A trying couple of days in some respects… We left Kathryn’s on Saturday afternoon, thinking we’d get to the Austrian border by the evening. Unfortunately, the “A8; Stuttgart richtung München, am Aichelberg zwischen Merklingen & Mülhausen” (a well-known and feared traffic announcement in Baden Würtemberg) traffic jam bit us hard (“wegen Bergungsbearbeiten”). In short, we covered just 8km in over 3 hrs, and any thoughts of getting to Austria vanished. In fact, we only made 60km all day.
Eventually we got to the head of the queue, just to find the Autobahn was closed & all traffic was being taken off onto the side roads. After about 5km, we happened across a “Wohnmobilstellplatz” in Bad Ditzenbach: This is akin to the French “aires” (see my earlier post) insofar as you can park up overnight for free, or for just a modest fee.
Yesterday morning, we set off relatively early (for us) and hammered (relative term for our motorhome, approx = 60mph) down past Ulm (stopping first in Blaubeuren to admire the bare cliffs). Before we got as far as the Algaü, it had started to rain and get colder. We stopped at Heiterwang – just over the border in Austria – at another Stellplatz; this time with great facilities, and a Gasthof attached! Wienerschnitzel mit Pommes for me & a Tyrolean version of Käsepätzle for Joy; both excellent.
The food was accompanied by the host who entertained us with the piano accordion, guitar and his singing.
The wireless internet was – however – troublesome to say the least, taking several hours to try to download an Italian camping book. The rain, in the meantime, had completely failed to ease up.
Overnight, the rain continued to not ease up. Quite the opposite, in fact. The temperature dropped to around 6 or 7 degrees, too. The main skylight in the van – the one that had leaked previously and had allegedly been fixed – leaked. The waste bin was pressed into service as a water collection device.
This morning, it was pretty damn cold, and still pouring down. When we stayed in Heiterwang several years ago – camping in a tent – we had a similar rain problem then (though not as cold). We came to the same conclusion this time as we did then: head to Italy asap.
However, the scenery around Heiterwang is stunning, even in the rain – and is worth seeing despite the cold:
As we were getting ready to leave this morning, a group of Belgian bikers – all on big Harley-Davidsons – who’d stayed the night in the Gasthof, were leaving. As a special goodbye, the landlord climbed up to the roof with his baritone saxophone, and played them out!
Quite bizarre, but not to be missed.
We then pressed on down through Austria, via Innsbrück, and over the Brenner Pass into Italy. It’s about a 50mile long descent from the Brenner, and it was getting warmer all the way – just what we needed.
We eventually arrived at a Sosta (an Italian version of an aire) in Lazise, near the bottom end of Lake Garda. Al fresco dinner with a glass of wine watching the sun set. We feel we’re there.
Dunno what’s going on with their wireless internet, though: my phone connected immediately with no problem. My Kindle won’t connect at all. Joy’s phone won’t connect and the laptop won’t connect. Most strange. Joy’s phone eventually managed to connect but we don’t know why, but no such luck with either the laptop or the Kindle. So what, I don’t hear you cry? Well, I would have liked internet access on the Kindle ‘cos I have the Times & Sunday Times app on there, and the laptop ‘cos I can’t write this blog from my phone! In the end, I was able to use my phone as a WiFi access point for the laptop, and this is the happy result.