02.06.2016 - 08.06.2016
"No kangaroos in Austria"
The number of times I've seen this sign in the last week has been ridiculous. And I love it! I can just imagine the devastated look on an unsuspecting tourists face when they've travelled far and wide in search of the exotic kangaroo, only to discover that kangaroos live in AUSTRALIA, not Austria. Fortunately Maddie and I have seen enough kangaroos in our lives that this wasn't an issue for us during the past week.
We crossed into Austria a week ago and were instantly struck by the incredible natural beauty of the landscape. After a brief stay in Linz we aimed for Salzburg, but took the long way around through the lake district. The glassy lakes and crystal clear water, surrounded by sheer cliffs and pine forests realy so make a spectacular image. So far Austria has presented some of the most amazing scenery we've ever seen. So after a casual ride along the lake at Ebensee, we continued on our way.
Now Salzburg had a particular hype attached to it for me. Before we left Australia, particular Aunty of mine wasted no time telling us how amazing and incredible The Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg is. And for anyone who knows her there's no doubt she was belting out every song at the top of her lungs the entire bus ride! But in all seriousness, I'm glad she did. It was so much fun! Getting heaped onto a bus with around 40 other tourists, singing the songs and visiting the sites of The Sound of Music. And all the while listening to the hilarious commentary of the flamboyantly gay tour guide (although we think he might have be putting on the voice).
We had 2 days in Salzburg so we did manage to see some other attractions as well. The Hohensalzburg Castle was really cool, sitting up on top of the hill in the middle of Salzburg. It's not hard to see why in its 1000 year history it was never captured by force. We checked out the Mirabell Palace, the Augustiner Brau Haus (oldest beer house in Salzburg run by Monks), and ate our first Austrian Schnitzel (which was of course, delicious!).
Next up on our Austrian tour was Eisriesenwelt. This massive ice cave was absolutely amazing and just so happens to be the largest ice cave in the world. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take photos in the cave so I'll just give you a photo of the view from the top. But, if you do a quick google search you'll get a glimpse of just how amazing it is.
We also went and checked out Liechtensteinklamm, which is an awesome gorge near Salzburg. Then the gondola ride to the top of Dachstein Mountain. Now we won't linger here because it's still a bit of a sore spot. After attempting to drive Frankie up to mountain (with limited success), then deciding to take the bus (which we had to wait 2 hrs for and pay 30euro), and finally arriving at the gondola, we had to pay 62euro to ride to the top. Now of course we're finally in the glass box heading for the top, and what would happen, of course it starts raining. So there we are, with what was by all rights an amazing view, having paid an arm and a leg, getting soaked and starting to freeze. Needless to say, we were feeling a little sorry for ourselves. Nevertheless, we rallied and got on with our travels.
Next stop was Vienna, and here's where Frankie decided she wanted an attitude change. Stuck in peak hour traffic, moving 1km every 20mins, on boiling hot day, we started to think "why does it sound like we're driving a V8?". We knew of course from the start that Frankie had her problems, but think was a bit much. So when we were finally out of the traffic we took a quick peek, and surely enough, our exhaust has just broken in half. Luckily both pieces were well attached underneath and there's no really damage that'll keep us from moving on. It does, however, mean that every time we take on the slightest hill it's sounds like we're driving Dad's old Bedford truck up Dorrigo mountain. Issues aside, frankie just keeps on going, for now.
Now, back to more important things, Vienna. After getting some inside information about the city from our German and Dutch campervan neighbours, we headed into the city in the morning for another free walking tour. Vienna is an incredible city with so much history and so many amazing buildings. I would have to say my high would definitely have been Schönbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the Austrian Imperial family. Absolutely amazing building and grounds and well worth a visit if you're in the area.
Unfortunately we only had time to spend 1 full day in Vienna, because it was time for us to Czech out of Austria (credit to Maddie for that little pun). So we'll see you next in Czech!