22.07.2017 - 22.07.2017 25 °C
Day 59 Saturday July 22 2017
Ljubliana to Innsbruck / Border Crossing / 447 KM
- Since Plan B is in force and we are now headed back to UK, there is no time to enjoy the lakeside town of Bled or visit the bee museum at Radvolijica, as originally planned.
- As we leave Ljubiliana in a NW direction towards Austria & Salzburg we see mountains rising in the not so far distance. Driving in western Austria, even on a motorway route, is spectacularly scenic.
- We are glad we leave the Ljubiliana promptly. The city may be still slumbering on a sunny Saturday morning, but on the various motorways of Central Europe, traffic is already heavily congested and getting worse by the hour. This weekend 22/23 July is one of the busiest of the year for most of Europe, the UK included.
- As it happens we are headed north and it is only returning holiday makers that share our route. Schools have just finished in many countries and the vast majority of people are going on holiday, on the same day and altogether.
- North, south, east & west, as far as the eye can see - a huge human migration is unfolding before our very eyes. Yes it's voluntary not enforced, yes it happens in vehicles and not on foot. But it is still European madness.
- Some 65 km out of Ljubiliana we queue to cross the Slovenian / Austrian border. It's not passport control, it's a queue to purchase the obligatory vignette.
- 8.90 euros for a minimum of 7 days. Firstly what a silly amount - 90 cents - all that small change required to service cash transactions.
- Secondly, that is not the end of the story - in Austria you pay additionally to drive through their longer and extremely splendid tunnels. Within a short distance of the border we pay out a total of 20 euros in tunnel fees.
- To add insult to financial pain, 50 cents (1/2 euro ) entry is then charged at the toilets at the next motorway service station.
- It's our first visit to Innsbruck, Austria's 4 th city. Surrounded as it is by high mountains, the vista from the office windows must be very uplifting. You are but a cable car ride away from mountain summits, ski slopes and bike trails.
- Nala, our hotel for the night, is a short walk from Maria Therese Strasse & the famous Monumental Arch that leads into Innsbruck's old town.
- Fortunately weekend parking is allowed on the side streets and without charge. We manage to find a space close to our hotel. Otherwise be prepared for a daily fee of around 10 euros.
- Interior designers have been let loose in the Nala. Yes it's interesting, even eclectic. But light switches are too numerous & complicated, there is no aircon and rooms have bathrooms with sliding glass doors. It would seem that according to contemporary design standards. it is the height of chic to have a bath in the middle of your bedroom and a toilet visible to all.
- AG comments that they might as well just put the toilet in the middle of the room and just be done with it.
- Call us old fashioned. We just don't get the appeal. And we have yet to discover anyone who does - except obviously the designers.
- After another long day on very busy roads AG is exhausted. Sightseeing is restricted to a mere wander around the old town. The main task is to find somewhere suitable to eat. We are craving steak. Woodfire is recommended by reception, but they say they have no space all evening. It pays to reserve in advance at the weekend in Innsbruck.
- SG navigates a walking trail through the old town purposefully to pass by and check that there really is no availability. It's just 6 p.m. Diners have not yet begun to arrive. They take pity and allocate us a table out on the rear terrace. It's perfect. We're the first to order and to eat. The food, starters & steak main course, is first class in both presentation & flavour. It definitely justifies our perseverance.
- En route back to our hotel we come across a live music performance in one of the old town's squares. Innsbruck puts on lots of different cultural events during the summer. This evening's concert is part of their annual New Orleans Jazz Festival. We stay a short while and enjoy. But tomorrow's journey, across a Europe very much on the move, looms large. A good night's sleep is essential.