Day 48 - Wet, Wet, Wet

Tuesday 12th August 2014

The weather has closed in. Thunderous rain hammers down as the Eastern Alps are enveloped in a huge depression, a weather system that is drowning most of North West Europe. We are going nowhere today.

Fortunately we don't have to and Gasthof Hochalmspitze is a comfortable place in which to do nothing.

We chew the fat, read, reminisce, even play on the table football game in the bar; all the while to the accompaniment of the heavy rain battering down onto the empty streets and hills.

 So no topical photos today. I'll just throw in a few highlight shots and see if anyone notices.

I'm thinking about the whole tour, now three quarters complete. Our time in Lauwe and Fladungen at the beginning of the tour seems an awfully long time ago now.

At the Lauwe party

On the MFU retro coach

We passed the 6,000 mile marker a few days ago and I am still mentally processing all the amazing images and experiences on this trip.

Thank goodness for digital cameras. I have nearly 1,500 pictures on my iPad so almost everything we have done can be easily recalled. So different from holidays years ago before digital technology when only fading memories and a few hardcopy photos remain to remember them by.

In the late eighties (I think) I attended a lecture by the Japanese scientist who invented (or is it discovered?) UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) technology, a discovery that revolutionised networking methodology.

What do you think Erik? Rubbish, Dave

His theme was of the vast changes and enormous progress that digital technology would bring to the world; that the new science was as important to man as the invention of the wheel, the smelting process, or the industrial revolution.

At the time I really didn't get it. The personal computer was in its infancy. The mainframes I was working with at the time had 512k of RAM (that's kilobytes, not gigabytes, not even megabytes). 8 million times less than my laptop at home nowadays. The upgrade of my mainframe from 256k of RAM to 512k cost in excess of £200,000.

Code had to be damned tight and efficient in those days. It's easy for an old hacker to sneer at today's bloatware. However the old Japanese guy was so enthusiastic about all the new stuff that was just around the corner. Now as my GPS tells me where I am to within a few metres and my phone talks to my iPad and laptop and TV so seamlessly, I can finally see where he was coming from. It's an amazing world we live in.

Mick (just out of shot) doing donuts at Route 69

I think the Romanian part of the tour was the most exhilarating so far. New ground for me and certainly the most foreign feeling so far. All doom-laden advice to the contrary, we found the people tremendously welcoming and generous, the countryside stunning and the best roads absolutely magnificent.

After we had run the Transalpina we were told that the road is officially closed. Apparently a tourist crashed off an uncompleted section where there were no safety barriers, sustaining serious injury, and is currently sueing the authorities. Their response is to declare the road closed, resulting in no accident and emergency services.

This may be true or an urban myth. It does explain why there are so many unfinished sections and no sign of work crews. All I now is that it was fantastic. Every adventure biker should go for it now, not wait until it is tamed and 'europeanised'.

Gratuitous Transfăgărășan shot



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