An early start had us up, tent down, car packed and ready to leave by 10am.
We have enjoyed our time in Italy, the smells of honeysuckle and jasmine, beautiful scenery, the fresh fruit and veg, inexpensive food, cheap coffee and occasional sunshine, and the odd thunderstorm thrown in for Amr. We would both like to return another time and explore more of the country and further south, but that’s a whole new road trip to plan☺️☺️
Choosing to avoid the motorways wasn’t a difficult choice, using the smaller roads was a shorter distance and quicker. Not only that they were much more interesting. Our first stop was in Udine, on Magdys’ recommendation. Unfortunately as we were leaving the car park the rain started. Experience has taught us to take a brolly with us even if the sun is shining in Italy so we were prepared. Although not as prepared as we could have been, the rain turned quickly into yet another thunder and lightning storm and the rain was pelting down and dancing upwards from the cobbles. Fortunately Udine has a lot of covered walkways, which are old and beautiful, which provided shelter. Having found the main square we decided to stop for lunch and watch the rain, hoping for it to clear up before we headed back to the car, for all my preparation I was wearing flip flops, not good in torrential rain, or slippy sidewalks! Whilst I was enjoying my risotto with white asparagus which incidentally was delicious, Amr was pointing out to me his lasagne, and telling me ‘this is how I want my Lasagne when we get home’ . I have to say the lasagne here is a totally different dish to what we get or make at home.
The road led us to the mountains which were shrouded in clouds, very black ones. We did question ourselves as to why we were going north when the weather south was better! The road itself was a feat of engineering, but not only that the number of hairpin bends was incredible, and huge trucks were racing down the road as though it were a dual carriageway… scary! Again as we went further north the scenery and buildings changed from typical Italian to alpine style, with the church steeples changing from (leaning) brick towers to ornately beautiful steeples. Using the smaller roads also avoided the horrendous toll charges, with the exception of the Felbertauerstrasse Tunnel, which was unavoidable in crossing to the other side of the Alps!
Being up in the mountains we could feel the temperature changing even as we were in the car. So although we ate dinner outside the tent, we are sheltering inside tonight as its distinctly chilly.
Zell am See
So waking up, on what is the half way point of our trip, yet again to rain coming down, a huge puddle outside of our tent and ants inside it!! Not phased by a bit of rain we had breakfast under the gazebo before heading of on a tour round the lake and into Zell am See. No sign of the mountains as the clouds are low and heavy it as the day goes on they slowly lift. Zell am See is a lovely old town with traditional Austrian buildings. Coming out of the car park, looking at the signs to see where and how to pay, we noticed that the signs were in German, Arabic then English! We thought this strange until as we walked through the town we saw more and more signs in Arabic, in the information centre there were more leaflets translated into Arabic than English. There were lots of Arabs walking in the town, the women in full niqab and the men in shirt sleeves, we were shivering in our fleeces!! We are still wondering what attracts Arab tourists to the area, but it was also obvious that there seem to be a large contingent living here too judging by the supermarket signs.
After a stroll along the lake, trying to work out where the mountains were we were both decidedly hungry so it was a delicious Austrian wiener schnitzel and fried potatoes for lunch. To work off the lunch we took a walk round the campsite to explore more of what was on offer. A tunnel leads us from the main site, round a field to the swimming lake, an adventure trail which off course with new found courage I had to try, to much hilarity. There is also a football pitch, volley ball pitch, tennis courts, kids adventure playground, and loads of sun beds, rather redundant at the moment. But the lake will be perfect for swimming when the sun comes out eventually. It is trying to peep through the clouds, but it’s not making enough effort to have any impact I’m afraid.