2. Austrian Indian Tour 2007
Southstyrian Vineroads - 26.-27.08.2007
As we arrived in Gamlitz at the „Eckberger Hof“ on Saturday, the parkinglot was filled with live already. Some had made the journey with their trailers, others with a shorter distance, on their motorcycles. At late afternoon all the riders of the tour had arrived at the hotel and who wasn´t doing some last work on his Indian, had a nice, cold drink. As we had taken our rooms, a first view from the balcony showed us, what the next two days would be about. Right to the horizon the hills were covered with winefields and here and there a village or a small farm could be seen. The most similar landscape which I know, would be the italian Tuscany, but southern Styria is much more green. While dinner, Indian stories of the last two years were told and we had some glasses of the famous whitewines Welschriesling and Sauvignon Blanc. The group decided to shift the start of the tour to 9 a.m. next morning…
After a rich breakfast we started our engines and the tour began. From the first miles on, we rode through dense woods, passing by old farmhouses. After a short while the road went narrower, often under 3 meters. Steep the road went on, into the direction of St.Lorenzen im Walde. The fresh air in the woods was cool and you could smell the turf and the resin of needletrees. As we reached the highest point, cows were near the road, eating fresh grass. After a while the road headed downwards, back through the wood to the beginning of the Soboth Paßstraße. On the broad road we followed the curves up to the pass, and a few curves before we reached the end of the Soboth, we had a rest at the Magdalensberg. There we had a wonderful view over the plain which lay under us. On the flat roads of the Lavantvalley we increased our speed and at the first refuelingstop we heard about a oldtimermeeting in Ragglach. We decided to visit the meeting and use the stop for a small rest. As we arrived at the site, the crowd welcomed us very friendly. Although the meeting was well attended, many tractors, cars and motorcycles had arrived, no one had expected a bigger group of Indians. At the festivaltent we had lunch and after a look on the other oldtimers we were back on the road.
Through Wolfsberg we rode on to the next highlight of the tour, the Weinebene. After a long climb, we passed the treeboarder and were in alpine hights the first time of the rally. The air went cooler and the wind sharper each mile. At the peak of the Weinebene we had a little rest and the biggest challenge of the tour was behind us. Over the wide but partly very steep road, our Indians raced down to the valley. After a second fuelstop the landscape changed once more. On a very narrow road we headed west to the Hebalpe, passing woods, old farmhouses and fields of fruittrees. In this area the time stopped long ago. As we passed the peak of the Packsattel we went on to Ligist and there at the beginning of the Schilcherland Wineroad. On those roads we were always surrounded of winefields and rode through villages passing vinery after vinery. From the hills of St.Stefan we had a breathtaking view over the finishpoint of the first day, Stainz. As we arrived there, we parked our Indians in front of the hotel to take a picture. For the night the motorcycles were savely parked in a barn. After a four course dinner, Florian Gsottbauer presented a motorcycle film made in 1926. As the day had been long, we were in our rooms before midnight.
As we had finished breakfast next morning, we headed through Preding and St.Andrä in the Sausal to the Sausaler Wineroad. Another time we followed the grate of the hills, over steep roads, passing winefields and sleepy villages. After a small photostop we went back to the flat. As we had fewer altitudechanges that day, speed was much higher than on the last. We saw maizefields and fruitplantings and came closer to the Riegersburg were we had planned our midday rest. The motorcycles parked at the lot, we took the elevator up to the castle, what was honoured with a beautiful view over the surrounding area. As we finished the stop, we went on to Fehring and Bad Gleichenberg and stopped at a farm to get some of the pumpkin seed oil, which the region is famous for. After a short uphill section we reached Straden, Mureck and Ehrenhausen. Here at the beginning of the southstyrian Wineroad we enjoyed the last miles riding through this breathtaking landscape. Back at the Eckberger Hof hotel we had a nice, cold beer to celebrate the perfect tour. The weather couldn´t have been better, all motorcycles had made the full distance and the mixture of slow hill and mountain passages with fast flat roads had made everyone happy. After a refreshing shower the next highlight of the tour lay right before us. The last evening we would spend at Gamlitz Castle!
After we had arrived at the castle, the owner of the vinery Mr. Melcher welcomed us. With much knowledge and humor Mr. Melcher held the first part of the evening, the vinetasting. The atmosphere of the vinecellar was very impressive. A very big vinothek with thousands of bottles and the big oak and stainless steel barrels were lightend by dozens of candles. In the middle of the cellar our glasses were waiting for us and we had some Sauvignon Blanc, White Burgunder and yellow Muscateller. Simply delicious! After that, we went to the courtyard of the castle, were a large buffet was ready for us. There was homemade, smoked sausages, ham and bacon, grilled vegetables, cheese and fresh, warm bread. The food was once more accompanied by some glasses of regional vine and at the end, warm applestrudel and cheesecake was served. After I closed the tour with some words officially, the group had prepared a big surprise for Dorit and me. For our marriage, which had taken place at the 07.07.07, Peter Prill presented a drawing made by Manfred Fetscher to us. This and the other generous present made Dorit and me speechless. Thank you all soo much!!! After the evening in the castle, we went back to the hotel and I showed some rare film material from my own Indian collection.
At this point I want to thank all the people who helped to make the Austrian Indian Tour such a success. Rene Edenhofer for his beautiful Indian Chief 1935 which I rode, Peter Kleindienst for his technical work, Steffi Markut and Florian Gsottbauer for the cameracar and my wife Dorit and my father Fritz for their work with the video and photocamera.
I am really looking forward to Spring 2009, when the 3rd Austrian Indian Tour will take place.