I really did not want to leave the lake at Berchtesgaden this morning, the sun was again out early, there was not a cloud in the sky and I was still just enjoying being in such a stunning place. However, as stated, it’s a big world and I have to be strict if I want to adhere to the only timing I have in place for the whole of this trip, which is to be in Russia for the World Cup. There are a lot of places to visit between now and Englands first game, so unfortunately I bade that magnificent place ......Auf-weidersehen.
I set off walking from Königssee with no set plan other than knowing Salzburg was the next place I wished to visit. It was not somewhere I had originally considered but so many people have mentioned how beautiful the place was that it literally would be rude if I didn’t go there.
The river path followed the valley down and I just kept on bimbling. It was just short of 30k from the lake to Salzburg and without really realising it I ended up about 5k short of the city by the end of the day. As the valley emerged into the open plain, I crossed the boarder from Germany into Austria. It seems I’ve been in Germany for ages but I have to say it’s been amazing; to everyone I met there thank you so much, you and your country have been brilliant…..I will return.
I am convinced that someone stuffed a few bricks into my bergan at one of my stops on the way down, but I’m buggered if I could find them upon searching. I did however find a quiet spot in a meadow just on the edge of the town of Grodig and set up camp there for the night and was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
It turns out that I had set my tent up just literally around a bend in the tree’s from a military cemetery. This contained Italian, Austrian, Russian & Serbian soldiers from the First World War, as well as 450 Russian children killed during that period :0(. I had a nice chat with the groundsman of the site, who then gave me a little tour and explained the units who are interred there. I assume (although we know what assuming can do), that a lot of these guys were killed in the mountain fighting of WW1, which is not very well known about but was as ugly as all the other battles of that time, with the added twist of being at altitude and in snowy mountain conditions!
The groundsman advised me to keep following the river path all the way into Salzburg and his advice was heeded. I saw a guy surfing on the canal (no really..and have video to prove it), cooked and ate lunch on a bench on the banks and chatted by text to my daughter, Alisha, who is currently doing her thing in Australia. You don’t really enter any suburbs of Salzburg, as you would any other city, its just stunning innovative housing (cook-coo clock houses with a modern twist), and then boomfff, your in the city centre!!
It took about 0.5 nano-seconds to see why people said they liked the place and it rapidly climbed to the number 1 spot as my favourite European city. Such a beautiful place that is extremely clean and completely pedestrianised in the centre; it was a hot day, people were out in their droves and Salzburg just exuded a touch of class. After a great day wandering around the city, I headed to a campsite on its edges, near the autobahn entrance for Vienna. Loooong walk and the first site was closed, which severely dented Morale, but fortunately there was a second one within 15 minutes walk. It was called ‘Panorama Campsite’ and had a great view of the whole city with the alps behind.
The Ultimate hitchhikers day.
This morning I stood near the slip road for the Autobahn for Vienna, with my nicely coloured in sign stating the name of my required destination. After about 20 minutes I was honked and Victoria & Simon pull up in their van. Both these guys are your seasoned travellers who have seen plenty of the planet and have hitchhiked themselves. You could fit a small army in their van so ther was loads of space for me and my bergan, they were playing funky music and yes they were going all the way to Vienna before pushing on to Budapest (that ladies and gents is what’s known in the trade as ‘A right little result me old china’.
The scenery through Austria is just awesome with rolling hills reaching to the mountains stunningly blue lakes and cook-coo clock houses everywhere. It was a great journey and thanks you two for a great lift and I wish you both all the best for the future xx
I was dropped outside the city and decided to start walking in. Again it was a fantastic afternoon so looked up a central campsite and headed towards it. Did not arrive until nearly midnight but was a happy though tired camper.
Now I’m 100 % certain that your supposed to pay for the underground in Vienna….However as hard as I tried to find where to pay (you can imagine just how hard), I couldn’t and so just walked onto a tube as there were no barriers! This pretty much set the tone for moving around the city and will probably be the cause of my first arrest of the journey. Opted for a free walking tour of the city and was in a group of about 20, lead by the tour guide ‘Wolfgang’
Thing I’ve learnt about Vienna
1)They had the same ruling Monarchy for hundreds of years, who were basically really crap at fighting wars. They entered into loads and near as dammit lost them all.
2)They were very good however at having daughters and marrying them off to other strong families and thus creating a big empire that way.
3)Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived and died here (wasn’t born here though).
4)Mozart is buried in a mass grave but they are not sure which one. ‘Why was he buried in a mass grave’ I hear you ask??? The ruling monarch at the time said people were spending to much money on their tombs. He declared that ‘everyone was equal in death and all should be buried in mass grave’ (apart from him obviously). This Emperor died 4 years later and that law was dropped (nobility didn’t want to be buried with the peasant scum). However during this time Mozart died…unlucky!
5)When He arrived in the late 30’s and made Austria part of Germany, most Austrians thought Hitler was a great bloke. A huge number of Hitlers top staff were from Austria.
6)After the war most Austrians pretended that they had though Hitler was a tosser all along but had not really wanted to put their hand up and say so. The whole thing was then brushed under the carpet until the mid 80’s when people started saying ‘yeah maybe we got that bit wrong’!
7)The Vienna boys Choir is in fact 4 choir’s. 2 are always in Vienna and 2 are always on tour around the world. They all attend the same school but at soon as their voice breaks they are pretty much finished and have to go to lessons in a different part of the school, known as the ‘mutant classes’.
8)Sigmund Freud lived in Vienna and was there when the Nazi’s rocked up. Being Jewish he was told to leave but said ‘I’m in my 80’s and I’m staying here’. With him being known around the world, this created a bit of a PR issue for the Nazi’s. To force him to go they kidnapped his daughter but he still refused. He only moved when he was told they were going to kill his daughter that night if he did not leave. He also had to sign a declaration stating that he had been treated fairly. At the bottom of his statement he wrote ‘P.S..I would recommend the Gestapo to anyone’. The Nazi’s loved it not realising he was being ever so slightly sarcastic!
9)You can watch an opera in the world famous opera house for as little as 3-4 euro….if you want to stand! If you want to sit, please sell your house.
10)Free tours are never free!
I then met and had a few beers with the guy who designed my website and who currently resides in Vienna. Thanks Carl.
Today is an admin day.
I’m typing this little bit up then I’m planning my next move. I’m aiming to a visit to a pyramid and some gigantic stone spheres for my next stage of the journey, so that must give it away that I’m going to Bosnia?? (Really). I will not be stopping much along the way so will wave hello and virtually goodbye to Slovenia and Croatia, just admiring their natural beauty as I move through.
I can feel the World Cup starting to creep up, I love this competition but must admit I think Russia has the potential to be a bit of a bloodbath!!
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Pic from Vienna (wein to give it its proper name!).