Saturday, 3 December 2011

98 Escape from Chekoslovakia

Wednesday 30th Nov.
Well, I would like to say that today was interesting but in all honesty I have no idea if it was.
We awoke early and it was foggy but the sun was doing its best to break through. I had a job to do today and that was to change one of the Universal Joints (UJ) on the rear axle. Fortunately I had the foresight to take a spare with me from the UK. I had intended to do it in the hotel car park but it was so cold it was impractical. I decided to do it on the road when the weather warmed up a bit. We left the hotel in brilliant sunshine and drove the 6 or so kms to Banja Luka. By the time we got there the fog was back and it was freezing again. That set the scene for the rest of the day. We saw nothing other than tarmac, barriers and vehicle tail lights for the rest of the day. Hence no pictures today !
We drove the 50 odd kms back into Croatia and stopped at a service station in the middle of foggy nowhere and I changed the UJ after taking the prop-shaft out. An hour later and we were on our way again a Gromit was not sick anymore. She was running very smoothly and she felt like a new vehicle.
So then it was North east, through Zagreb (it could have been the moon for all we could see) and then into Slovenia. We thought we would spend the night in Ljubljana but could not get a room. The only one we could find wanted an extra 20 Euros to take Leon. Needless to say they did not get our money.
We punted around a bit more in the now dark fog and decided to stuff Ljubljana and drove off into Italy in the darkness. We eventually found somewhere that would not take Leon, but it was nearing midnight, so we had no choice but to leave him out in Gromit along with the freezing weather.
All in all a pretty crap day, but as has been said, “A bad day travelling is better than a good day at the office”. 4 countries in one day is a bit much.

Thursday 1st Dec.
We arose very early and were packed and ready to go before the completely crap 7am breakfast. We were not comfortable leaving Leon out in the freezing cold. As it turned out, he was fine and very warm when we opened Gromit for him to get a run around. At 8am we were on the road, 2-3 hours earlier than normal for us. This time the weather was glorious.

We drove West and then turned North for the Brenner pass that goes to Innsbruck in Austria. We took the scenic route and the sat nav topped out at 2200m high. It was beautiful.

Sadly we were almost out of fuel whilst Karen was driving up this pass and we were not sure we would make it. We did in the end without any problems. We had intended to stay at a campsite near St Anton but on arrival it was closed and in any case the temperature was so variable we decided to press on into Lichtenstien, the smallest country in the world I think (really.)
All the way there, there were whole valleys that looked as though they were in the Ice Age film set. It was very pretty but also very cold. One minute the temperature gauge said 6 deg and the next it was minus 2. We eventually got to Lichtenstein at dusk and again, we struggled with a hotel, this time they were all fully booked. 

We took one hoteliers advice and drove 2km up the road and crossed the border into Switzerland where we found an expensive (it is Switzerland after all) but hostel type hotel. Even the toilet was communal, however the food was very good and we were knackered so it was an early night for the travellers. Another 4 countries in one day. We cannot keep this up.

Saturday 3rd Dec.
A quick drive back into Lichtenstein to get some goodies and stickers for Gromit. This country is tiny. We saw half of it in about 15 minutes. It is a Principality which is essentially a small Monarchy and is ruled over by a Prince as opposed to a King.

We got the bits we needed and did a swift U turn and 10 minutes later we were in Switzerland and heading rapidly up the mountains.
We passed last nights hotel on the way out. It was a wierd place with a communal toilet and little in the way of furnishings. It was more like a hostel. Add to that the fact that there was a bowling alley underneath the rooms and we had a very noisy evening.
It was then up and up and up.....again.

Health and safery have a different meaning here.

Its cool for cats....

A typical village we drove through

This was an ubderground roundabout....with Christmas decorations !

The castle in Schafhausen

An idillic way of lafe.

We then crossed the German border and headed North for Donaueshingen where we stopped for a Kebab (or Kebap in German). We gathered our thoughts and then headed for Naustadt and eventually found a hotel that was not full. Outside was a Christmas market being set up. Tomorrows first visit....

1 comment:

  1. Still having a fab time travelling. Soon i will be free to do what I want too and no more work. Seeing the pictures when you went through the Brennerpass brought back memories from 35 years ago. I went to Merano in italy from Germany. Take care travellers and enjoy. Xx