Monday 11th September & Tuesday 12th September – Vienna
Stopped at the border to buy a Vignette (Austrian road toll) and were surprised to see border officials pulling over all cars and trucks. They were checking all car boots and all vans were required to open cargo doors for inspection.
We fully expected an inspection of Ziggy but the officials just smiled and waved us through without passport or Ziggy checks. Seems they are not interested in vehicles with GB number plates or maybe the Aussie sticker had something to do with it – then maybe two old folks were of no interest to them.
Now well over 6 months into our travels and no Schengen checks so far.
We had met two German motorhomers in Bratislava who gave us the thumbs up for a place to stay just outside of Vienna so we thought we would try it.
Our camping spot for two nights: Parking Pillichsdorf 15kms from Vienna
We are travelling in familiar territory now as we spent some time here on our first European tour in the summer of 1978 (July and August) with my mother’s relatives in Eisenstadt (just outside Vienna).
Since then we have had a few other trips here but always during the winter months – 2001 skiing in Saalbach and Hinterglemm, 2002 skiing in Hopfgarten and Soll and 2005 skiing in Obertauren.
Very different now in Summer with the lush green pastures replacing the snow covered trees and mountains. Both very beautiful seasons of the year.
We visited many places in Vienna back in 1978 including Schoenbrunn Castle so did not revisit these places again -(think we had 4 Weiner Schnitzels in 1 day for lunch and dinner with 4 different sets of relatives)
Pillichsdorf is only a very small village and the Stellplatz is provided by the local tennis and sporting club. It only takes 5 motorhomes and provides all facilities one might need. WC and shower are in the tennis club house and are really great. They leave a key outside in the meter box. You can have a game of tennis if you want but they do not provide racquets – plenty of balls though.
Only small negative is that you have two trains to catch into Vienna – one little train (station is just across the road) but that connects after only one stop (Obersdorf) to a fast luxurious train that takes you right into Vienna within 30 minutes. Both trains work on the same timetable so no waiting (return trip get onto back carriage of fast train so that you can quickly get to small train before it departs – only waits a minute for you so if you get off at the front, you may miss it – we did and had to wait half an hour for next train.
Weather was miserable in the afternoon so opted to take a walk around the little village today and head into the big smoke next morning. Very little to see in the village but the bikeways are excellent.
Left early to make the most of the day (still miserable) and easily caught the trains right into Vienna Mitte. There is a huge shopping mall opposite the train station and a city map which also shows the subway systems – available in English from the Information counter. Also picked up a prepaid SIM card there from the “3” shop which covers all EU countries and can be topped up monthly via Internet.
Spent the whole day walking through this romantic city which is full of every conceivable museum you would ever want to see. – statues, fountains and old architecture mixed with the modern and ultra new.
Some of our favourite spots being Church of St Charles, City Hall and the most amazing St Stephens Cathedral and the wonderful malls in and around here. Stadt Park itself takes a couple of hours to explore.
You could easily spend a week in Vienna and the easiest way to explore it is with the Hop On and Hop Off Buses. Most major cities have them and whilst we chose to walk it ourselves, we were completely exhausted at the end of the day and welcomed the rattle and hum of the train on the way back. I think we both fell asleep at different times on the homeward journey but managed to get off at the right station.
Thought about taking the Hop On and Hop Off Buses next day to see anything we missed the previous day.
Wednesday 13th September
Woke up next morning (very late) to a beautiful blue cloudless day but decided to move on and spend more time driving for a few days instead of walking.
Roads are just super here and Ziggy just purrs along. We are opting to avoid the highways and motorways and pass through many quaint little villages, often stopping along the way for breaks and sightseeing.
We are keen to revisit some of our favourite skiing spots and places we have been to before and heading toward the Danube and the Romantic Road.
Our camp for tonight: Parking Ottenschlag
Set just on the outskirts of this small town, this camp stop borders a forest and a small lake. It is a Stellplatz run by the community here and a small payment of €5 is requested to be paid at the Town Hall. No cooking for the chef tonight so we head for town to pay our fee and to find the illusive quaint little bar/restaurant. It is Wednesday and we find the many eating places closed (“Ruhig Tag” it is known as which means “quiet day”) it’s their day off. – ugh!. We pass by the Town Hall which is closed and on our way home, the alluring smell of food hits the nostrils and like the Pied Piper we are drawn to the castle grounds where the smells seem to be coming from. Part of the ground floor of the castle has been transformed to a bar and restaurant with so much character. Dimly lit bar with stone walls, Austrian artefacts and pictures in every little nook and cranny. “Heuringer Im Schloss” is the name and run by Helga Wimmer. We ordered two beers (in German) and Helga speaks back to us in English!!! Didn’t know our German was that bad.
Had a really great conversation with her and talked about a soup my mother used to make – Griessknodelsuppe. It wasn’t on the menu but chef made it for us – how good is that. Got to say it wasn’t as good as mums but really special that they made it for me. The place was packed and every man and his dog (yes dogs are allowed in everywhere in Europe) came in. Had a great night.