Austria

Trip Start May 27, 2007
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14
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Trip End Nov 27, 2007


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Flag of Austria  ,
Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hi!

Well, yet again we┤ve had a minor incident. A few days ago we drove across a scenic mountain pass, next to the Gro▀ Glockner (Austria┤s highest mountain). It was a very steep winding road working its way up the mountains until a vantage point overlooking the glaciers. Stunning drive, although as with everywhere in Austria they did charge us a small fortune for the pleasure. Worth it though.
The van performed remarkably well and the queue of traffic behind me wasn┤t quite stretching out of sight (mostly because Europeans love overtaking at any opportunity, whether you can see or not).

However, the excitement came on the way down. "Use low gear" said the sign.
I┤m not doing that, I thought. That┤ll use far too much fuel. I┤ll just coast and use the brakes.
A short while later, Claire asked "What┤s that smell". "Dunno", I shrugged. "Don┤t think it can be us" as I pressed the brakes a bit harder approaching yet another hairpin.

Nothing happened.

Has anyone else tried driving down a steep winding mountain road with no brakes? Fun, isn┤t it...? Ramming them to the floor it slowed just enough to make it round the bend, and gradually come to a halt. The wheels were steaming, and the hub caps way too hot to touch. We left it half and hour but as they hadn┤t changed I just decided to risk it and set off in 2nd gear for the rest of the trek down. The queue behind me by the end this time was even bigger, but at least we made it. They cooled down as we moved and now seem fine. Still, learnt my lesson there!

Apart from that bit of excitment it┤s been a pretty lazy week. Slovenia was beautiful, and we spent a few nights camped by Lakes Bled and Bohinj, walking round both and presumably passing the spot where Phil put the love into sLOVEnia when he proposed to Charlotte. We then came to Austria, exploring Graz and Innsbruck (both lovely) as well as Kaprun and Kitzbuhl and other smaller villages in between. Austria is pretty much all mountains and valleys. Stunning. We┤re heading west today, gradually aiming for Switzerland in a couple of days.

Catch up more then!
Mark and Claire xxx
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