2018/05/26 – Austria – the smallest villages with the biggest surprises

Saturday 26th May 2018

Every day of travel just brings more beautiful scenery and wonderful little villages.  It is not difficult to keep harping on about it and at times, find it difficult to say more than has already been said so many times before.  The colours of spring flowers and the green rolling hills continue on forever.

Our campsite for tonight:  Festgelande Horn, Horn – GPS 48.672249N   15.6607760E

Arrived on what appeared to be the beginning of a festival so after a short half hour walk we came across some entertainers on stilts, singing and playing some very interesting instruments.  

Interesting entertainers – each with an amplifier and speaker on their hips

Lots of young families enjoying the entertainment.  Thought we were in for a real treat in town but soon found there was nothing else happening. 

There is a castle in town but not open for public viewing, however the park surrounding it was just beautiful so enjoyed the stroll through.

Horn architecture

Temperatures are mid to high twenties during the day now so the walks are becoming restricted to early or later in the afternoons.  Liquid refreshments of course a necessity often and dieting is out of the question until we come home.

Interesting statue in Horn

The campsite itself is set in a large greenfield which is also used for festivals as the name suggests and has a soccer field at the other end.   Locals walk their dogs, grandmas walk their grandkids – it is really lovely and cool with large shady trees.

Horn architecture

Being a Stellplatz it offers services on a user pay basis with a small camping fee – though could not find anywhere to pay this.

Sunday, Monday & Tuesday 27th – 29th May

We travelled through the mountainside today where the forests of massive pine trees bordered the road km after km.   

In the middle of nowhere, we stumbled across a field where a museum of stick objects made out of metal was on display for a short time as part of an upcoming festival.   Literally hundreds of them some being a couple of metres tall.   Abstract versions of everything possible including animals, people, trees, machines etc. 

Outdoor stick object museum

A few kms further on we came across the biggest flea market you have ever seen – right in the middle of a forest.  There were cars parked on both sides of the street for miles.  We found this very strange as it was nowhere near any village or town.

Our campsite for three nights:  Badesee, Waldhausen im Strudengau – GPS 48.284199N   14.958830E

Another gem in the middle of nowhere and certainly highly recommended.

It is set amidst farm land with sheep grazing only a few metres away.  A huge lake is only a few steps away where locals swam and the younger set played beach volleyball on the sand court beside the lake.

Our view from Ziggy

The local community has provided this area for its locals and allow about 7 Mohos to enjoy for a donation of 3€ per day.

We spent three beautiful days here where we did the various nature walks through the surrounding hills. 

A view of the lake from the bridge

Two are only short walks of about an hour each but the third was a real challenge taking over 4 hours over 13kms.  The trails are generally well marked but had to toss a coin a few times – left or right?  Most times we guessed well but we did manage to get lost once but were rescued with the help of our Pocket Earth App.

A view from our hike through the hills – looking back at the village of Waldhausen where we started

The walks to the village take you through the countryside with stately Austrian homes and gardens along the way.  The small village is just delightful and the Waldhausen Abbey we rate among the best we have seen on our entire trip.  The outside is deceiving but once you enter you are gob smacked. 

The Abbey ceiling

The high vaulted ceilings are white stucco decorated with frescos.  So light bright and airy compared to many of the darker rich timbered interiors of most cathedrals.  The inside is predominately white black and gold and is more than stunning.

Another view of the Abbey ceiling

Wednesday & Thursday 30th – 31st May

Stopped at a couple of potential spots along the way but having being spoiled by Waldhausen, found it difficult to find one that was appealing.

We have headed back to the Danube again as we are keen to hit the bike trails.

Our campsite for two nights:  Stellplatz Schach, Aschach am Der Donau – GPS 48.374130N   14.028160E

Found the wanted spot here with only 4 spots set right on the river.  It is a Stellplatz and as expected, the camping spots are more expensive for the privilege of being next to the river.

The last day of May – Corpus Christie – is celebrated here.  The locals dress up in traditional costume and celebrations take to the river where two boats – one decorated with trees and coloured flags take the dignitaries for a short cruise along the river and the other taking the Austrian band in full costume behind it.  Not sure but think it is a public holiday as the river front was alive with spectators.

Aschasch architecture

The river boardwalk is lined with outside restaurants all separated with a metre high hedge – about 15 in all, providing a large selection of eats and drinks.  Very cool, green and inviting, these restaurants were packed with spectators.

The Austrian band in full swing

Headed off on the bikes along the Donau trail.  Pretty much you can go forever along these trails and today, they were totally crowded with bikers.  We were of course the slowest on the trail (the navigator holding up the driver) but we were not trying to win any race but merely out to enjoy the view and the day.  Have learnt to ride more confidently on the roads now but was a little less confident when the two lane road ended up being one lane wide only.   A bit daunting when you know there is a car behind you and no room to pass until you find a spot to move over.  Fortunately the drivers here have lived with the bikes all their lives and are very patient.

Thoroughly enjoyed the few hours riding and rewarded ourselves with a great Danube lunch before heading home and passing out for the rest of the day.

2018/05/21 – Austria – More of the Danube (Donau)

Monday 21st May

Today is a public holiday and everything except restaurants and tourist related operators are closed.

Had to wait until 10am to check out as the Heuriger restaurant (with the office) did not open until then,  and saw lots of the Mohos leave much much earlier and wonder if they actually paid their fees?  They don’t seem to keep a record here of registration plates or names because none were taken on arrival and on departure, they only asked for the number of days we stayed.

First sunny day in a few days so only travelled a short distance further into the countryside.

Our campsite for tonight:   Stellplatz 55+, Deutsch Jahrndorf – GPS 48.007858N   17.110861E

What a delight this little village and the Stellplatz is.  The wide pitches are set amongst beautiful trees and well maintained grass and gardens.  There is no listed fee but a donation box is beside the service point and “garcon” arrives on his bike late afternoon to collect the donations.

After lunch, we took off on the bikes through the small village where nothing seemed to be open and then followed the bike trail along the Hungarian border to the village of Pama about 10kms away.  We passed by a trail called “the iron curtain trail” but kept to the Austrian side today.  Our German neighbours in the Stellplatz were taking this trail to Bratislava  which was a round trip of about 60kms so expect we wouldn’t see them until early evening.

Saw a Gasthof with cars and bikes outside so ventured in where there was a group celebrating a 60th birthday.  Saw the band arriving half an hour later to set up but we left well before the music began.  Such wonderfully traditional little pubs here with Austrian artefacts gracing each spare spot on the walls.

Thoroughly enjoyed the ride past other little communities with only vineyards and crops for most of the way.

Sat and enjoyed the peaceful surroundings for the rest of the day and watched horses and bikes pass by.   The trees and gardens are home to so many different birds who sang happily throughout the afternoon.  Even saw a rabbit scurrying across the field below.

Tuesday 22nd May

We are back in the country of wind turbines and one area we passed through today had hundreds for as far as you could see.

Our campsite for tonight:  Parking Donaupromenade, Bad Deutsch, Altenburg – GPS 48.140739.   16.900530

This is a huge gratis parking area right on the Danube.  We had travelled through several villages and towns along the Danube last year (though not this town) so watching the river cruise boats and dredges brought back memories.  The river flows very fast and some vessels found it hard beating against the tide.

Slipway on the Danube next to our campsite

There is a huge park adjacent to the campsite that goes forever along the Danube but bikes were not permitted here (pedestrian access only) so decided to walk through the beautiful park and into the small town.  Not a huge amount of activity whilst we strolled through.

Lots of locals come to the river to sit and enjoy the view but all were well behaved.

Adjacent is a boat slipping area for small boats where there were about five sets of rails that took the smaller boats down to the River.

We had tried to visit the tourist bureau but like so many places here, they were only open for a few hours in the morning with a two to three hour break in the middle of the day and then open again for a couple of hours mid to late afternoon.

Watched the lights of the cruise boats float bye until late in the evening.  Like all cruise ships, they sightsee during the day and travel at night.

Wednesday 23rd May

Only a few short kms away, we found this little gem, again with a Danube riverfront location.

Our campsite for tonight:  Hainburg an der Donau – GPS 48.150900 N   16.944400 E

Within a few minutes walk, we were in the heart of town and on the way saw many buildings of many years gone by with stone water towers, arched stone bridges and a fortress wall surrounding this quaint little town.

Nice touch – carved in to the side of the building

Passed a shopping centre with all the larger shops you could wish for and lots of smaller shops in the heart including an ice cream parlour (had to do as the locals do – taste the lemon and mango combination -yum!). 

Ziggy only just got through – she is 3.3 metres

This area is part of a national park with lots of caves and a castle to explore.  There are walking and bike trails everywhere and it is great to see people using them.  I am sure that the Europeans were born on bikes and riding is such a natural way of life here.

Ziggy in the background at our overnight campsite

We watched many groups of teenagers (high school age) go on canoe adventures starting from the little cove in front of us.  Down stream only as there would be no possibility to paddle against this tide.   Once they hit the main river it took them miles away in only a short time – what a buzz!

Finished another great day with dinner in the local Heuriger.  Enjoyed a really great local Chardonnay and a shared mixed plate of local wursts, cheeses, pickled vegetables and some of the best tasting bread (the Europeans really know how to make it).  Good to see my driver become more adventurous with trying some of these local foods.

Our Heuriger menu

Thursday 24th May

We are heading into new territory for us in Northern Austria now and leaving the Danube behind.  

Three out of every four places we pass by end in “dorf” meaning “village” and each has its own special characteristics.  We love these places off the beaten track and are keen to spend time here and explore as many as possible.

Our campsite for tonight:  Schloss Wilfersdorf, Wilfersdorf – GPS 48.585999 N  16.645140 E

This is just the smallest village where we are parked in the grounds of this castle, Liechtenstein Schloss.  Very different from the ones we have seen perched high on hills with the only way up on the back of a mountain goat!  This is a low set two storey building set on huge level grounds. 

Our campsite for the night – Schloss Wilfersdorf

Check in is at the castle desk where a small fee of €4 is requested and all services are included.  They are just so lovely here and provide tourist maps of numerous walks and bike trails and nothing is a problem.  Only three Mohos are permitted and we were lucky enough to be number two – though by the end of the evening we managed to squeeze four in.

Here there are four villages within a few kms of each other including Bullendorf, Hobersdorf and a little further to Ebersdorf an Der Zaya.  The walking and bike trails through these villages are only a few kms apart so not a huge effort on day one to visit these.

With thunder and lightning on the horizon, we headed back quickly, eager to try part of the longer Liechtenstein Trail tomorrow.  This trail covers around 60kms each way ending in the Czech Republic but we have plans to do only a small part of it tomorrow.

Dropped in at the local pub just in time for dinner (goulash and a half pint to wash it down with – yum!).  Our friends at the next table kept us entertained during the evening while a very large St Bernhard and its owner sat at another table –  man’s best friend is not limited to where they can go and dinner in a restaurant is no exception.

Friday 25th May

Poured with rain all night and all hopes of a bike ride were dashed right up until mid morning.  Made a few phone calls home, did some research and writing and waited for the weather to clear – not today it seems.

Made a decision to move on by early afternoon and our planned route was closed for road works so the deviation took us to the Czech border. Didn’t want to go there today so promptly turned around and backtracked a few kms and found an alternate road leading to our planned destination.

Rain had eased leaving the valleys so green and fresh looking and driving through these back blocks now took us through so many beautiful places.  I am sure the locals have never seen a Moho with Australian stickers before and each person we talk to is amazed we have travelled so far. Their reaction is always the same – big smiles, eyebrows raised and then the words “Australia – so far away”.

Arrived at the Thayatal National Park Campsite to find it a little more than overgrown and needing lots of tender loving care to be ready for the summer vacation period.  The forest itself was wonderful, with walking and biking trails everywhere and kids play areas and a restaurant ready to take hundreds a day – but not today!

Drove on a little further to Austria’s smallest town – Hardegg.  It has its own fairytale castle set high atop of a rock overlooking the Thayal River which is the official border between Austria and Czech.   

Beautiful setting – the Austrian Czech border

Really lovely little town and worth a visit.   The river front areas were set up as a great picnic area and especially inviting with lovely trees and gardens and of course a couple of restaurants.

Castle at Hardegg

Decided not to stay in the national park Stellplatz so moved on 30kms or so.

Our campsite for tonight:  Eggenburg Stellplatz – GPS 48.645600N 15.817200E

The local shire has provided three similar motorhome dedicated campsites along this small stretch – Ratz, Pulkau and Eggenburg.  All are in close proximity to the centre of town but the best in our opinion is Eggenburg which is set in a quiet location with lovely trees and grassed areas surrounding it.

It is a self check in where you fill in a card, put your 4€ in an envelope and place it in a box at the building at the entry to the car park.  Maps and tourist information is provided so no need to look for the sometimes illusive tourist bureau.

Spent the evening enjoying the surroundings with only one other motorhome and the birds to share it with.

Saturday 26th May

Took off after breakfast up and over the hill and spent four hours in town.  Today was market and artistic skills day, so we watched all sorts of activities including potters in action, glass blowing, wood turning etc etc.  In the market square, we saw two young girls sitting in a bath enjoying an authentic mud bath.

Potter in action

St Stephans church was a real delight and whilst there, we watched a christening.  Just so beautiful with acoustic guitarist and female soloist adding something special to the event.

Nothing like a mud bath in the middle of the town square

The town is surrounded by a fortress wall and the old buildings in the central town square have been restored magnificently.

Getting ready for our lunch

Had planned to stay another night but the festivities concluded at lunchtime and once all the stalls packed down, very few people remained.  What was the height of activity only hours before now turned into almost a ghost town.

Time to move on again.


2018/05/13 – Austria – Lakes, vineyards, bike trails and Heurigers

AUSTRIA – Lakes, vineyards, bike trails and Heurigers

Sunday 13th May

Bit wet this morning so took a while to get motivated to make a move.  Always like to lay in on a wet day!

We were only a short distance from the border and on arrival the guard waved us through without checking our passports.

Similar scenery to Slovenia, just so green.  We are in spring now and the wild flowers are in full bloom – small purple and yellow flowers with patches of bright red wild poppies are everywhere.

Our campsite for tonight:  Olmuhle Sixt, Eichfeld – GPS 46.738152N   15.745750E

This is at a farmhouse which used to have a working Oil manufacturing business (pumpkin seed we think).  They have set up part of it as a Stellplatz now with spaces for about 10 Mohos.   

Sadly they no longer make the oil here but the buildings are still there as is the original waterwheel – such a pretty setting.  The owners did not speak English but my driver comfortably carried on a conversation with them.   I just love to listen and only help out when asked!

Took advantage of a break in the weather late afternoon and set up our Cadac BBQ, tables and chairs and enjoyed a great meal until the black storm clouds reappeared.  Quickly packed up and were in just in time before the heavens opened up and the heaviest rain we have experienced for a long time prevailed until the morning.

Quite interesting hearing the rain beating down on the roof (so close to our heads in the upper bed) and at times so loud we couldn’t hear ourselves speaking.

(No photos – too much rain)

Monday 14th & Tuesday 15th May

It was still raining quite heavily so decided to go only a short distance.   

Our campsite for tonight:  Rosenhalle, St Stefan im Rosenthal – GPS 46.905438N   15.715455E

The co ordinates listed in NKC are not quite correct but we soon found the campsite only a couple of streets away.  The campsite has lots of lovely trees and scenery and is set beside a small tributary.  Last nights heavy evening rain had caused it to overflow into the adjoining paddocks and the local streets around it were flooded.

Surrounded by floodwaters

Sirens sounded warning the locals of the river flooding and many locals were out and about checking the levels.  We were encouraged to move away from the river to a nearby carpark and stayed there until the levels in the river dropped some hours later.

Still rained throughout the remainder of the day and night but only a drizzle.

Stayed on for another day hoping the weather might clear even though rainy weather is now predicted for the rest of May.

Lots of bike and walking trails in this area but decided a walk was best option for now.  Found a man’s store in town where my driver happily walked around selecting lots of little bibs and bobs that he likes to keep as spares in case he may need them – assorted screws, hose clamps etc. – think it is a hangover from our boating and vanning days in Australia.

Again a really great gratis Stellplatz with water and electricity available at a low cost. 

Wednesday 16th May

Our Autogas gas tanks were getting low and to our amazement we could not find any LPG in service stations in these little off the beat villages.   Seems the bigger towns only supply LPG in Austria.  Our two large tanks hold enough for about a month in the summer months. 

After several kms and passing about 20 service stations with no luck, we stopped and checked out the mylpg.eu site and headed for the closest station – 92kms away – ugh!

Getting late now and once we were filled up with LPG headed for the nearest Moho stop for the night.

Our campsite for tonight:  Cselley Muhle, Oslip – GPS 47.840969N   16.625120E

A couple kms outside the town of Eisenstadt, this spot is peaceful and quiet and set in a treed area with vineyards all around and the only building within sight, a beautiful restaurant and accommodation place.  There are no facilities here but was just wonderful with only the birds keeping us company.

Oslip overnight site

Thursday – Sunday, 17th – 20th May

Our campsite for four nights:  Weingut Slaboda, Podersdorf am See – GPS 47.850151N   16.831011E

We are at the crossroads now where we need to make some major decisions on our planned route over the next few months – only six months left now in Europe as we have booked flights for Dubai at the end of November – didn’t want to spend another winter travelling in Europe though we have to admit we successfully avoided most of the really cold weather and snow by going to Portugal, Spain and Greece.

We might change the dates and the destination for our flight bookings as we are having such a great time in Ziggy in Europe but we need to go back to the UK before the end of November anyhow to get the annual MOT and registration for Ziggy – maybe we should put Ziggy back in to storage in the UK for a few months and come back again for the next northern summer.

It’s a long weekend in Austria so decided to find a spot where there are lots of bike trails and things to do.  This is a small campsite taking only 14 Mohos.  It has been full pretty much the whole weekend.  As soon as one leaves it is replaced with another shortly after.   It is set at a vineyard only a few minutes walk from town and a massive lake (Neusiedler See in Burgenland) where windsurfers and kite surfers happily fly about in a blaze of colour.

The Navigator choosing a Heuriger after a bike ride

Weather is still not great with very little sunshine and lots of cloud and wind but this did not stop everyone from hitting the huge number of bike trails around here.  There were bikes of all sorts many with small trailers carrying children and dogs along for the ride.

Neusiedler See beachfront with electric boats for hire

Over the four days we attempted the B10 bikeway which runs for 120 kms around the lake – didn’t make it all the way round 😅 and had to stop many times at one of the many local Heuriger’s (wine bars that serve wine only and antipasto type meals – no beer, no coffee). 

Bike and horse rides around the lake

The bikeways are very flat so no hard hills to climb thank goodness.

One of the bird watching towers on a bike way round Neusiedler See

The centre of town is on the lake with a small red and white striped lighthouse being the feature.  Lots of restaurants and ice cream shops which were well frequented on this holiday weekend.

Mini lighthouse on Neusiedler See

Vineyards are everywhere and of course lots of wineries to try out.

Had a super relaxing four days though there are parts of my body that I am sure will hurt for a few days to come.


09/22/2017 Austria – Just Beautiful

Friday 22nd  September   –  Our campsite for tonight:  Fritzbauer – Saalfelden

 Around 25kms from Grossglockner to this little farm Stellplatz.  The farmers wife was just delightful and not long after we met the farmer.  He certainly was a real character.

Our farm camp even had its own church

Only a small Stellplatz but for €12 it included electricity so again took advantage to give batteries a boost.  Parking areas were mainly grass and given the amount of rain we have had over the last week, we were reluctant to park here.  The farmer agreed we could park next to the barn on gravel.

The farmer had a typically beautiful Austrian style house

Saturday 23rd September & Sunday 24th September

Woke up to the sounds of cattle mooing, donkey braying, and roosters crowing!!!  Didn’t realise that we were parked next to the animal shed – chuckle, chuckle.  This was a real farm and upon opening the door got a strong whiff of fresh air strongly perfumed with bovine essence – nothing like country fresh air.

Walked into the shed to have a look and there were at least 15 cows and one very vocal donkey in there.  Often wondered why they had such large sheds attached to their very large houses in these villages – now understand that animals need a place to stay during the colder months and at night.

Passed through so many areas where we have skied.  So many memories.  The beautiful town of Zell Am See- one of our favourite spots.  They certainly have grown over the years and are packed even now before the start of the real ski season.  Don’t believe there is a low season here as the ski resort camp spots are really expensive compared to the country spots.

We have met many people in our travels and when asked which country is their favourite – 90% say either Austria or Norway. During some of our late at night discussions, we too have agreed that Austria is a place we could happily live in (apart from home that is).

Both our daughters want to come to Europe early next year to see us and we think Austria might be the place to catch up and do some skiing – so many beautiful places, it will be hard to make a final decision.

Our campsite for two nights:  Panorama Gasthof Friedburg, Neukirchen am Grossvenediger

Saw this one in the Parkings APP and just had to come here.  The view is more than spectacular.

Perched high on the mountain, it overlooks snow capped mountains and beautiful valleys.  Saw hang gliders soaring over the mountains – counted 20 at one time.  Colourful chutes passing through fluffy white clouds, up and down they went carried by the thermal currents.  What a buzz it would be.

Picture does not do the view justice – it was stunning

The Gasthof itself is really quaint with a dining area inside and outside (when weather is warmer) overlooking this beautiful view.  The cost is only €8 per night but a discount of €5 is offered if you have dinner in the restaurant.

Ziggy is perched in the front row and in our deck chairs we sit and take in this amazing view until the sun goes over the mountain.  Then inside in the front seats with a hot toddy until dinner time where we just had to check out the view from the restaurant.  Another free night for the cook.

Rained during the night so our thoughts of staying on and doing some of the mountain walks diminished somewhat.  Best wait till morning to make that decision.

Some of the quirky decorations in the Gasthof where we had dinner

Not a good looking day and damp underfoot but rain has stopped.  Weather seems to brighten as the days go on so hoped this would be the case.   Had a late breakfast/brunch and headed off for the walk early afternoon.  Over 3kms – all a steep downhill run – what a breeze!!  Passed fields with sheep, goats and cows – with bells on.  Sounded like a small orchestra played with cow bells or was it the Hari Krishna – quite cute.

Stopped for a break for coffee and resisted the numerous fabulous cakes begging to be consumed. 

The hike uphill took five times as long as the downhill run – should have had the cake – certainly would have worked off all those calories.  Dropped two layers on the way up and probably a thousand calories but walking through the forest was so green, fresh and invigorating.

Quiet night I think, and hopefully no aching bones in the morning.

Monday 25th September

No aching bones this morning which was a surprise.

The roads are so wonderful, it is a pleasure driving.  With Autumn here now, the forests have changed from emerald green to all the Autumn shades of golden, orange, pink red and brown.  We are only travelling short distances now, as there is so much to see here.  Every little village is just so beautiful and we stop at many along the way.

Our campsite for the night:  Womo Stellplarz Fischergries, Kufstein

Kufstein is on the border between Austria and Germany and we crossed into Germany to do some last minute shopping before parking back in Austria for the night.  Dropped into Lidl and have to say this is the cheapest Lidl we have been to for wines and spirits.  Our favourite Marlborough Sav Blanc has been around $10 everywhere else but here only $6.  Captain Morgan rum 700ml $7.50 – can you believe it.  Needless to say we bought heaps of alcohol and a little food 😊.

Yes another castle – there are hundreds around here

The campsite is in a very large carpark attached to a massive sporting complex with sporting fields all around.  Only a small area dedicated for motorhomes.  There were no spots available at first so we patiently waited until we could squeeze into a spot.   The area was well away from the sports complex so had a really enjoyable quiet evening.

Tuesday 26th September

Took a walk across the bridge and along the riverbank to the town centre.  A very small old town which we wandered into and enjoyed a cuppa.

Found a pair of slippers in a local shop that did not cost the earth.  Not what I would buy at home, but no one is here to laugh at them.  None for the driver yet and we were even thinking of getting a larger size like mine but unfortunately did not have any large enough.  He looked like one of the three  sisters in Cinderella trying to squeeze into the golden slipper!

One of the many lanes where we went shopping

Headed off again mid morning and stopped in Hopfgarten and Soll – two of our favourite skiing towns on past trips.  Soll is just so beautiful and the gondola is already operating, though there was no snow on this side of the mountain.  The Gasthaus we stayed in at Hopfgarten has been demolished and replaced with a massive apartment complex.  Such a shame but that’s progress.

Our campsite for the night:  Koenigveldplatz, Schwaz

Again a mixed parking Stellplatz with spaces for around 10 motorhomes.  Just across the bridge again from the centre of the village, a very quiet area with views across paddocks to the mountains.

Beautifully decorated Town Hall

Made some friends with our MoHo neighbours – one from Sweden and the other a local Austrian man on his own.  Really enjoyed their company and shared many travel experiences with them. The Austrian chap gave a present – a handmade candle mounted on a marble stone from the local area – what a lovely thought.

Schwaz also has an old town and a beautiful church at the end of it.  Set on the side of a hill, we walked up and up and took in the beautiful views before coming back down to Old Town and then back home for another quiet night.

Schwaz Church

09/19/2017 Gearing up for the Grossglockner High Alpine Road

Tuesday 19th & Wednesday 20th September

Travelled through more rain today so decided to take the motorway.  Low cloud at times caused a few issues with visibility.  We have been climbing quite rapidly and the scenery continues to be spectacular.

Our camp for 2 nights:  Kellerbauer Wohnmobile Site, Altenmarkt Im Pongau

This place is highly rated and only a short km from centre of Altenmarkt.  A rural setting with great facilities, though no shower which is not a problem with us as we prefer to shower in Ziggy.  Internet was excellent.  Decided to stay until the rain cleared as we are keen to put another tick against our bucket list and hit the Grossglockner high alpine road but only on a fine day with good visibility.

Had a huge dump of snow on surrounding mountains overnight so the temperatures came down to single figures.  Have not been connected to electricity to fully top up the batteries for over 3 weeks now but the cold snap caused some concern with our batteries so opted to use electricity on night two to give the batteries a good deep charge.  Ziggy’s electronics panel gave us a warning and on checking the manual were informed that it is normal to get this type of warning if the batteries have not been fully charged in the last 20 days.

They have lovely fresh farm eggs and wine (either red or white) one of each to choose from so bought a bottle of the house red – 1 ltr for the huge sum of €4.  Was very young but no sharp edges.  Didn’t buy a second bottle to take with us!!!!!

Still think New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs are some of the best whites anywhere in the world and are finding it difficult to find reds that we really like.

Piggy bumped in to Ziggy and she rocked back and forth

Tried to make friends with the local pet black rabbit (scared as a rabbit) and tried to feed the pet pig – blind in one eye.  He ran into Ziggy a couple of times and refused to eat the lettuce and carrot we offered him but he did scare the old lady in the Moho next to us – who ran when he blindly made advances in her direction.

Took time out on day two to visit downtown (took Ziggy for a run as the weather was horrid).  Really great little town – bought two pairs of warm outdoor/snow boots – one for driver and one for the navigator.  Forgot to pack these in Oz and have been suffering with cold feet for a while now.  Still looking for the illusive pair of slippers for indoors – don’t have a KMart or Target here so have not been able to find reasonable pair for under $100.  Still angry we didn’t buy these in Poland. 

Thursday 21st September

Still raining when we left, however, the long range forecast for Grossglockner was some sun on Friday and Saturday so opted to get as close as possible until the weather cleared.

Bought a new vignette as ours ran out today – another 10 days in Austria – crying shame – just love it here.  Arrived in town of Bruck at the northern end of Grossglockner and weather was just clearing.  Decided to head towards the toll gates at the start of the road for more information – only a few kms away.  There is a huge carpark at the entry where fellow travellers have parked for the night so hoped to stay there for the night.

I have a huge amount of still and video images of the Grossglockner and have published just a few.  When I have more time and more Sim Card Data I hope to publish the videos on You Tube and will provide a link for my You Tube Channel

Because of the huge dump of snow the night before, the pass had been closed but reopened just before we got there.  With the help and information of the beautiful lady at the info counter, we decided to take a day ticket for€35 and do the road today.  The road is only 48kms long and for a day pass you can do it as many times as you want.  We left from the northern end with the hope of being able to get to the bottom and return in the same day. 

A couple of the 36 hairpin bends

We took advantage of so many places along the way to stop and take photos and extended the trip by going to Franz Josef Glacier along the way – really, really worth the extra mileage.

Franz Jozef Glacier

Words and photos can’t explain the beauty of this region.  The numerous hairpin bends left the driver totally focused on getting us around each corner whilst I enjoyed the view though the eye of the camera – absolutely stunning!.

Snow plough on the job in mid September???

So much snow the night before kept the snow ploughs busy and they were still operating on different parts of the pass during our adventure.  A white snowy fairy wonderland, mile after mile.  The camera just didn’t stop trying to capture every moment.

The road does a loop around the rock

We didn’t have enough time to do the return trip today, so found a great stop for the night just outside the southern end of the Grossglockner toll gates.  A return trip on any consecutive day is only €11 or you can take a monthly pass for €55.  They certainly get you for the day pass only but it is really so worth it.

Navigator and Driver – below zero at midday in mid September

Our campsite for the night:  Gasthaus Schwaiger – Mortschach

 Half way between the toll gates and Lienz, we stopped at this Gasthaus.  There is no cost to stay in the carpark which allows for 4 motorhomes.  Really great little place so just had to have a night off cooking – great menu at a very reasonable price.  So much food, we waddled back to Ziggy and sadly went to bed on a full stomach – very uncomfortable and really bad for the waistline – disappearing quickly now!!!!

Friday 22nd September

Had to fill up on auto gas so continued down to Lienz.  Not many spots in Austria to get auto gas and they are hard to find as not available in most service stations.

Straight back up the mountain and back through the toll gates to do a south to north run at Grossglockner.

The beautiful lady at the northern end of the pass informed us of an Oldtimers Car Race being held late afternoon today. A large section of this road would be closed from 3.30 to 5.30 pm so we were eager to find a good viewing area to watch the race before the crowds arrived.

Deep snow in some places

Certainly steeper going up from south to north but both ways were just as spectacular.  South to north necessitated a lot of second gear driving whilst north to south required much engine braking to give the brakes a breather.

Perfect blue skies today and we were just so pleased we opted to stay the extra day.

Stopped at the finish line at the top of the pass and parked Ziggy so we had a full view of all the cars coming toward the finish line and a good section of hairpin bends.  Massive carpark and restaurant here and it filled up quickly.

There were 65 cars due to start including the following marques :- Bugatti, Lagonda, Alvis, Bentley, Marmon, Veritas, Borgward, MG, and of course my favourite marque – Porsche as well as many others.

The Navigator with a sky blue Porsche

There were also 2 Audi Auto Union 2 silver arrows one of which had a 16 cylinders rear mounted engine with dual rear wheels.

16 cylinder, rear engine, dual wheeled Audi Auto Union Silver Arrow

Moved out of Ziggy to get a better viewing point and sat in our deck chairs rugged up in three layers – plus coats, beanies, gloves and rugs – it was so cold out there.  The closer to the start of the race, the colder it got as the blue skies disappeared and the clouds came over and then the wind.

A few more hairpin bends

Everyone braved the cold to see the race but quickly left when the roads re opened to allow us all to get back down the mountain.  





09/14/2017 From the Danube to the high lakes

Thursday 14th September

We are now in very familiar territory, places we have been to before and just had to stop again to revisit for nostalgia.

Followed the “Not so blue Danube” through picture perfect countryside with little alpine villages popping up at every corner.  Came around a corner and right in front of us was the Melk Abbey.  We visited this in 2001 but in the winter when everything was white and not green.

Melk Abbey

The abbey is one of the biggest and most beautiful European baroque monasteries and is one of Austria’s most visited art-historical sites.  The Benedictine monks still live and work in the abbey.  It still has prayer services on Sundays but mostly now a tourist attraction with museum, exhibitions and the stunning gardens.  It is perched high on the hill overlooking the town and of course the Danube.

Our camp for tonight:  Abadja de Melk, Melk,

Parked Ziggy in the last motorhome spot (right on the Danube).  The fee of €6 covered us for an overnight stop (bonus as we only wanted to stay for a few hours).  Headed into Melk Old Town, only very small but lots of character then up to the Abbey but our trip was cut short as the black sky and thunder clouds overhead threatened the start of a serious storm so we scampered back to Ziggy at a fast rate of knots and sat and watched the storm pass overhead.

Navigator and Driver on the Danube at Melk

Friday 15th September

Temperature dropped considerably overnight after the storm, so was difficult to get started early.   Can’t believe summer is over so quickly.  Really sorry we didn’t buy those warm slippers in Poland when we got the chance – will definitely have to invest in some warm woolly boots VERY SOON!  Went for a long walk across a bridge to the other side of the Danube where there were several river cruise boats moored.  Melk Abbey is one of the stops along the Danube for these cruise boats. 

Cruise boats on the Danube at Melk

Again we kept away from the motorways and spent time in the smaller villages along the way.  Stopped in at a place called Ybbs (spelt correctly) where there was supposed to be a camp spot on the Danube adjacent to a grassy riverbank, but when we arrived, there were signs up everywhere prohibiting motorhomes.  We stopped illegally for an hour or so and had lunch and then moved on.  Shame they missed out on the millions we were going to spend in that town!

Our camp for tonight:  Stellplarz Edbauer, Aschbach Markt

Further into rural Austria we travelled, just breathtaking scenery all the way and arrived at a farm just 7kms outside of Aschbach Markt.  Corn fields and fruit trees everywhere.

This little place allows for only a few motorhomes but the setting is just magic.  A private house with manicured lawns for the motorhomes to park on.  Apple and pear trees scattered around everywhere ripe with fruit and a vegetable and herb patch right beside us.  The facilities are first class and the farmer leaves you to roam about the gardens and lawns.  There is no fee as such but they ask for a small donation to cover costs.

My Navigator in our beautiful overnight setting in Aschbach Markt

Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th September

Now deep into the ski areas and mountains, we came across some beautiful lakes.  It has been raining all day, so no opportunity to take photos today.  Had planned to stay at Traunsee at Ebensee but when we arrived, the motorhome pitches were boggy and the fog was so thick, we couldn’t see any more than a few feet into the lake.  Decided we didn’t want to stay here until the weather cleared.

Checked our APP and found another campsite around 7kms away – up the mountain.

Our camp for tonight:  Parking Langbathsee, Ebensee

What a gem.  A really windy road but so picturesque with waterfalls cascading down beside the road.  Shame about the fog and rain but still amazing nonetheless.

The mixed carpark at the top is the start of many walks in and around Langbathsee.  A large beautiful mountain lake with thick forests bordering the walking tracks and white sandy beaches.  The shortest track is a brisk 50 minute walk with others extending to 4-5 hours.

Our overnight view at Langbathsee

When we arrived there were people setting up marquees and what looked like the finish post for a marathon race.  A bit reluctant to stay here but after speaking to one of the workers found out that the following day (Sunday) was a fun day and running marathon day for the locals.  He said we were welcome to stay and enjoy the festivities.

Settled in for the evening and after all the workers left, there was just the three of us (Ziggy, her driver and navigator) to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature (the rain) for the rest of the evening.

Next morning, bright and early, the cars rolled in with food, drink and people.  This carpark and the one adjacent to the restaurant here was packed to the brim and so was the road coming up the mountain.

We had a birds eye view of the finish

The rain continued to fall, though not as heavily as the day before.  We sat in the front seat and watched the races to begin with and then joined the crowds at the finish post.  The first race with toddlers holding the hands of their excited parents, dragging them to the finish line and then the joy when all received the coloured balloon of their choice and a medal.  Brought back memories of not so long ago when we participated in a similar fun day with our grandkids.   All ages raced with the final race being a half marathon around the lake.

Really enjoyed the day’s activities but then we were so wet and cold we retreated to our Ziggy bus to warm up.  Shame the rain spoiled the day for so many, the end result being many leaving earlier than they might have.  Apart from a few couples going to the restaurant in the evening, we were the only ones left after 9pm.

Monday 18th September

Light rain fell during the night but woke up to a sky with small patches of blue.  On with the walking shoes for a power walk around the lake.  Several locals had also arrived to enjoy the walking tracks (most with their four legged friends).  Temperatures during the last two nights had fallen to single figures but with the sun peeking out for a minute or two occasionally, it soon warmed up a little.

Returned back to Traunsee am Ebensee to see the view we missed out on a couple of days before.  Like something out of a travel video, the view was spectacular.  Two gems in Ebensee Paradise and we were lucky enough to experience and see both.

Our view at Traunsee, Ebensee

Again our planned stop for the night changed as we were informed by NAVIE that the highway to this destination was closed.  The alternative route put on another 70kms and took us in a direction we did not want to travel.  It took an hour before we realised this so had to double back.

Our camp for tonight: Parking Kaiservilla, Bad Ischl

Back on track now, we stopped here for the night.  Bad Ischl as we saw it in winter many years ago, is very different now.  A thriving tourist town even in the non winter months.  The parking place is in the centre of town so did not take long to venture out and explore the village.   Remarkably quiet considering the location.


09/11/2017 Austria – Schnitzels and Griessknodelsuppe


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).

Karlskirche 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.

Belvedere Gardens Vienna

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.

St Stephans Cathedral Vienna

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.

AlbertinaPlatz Vienna

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.

Der Graben Vienna

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.

Ottenschlag Castle where we had dinner with Helga

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.