81 I had a wake up call
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10 July 2013
The hostel I was staying last night, I could write ten pages
about it, but of course...I won't.
When I arrived the
couple who own the place were in the middle of what appeared to be an argument.
As soon as they saw me the directed fake smiles into my direction whilst during
check in I kept on hearing unintelligible growls coming from both parties
are the cameras?" I thought, for sure I have arrived in the middle of a Czech
episode of Vadné Věže (Faulty Towers) I expected a kind of “Manuel”
to appear at any moment.
The place must have been constructed using several old
buildings which is obvious as the floors are on different levels meaning, that
there are many sections ranging from 1 to 4 steps higher or lower than the rest
of the building. The hallways and
corridors look like a rabbit warren en walking through the building is a
challenge even for an old boy scout like me. During my “discovery tour” I even got lost for
a short while. Later I did meet a kind of “Manuel” who served me breakfast in
the totally deserted breakfast area.
This guy, with a nervous disposition served me coffee with shaking hands and a weird stare in his eyes
From the outside the place looks very attractive as does the
whole town square. I like the type of
architecture in the town as it makes a pleasant change from the brown bricks
you see in Holland. This town is near the border of Germany and had a large
German population. The Germans were the majority population of the town. When
the Second World War broke out and the Germans invaded this area the local German
people lined the streets and welcomed the troops for which, 6 years later, they
had to pay a high price for. After the war the entire German population was
made to pack up, were disposed. They had lost all their possessions which they
could not carry with them. Three million Germans where exiled from
Czechoslovakia and likewise from Hungary
cleansing, a phrase coined in the 1990’s. However, these people were made to
walk out of the country (where they had been born and their ancestors had lived
for centuries) which shows that although the world is modernizing, in other
ways we are going backwards in things like this as the Serbs took similar action
in Bosnia but were radical by driving people away in busses and executing the
population by the 1000’s.
I changed my navigation to shortest route south which is
always a guarantee to end up in the most unexpected places. The area is called
Bohemia which immediately makes one think of Bohemian glass. Indeed where I
slowed down in villages there was always a shop with the most beautiful glass
ornaments on show. I rode through Plzen- where I did not drink any Pilsener,
but visited the local Aldi Store to get some supplies. (it always surprises me
that all Aldi stores are exactly the same the world over)
At the Austrian border one needs to buy a “Vignette” which
is a rip-off permit to ride/drive the major roads
are already on the major road and a barrier in the centre prevents you from turning back, you have no choice but to handover the money.
Then you face rip-off number two that this same road has a tunnel which charges toll, which of course, you find out after you have already past
though it. Anyway halfway down the road to Graz I turned right and followed a
beautiful twisting road going up to 1250 meters in elevation. As I was unsure
about where I would and up I had not made a reservation for my accommodation and
also needed to check my email for other reason.
I headed for Klagenfurt on the border Slovenia. I went into town to find
a Mac D but without success. Most coffee shops had no parking so I headed out
of town again to get some fuel. When
finished I decided to go back as I did not fancy using my emergency tent
in an angry fashion. I re-entered Klagenfurt
via different streets and noticed
a coffee shop with parking at the front. No Wifi though…I walked further and
four shops further on… Bingo!- Ein Kafee
und WIFI code Bitte! I collected the
bike and parked it near me. After getting on the net, a man approached me and introduced
himself as Rudie and asked about the bike with the Aus stickers on it. It turned out that he had his
BMW R1200GS parked nearby just out of sight and told me that he had been to
places like Tunisia , Egypt and Turkey on it.
15 minutes later I had packed up and followed him after accepting his
invitation to stay at his place in the town of Wolfsberg , 60 km away somewhere
up in the Alps. I did not know what to expect and was very surprised to see a
magnificent fully restored 200 year old farmhouse, totally modernized to 2013 standards.
We had plenty of things to discus and
share, the major topic being the political status of the various EU countries
which interests me as much as the
local price of cigarettes
you are in someone’s house I have
learned to respect their hobby horse.
Anyway we talked a lot about our common interest as well. A bottle of beer and two bottles of champagne
later we called it quits at 02.45 AM.
More about this place tomorrow.
Oh...about the wake up call- it actually woke me up, I quickly grabbed my camera and recorded a shaky video- but never mind. click on the video (the picture at the top of the page)and you see what I mean