, called HB1, near Schonbrunn Castle, we could see the elevated part of the castle. On Monday 18.5.15, the day we checked out, it was chaos in the breakfast room. All guests seemed to have arrived for breakfast at once, including a tour group from Korea.

I had to smile about a trap, which not only those foreign visitors fell into, but myself also. I should have known better, and read the sign (in German) first. Helping myself to the variety of foods I took an egg, thinking it was boiled, ready to eat. Until I cracked it onto my plate and the raw yoke and eggwhite oozed out. On leaving I noticed others, who had not read, or understood, the sign about boiling the egg first.

- - - - - - -

Riding north toward the Czech border, we first followed the Danube to Stockerau. The landscaped changed; more hills, but the superb weather made for some enjoyable riding.

In Hollabrunn we got a coffee for 1 Euro. 

Unusual, the way the houses in this village are all linked, no space between.       >>>

At a place called Guntersdorf, named after somebody Gunter, a white van pulled out in front of us, just as we were passing. His registration plate registered - HL12HL. (At the time I had the number 12 on my mind, see above).

Another village, before the Czech border, was named after Dieter, Dietersdoof, sorry Dietersdorf, ha ha. 

(What a difference one letter can make!)

 

Gone to confession? >>>

- - - - - - -

Before continuing our travels in chapter 3, moving onto Prague, here is the image, which inspired the title for this chapter:

 Turn left, J I L O V E   8. Note the digits 581 - publishing date is 5.8.15.

 

To finish, a photo of the town we shall commence our travels from in the next chapter:

Znojmo.

Photo: CzechTourism.com

 

Chapter 3

Index