If it doesn’t go according to the will…

…and it still makes sense (in hindsight) 🙃

The sudden (thriller-worthy) end to my long-planned and long-awaited wish/dream motorbike tour around the Mediterranean.

On the slightly sloping, still damp coastal road (5) in the Gulf of Patras (Greece), the rear wheel of the motorbike in front of me (Ralf and Kerstin, whom I met at the last campsite) suddenly slips briefly. Although I have a distance of about 50 metres at only about 60 km/h, I reflexively (of course, as an ex-MotoCrosser) pull the brake lever very lightly with two fingers – my front wheel immediately slips away and I slide almost without resistance sitting on the road next to my „Caribu“!
As the road bends slightly to the left, my motorbike and I get closer and closer to the crash barrier and to avoid crashing my body into one of the many sharp-edged crash barrier posts, I even have time to choose one of the nearest posts with my right foot to catch myself. There is a sharp pain in my midfoot and immediately afterwards a metallic crash from the Caribu, which has hit a post later.
I shout ‚Fucking crash barrier‘ and as I try to put weight on my foot, the angry cry turns into a pained yelp.
I hop over to the Caribu on one leg and see the severed front fork tube. Now that I realise that this (after almost 3 weeks and a good 5000 km – not even a quarter of the planned tour!) is probably the end of my Mediterranean circumnavigation dream, I hop on one leg and take one last photo.
Ralf must have seen it in the rear-view mirror, because he immediately turned round with Kerstin and explains to me that he didn’t have to do anything, as his rear wheel only slipped very briefly and the road immediately regained grip.
So I must have reacted too quickly and unnecessarily right at the beginning of the incomprehensibly slippery but not obvious section.
When I see that 20 metres further on, directly behind the crash barrier, there is a very deep vertical drop to the sea, I take back my insults to the crash barrier!

As more and more people join us, suddenly the police are there too, talking at me like crazy (in Greek, which is of course incomprehensible to the three of us). Then an old car is stopped on the opposite carriageway and, under my protests, I am pushed into the rickety box with the helpless elderly driver. It doesn’t seem to matter that it’s only 20 kilometres to Patras (the next big city) in our direction of travel. Ralf pushes the previously filled rubbish bag with my most essential items and helmet after me and says they will take care of the motorbike.
After an adventurous ride of almost 30 kilometres – during which I even forget the terrible pain in my right metatarsal for a few moments due to the fear of death – the probably drunk driver drops me off at a small hospital in Missolonghi in his almost brakeless clunker with steering problems.
While I’m lying alone for a long time on a cot in a kind of storeroom, someone suddenly reaches for my bin bag standing next to me – at the last moment I can just about grab it and clutch it tightly while small hands reach for my jacket, which I manage to save in time! It’s a gypsy woman with her children! I scream like mad with rage and terror so that they quickly leave the chamber and my long, painful wait is finally over as the nurses rush in.
It is already dark outside and there seems to be only one „white coat“ (with only a very poor knowledge of English) „working“.
After clearly explaining the pain in my metatarsal, he only x-rays my ankle? He dismissed my desperate explanation of the injury in my metatarsal with a snooty attitude.
To his relief, the x-rays of course show no visible injury and he gives me a few injections – which unfortunately only alleviate my great pain for a short time and only moderately!
After another long wait, I am put in an ambulance with a rubbish bag and X-rays, which takes me the 50 kilometres through the night and on the short ferry to a proper hospital in Patras.
Here, totally exhausted, I am immediately examined again, now by a doctor who speaks some English, who also listens to my pain report and x-rays my metatarsal.
4 metatarsal bones have been smashed through, just as I had caught my foot on the crash barrier post – through the sturdy motorbike boot sole! Shaking his head, he looks at the „healthy x-rays“ from the hospital and says: „Bungler“ and he shows me that the fracture ends of one of the broken bones are lying unsightly on top of each other. He thinks that a nerve is probably trapped between them, which is why I’m in so much pain.

