Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Twenty-Fourth Week

Monday 15-8-16

So we were in Austria on a small four van capacity Stellplatze with terrific views up a valley. When we got up on Monday morning we were treated to a view out of the van door of the valley with a layer of mist in the bottom of it.

When the mist had cleared we paid the nice Dutch couple who ran it 20 euro for the two nights we'd stayed and then headed on up the valley. At the end of the valley the road rose sharply via hairpin bends and we stopped to get a look back at our route.

We were heading north west into the Tirol area of Austria. It's got those mountains that make you stop and just stare at them. We didn't stop so Liz had to snap photos out of the window.

The mountains sent our GPS a bit wobbly, it kept losing signal, and the turn for a stellplatze got missed. As it was still early we carried on rather than go back on ourselves. This took us through a long eleven euro tunnel called the Felber Tauern Tunnel. Then at the large town of Mittersill we turned west and 25km later found a stellplatze at a Gasthoff that had space for 10 vans to park overnight. We spoke to the chef as the lady who manned the reception had as much English as we had German. He said it was seven euro a night, which seemed very fair considering the views and location.

The place was riddled with gnomes. The owner had them everywhere and had even created a gnome trail where you walked through paths in the forest finding the gnomes he'd placed all over. He also had a Russian Trabant in a nice old garage. That night it hammered it down with rain, I lent an umbrella to a couple who were walking up to the restaurant. When they came back they brought us over a bottle of wine and we shared it under our awning. They were East German and neither spoke any English. We had a very confusing hour trying to talk with them. But it was pleasant enough.

Stellplatze Gasthoff Friedburg, Austria. N47.23931 E012.24119

Tuesday 16-8-16 and Wednesday 17-8-16

As happened yesterday, when we woke up and opened the van door we got a view of a valley full of mist.

This part of Austria has views that can only be described as Chocolate Boxy. The tidy alpine houses all have flowers on their balcony's and the very green meadows all look like they'd just been mown.

We did a bit of food shopping and I picked up some beer, the only reason being that I liked it's can design. Then by lunch we crossed our eighth border of the trip, the Austrian/German border was unmanned and we drove straight through.

Ten kilometres after the border we drove around a lake and at a tiny town called Fall found a large parking area in a forest next to the water. It had a motorhome overnight parking area and they charged four euro for 24 hours. Perfect for tight wads like us. There was also a motorhome service point with water and a disposal point for grey and black waste. We found a good spot and were comfortably sorted again.

We thought we'd stop a second day so on Wednesday we had a walk around the lake and town. The lake was flat and reflective, and there was nobody there. No canoeists, sail boats, hikers or mountain bikers. It was odd but very nice to be the only ones there.

One of the houses was celebrating the birth of a baby and had gone to town a bit, I was most impressed with the use of the old German army helmet.

Liz also liked the the old man carved out of a log in front of a bar. Note the bloody gnome hiding at the back. These things are everywhere.

Remember the beer I bought because of the nice can, well it was nice beer too. I only wished I'd bought more than four. But I'll keep hunting for it.

Stellplatze Fall, Germany. N47.57039 E011.53380

Thursday 18-8-16

My day started with a trip to the service point to dump the contents of the toilet cassette. I always love a day that starts with raw sewage disposal as you know things can only get better.

Next jobs were finding a post office and an ATM. I searched for the nearest post office on the satnav and it took us to one fifteen kilometres away. With typical German efficiency there was a car park to dump the van in, a post office across the road to post our letter and a bank next door to get some Euros out of. Just after lunch we arrived in a small town called Wald that had a stellplatze. They worked on an honesty system for paying. We found this in a small wooden shelter next to the parking area.

You took a little white envelope, wrote your reg number on it, put 5 euro in it and dropped it in the blue box. Then you took a green paper slip, wrote your reg on it and dates of arrival and departure and stuck that in the windscreen. We were the only ones there and had pretty alpine cows in a meadow opposite us and a lake behind us people were swimming in.

We wandered down to the swimming lake and then around the town, stopping only to sit in a bier garden to have a bier in the sun.

Stellplatze Wald, Germany. N47.72302 E010.56388

Friday 19-8-16

My day started with a trip to the service point, this time to dump the contents of grey waste tank. I always love a day that starts with stinky dishwater disposal, as you know things can only get better. The official place to do this was at the fire station in the town, w hich felt odd but was the place the map in the wooden hut had shown.

As we entered a large town I had a sudden urge to do something we hadn't done in the last six months. I pulled into a McDonald's and ordered a sausage egg McMuffin and a coffee for breakfast. Then we drove a bit further and did a food shop in a very posh supermarket called Edeka, it's like the German version of Waitrose. We found lamb chops in the butchery department so spent a small fortune on them. After a mornings driving on lovely smooth roads through lovely countryside we arrived at Hofladen. The stellplatze there was big, more like a campsite but without a toilet block. And at first we thought it was free due to this sign....

But after we parked up I read the notice board and found out it was 12 euro and you had to do the envelope in the box thing again like yesterday. Expensive for us but we were set up now so stayed.

We walked through a gate and around the lake then found the gate locked so had to walk around the lake again and out through a lakeside restaurant. All very confusing. At 6 o'clock a big man in a little van drove around the place selling eggs, bread and veggies. Actually he just pushed the van around then drove off in it.

We sat and looked at maps and decided that we would make for France tomorrow. We had two weeks before we needed to be back in Germany for a beer festival we were meeting friends at. Germany wouldn't hold my attention for that long and we fancied some familiar surroundings. I took an arty photo of some teasels from where I sat outside the van and drank some lovely German beer.

And that's where I'll leave this weeks blog post. Next up France and the Alsace region, a language we can understand, food we recognise and less daily mileage.

Stellplatze Mengen, Germany.  N48.03075 E009.28166

Below are the numbers so far for 165 days away.

Cheers, the Van Brian Crew.


  1. following on from your inspirational blog we went looking at larger vans yesterday !

    1. It's the way to go. Ours is 6m long and plenty big enough for us.

    2. We looked at loads and think we want something a tiny bit longer with ideally an island bed. Probably a tow bar mounted scooter rack for an old Vespa is something else as I can't imagine going months without two wheels.

  2. Enjoying the blog, we're planning to hit the road full time in January and this and the others I'm following keep me sane at the moment. You'll need to go back to Austria for the Stiegl... It's Salzburg's local brew :)

  3. Did you consider a left hand drive van ?

    1. I'd of liked one but unless you go abroad to buy it and go through the process of registering it in the UK you don't get a lot of choice when buying LHD in the UK. We wouldn't have found a van with everthing we wanted in it I'm sure.

  4. Phew ! Almost frenetic :-) Carry on ...


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