He advised me to have it done in Germany as soon as possible, as it wouldn’t be completely straightforward.
He wanted to know what medication I would have been injected with at the hospital, as no one could be contacted there and nothing had been recorded in writing by the bungler – as of course I don’t know either, he could only give me mild painkillers and hope that I would somehow get some important sleep during the night.
Unfortunately, the totally overcrowded hospital was currently on strike again, which is why he wanted to apologise now.
At midnight, I am deposited in my rickety hospital bed somewhere in the totally dirty corridor between lots of other beds and a lot of traffic from the loudly helping and mostly smoking relatives. A plastic cup of water is placed on my side table and when I want to drink it all at some point during the almost sleepless night, I realise at the very last moment that several cigarette butts are floating in it!
When I doze off in the morning, I’m rudely awoken by two policemen talking to me in wild Greek and holding a Greek document under my nose for me to sign. Of course I don’t sign it (perhaps my death warrant), which enrages them and almost makes them violent.
Now I start (again) to scream in panic – which worked wonders for the gypsy family and the nurses who rushed over yesterday! The doctors who have now rushed over first send the policemen away and explain to me that I will be fitted with a plaster splint later and that if I leave the hospital immediately with it on, I won’t have to pay?
While I’m being fitted with a plaster cast, Ralf and Kerstin come and tell me that my „Caribu“ has been parked on the pavement here in Patras, but at least in front of a police station, so we can hope that at least the motorbike won’t be stolen or the luggage box locks won’t be broken.
Later, the policemen come back – with a Frenchman living in Greece who can speak a little English!!!
When he tries to bumpily translate the Greek police dictionary for me, I shake my head and start shouting effectively again.
I explain to my friends Kerstin and Ralf, who are of course also totally shocked, that it’s not panic or a state of shock, but just my very helpful emergency tool.
As they can’t do anything else for me at the moment and I’ve already held up their journey enough, I want to say a very fond farewell to them – when they ask how I’m going to manage this on my own, I just say that they’ve just been able to see how I’m managing quite well in this mess – as long as my voice doesn’t break 😉
With my huge, full bin bag under my arm, I hobble crookedly on crutches towards the uncertain (hospital) exit and quickly „borrow“ a wheelchair that seems to be waiting for me in a corner.
I am able to get to a phone box in the chaotic entrance hall a little more comfortably and call the ADAC international emergency service in Munich with my Euro protection letter.
After I explain my precarious situation to the man, he says: „You seem to know how to help yourself – take a taxi and negotiate a good price for the journey to the private clinic in Athens, a good 200 kilometres away. When you get there, you can relax and expect proper help.“
After quite some time, a taxi finally pulls up on the main road, gesticulating from behind my large bin bag, and the driver even agrees to the price suggested by the fit ADAC man.
We are right outside the private clinic in the centre of Athens when I am woken up by him a good 3 hours later! He could have driven me to hell, I slept so soundly – it was just a bit of action and a bit of sleep for little Frange the last 24 hours!!!
In the modern clinic, I am put into a 2-bed room with an old man, with whom I have a good chat for the rest of the day – when I’m not in (my) telephone conference (premiere) with ADAC, the German doctor and my travelling companion.
When I wake up the next morning, the dear old man has gone „home“ for good – which I report to the nurse, no longer wondering about anything.
The care at the private clinic leaves nothing to be desired (perhaps Frange is extra frugal after all he’s been through), only my planned return journey seems to cause the ADAC greater concern, as I can’t actually leave the country without my motorbike registered in my passport, but the operation in Germany can’t wait for the bureaucratic weeks!

Fortunately, there are many pages between the motorbike entry and Frank’s entry in the passport and we hope that it won’t be noticed, as I prepare the passport so that it automatically pops up when you put it down.
My travelling companion is a woman from Stuttgart who lives in Athens and is therefore able to visit her old home from time to time free of charge thanks to her part-time job at the ADAC.
She is always at my side on the journey through Athens (where it snowed a few days ago – in early May, mind you!) in my wheelchair (which is officially borrowed this time). We are only separated at the airport between check-in and boarding the aircraft, of course, as I have to get onto the plane via the goods lift.
My passport opens as planned when I enter and although you can clearly see the helmet in the large rubbish bag in front of me (not only during the X-ray), no one (or everyone) is suspicious – the Greek mentality helps me this time.
As an airport employee pushes me in my wheelchair (under huge wings) across the huge tarmac towards the aircraft, I suddenly notice a few metres ahead of us the elongated openings of a rain gutter grille exactly in our direction of travel! I hope that the small front wheels of the wheelchair don’t just disappear into it – but they do – and I am tipped out of the wheelchair with a swing, but manage to save myself by jumping forwards quickly, clutching the large bin bag tightly, landing on one leg in front of the tilted wheelchair.
My slider is deathly pale – and up on the viewing terrace and behind the viewing windows, enthusiastic people are applauding.
I give him a quick hug with a wink and the bin bag between us and then enjoy my panoramic ride on the open freight lift up to the aircraft!
The flight home is frighteningly smooth, almost boring 😉
At the hospital in Böblingen, to my pleasant surprise, I am looked after by my former classmate Beate, who works here as a theatre nurse.
From here, I get in touch with my parents, who are only now able to help me – and who have been spared a lot of worry as a result.

Without this accident and the resulting cancellation of my trip, I probably wouldn’t have been able to let go of my well-paid, secure job at the cold Mercedes-Benz Group so easily and something new wouldn’t have fallen to me.
Namely the friendly two-man company Stetzler in Aidlingen where Udo, the boss, wanted to employ me since my „Caribu self-build“ was registered with the TÜV to his astonishment and I now worked with plaster as a trial and was then allowed to contribute my labour and ideas with great pleasure for seven years…
So in the end, everything makes sense – thank you dear „life…“ 😍

A few weeks later, the ADAC brings my „CARIBU“ home. Apparently it had been parked on the street in front of the Greek police station the whole time and the only thing that disappeared from the unlocked aluminium boxes was a porn magazine that I had bought in Rome – there’s always a little bit of shame and the law enforcement officers are allowed a little fun on duty 🙃

That was in the summer of 1987.
In 1994, life took me to what has since become my home in Swedish Lapland clone to the Arctic Circle, where in 2016 I suddenly got the sign for a unplanned aimless cycle tour that took me to and through China in a WONDERful way.
The nightmarish end of this tour is even more incredible with life-threatening illness, kidnap attempt, theft, damage to property, death threat, slander, bounty hunting, conspiracy, arrest, corruption, court, deportation camp, horror prison, deportation… and finally leads to the freedom of my soul mate (and since 2017 wife) Xiao.
Due to the Swedish mentality and the events in the world, the supposed nightmare was only over four years later – life knows and can – if you trust it completely 😍

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert