Goodbye Slovenia Hello Austria

Leaving Ljubljana

Ljubljana Dragon Bridge
The forecast of rain had us up early packing up our gear for the trip from Ljubljana to Austria. Our original plan of taking the route over the mountains had been changed as the weather was forecast to be rain almost all afternoon so now we were heading for Lake Bled for a quick visit then onto Austria. At this stage we were not sure where we were staying it would depend on time and weather.

The apartment was set amongst farmland ten minutes drive from the city centre of Ljubljana so within minutes we were clear of the city and on our way.  We headed out through Kranj and Radowljica towards Bled. The ride was wonderful through lots of flatland covered in fields of wheat and corn, with the occasional forest. Every now and then we’d spy wooden farm buildings built in a style which is quite local. Drying frames also dot the countryside with some drying straw, some used for billboards and others used as a wood storage.

Lake Bled

Lake Bled Slovenia
Arriving at Lake Bled we suddenly realised how popular the town was as it was not yet 9 am and already Tourist buses choked the roads. We took a few photos across the lake of the castle and the churches before heading on towards Bohinj. The ride through the hills and along the river was really scenic with glimpses of the river a lovely green colour. It was hard to get a decent photo as the river had such great reflections.
We reached Bohinjska Bistrica a quaint little village at the foot of the mountains not far from Lake Bohinj. Alongside the village markets we found a small restaurant for breakfast. They served a lovely platter of local homemade salamis, cheeses, breads, eggs and minced lard. Michele wasn’t too keen on the lard, but maybe that because I told her what it was. It had a lovely flavour however, and reminded me a bit of French rillette.
By the time we’d finished breakfast the weather had closed in a bit, with rain clouds covering the mountains. It put our plans of riding around Lake Bohinj out the window. Instead we decided to head to Jeznice and towards Salzburg.
On the edge of Jeznice it started raining heavily so we pulled the plug on our plan to ride over the mountain and headed for the tunnel.
Arriving at the toll gates we paid the €7.20 fee and were able to purchase the Austrian Vignette, a pass for motorways and highways. It was nice to get out of the rain as we passed through the 7 kilometre tunnel which leads from Slovenia into Austria. It’s also the main access from Ljubljana to Salzburg. It was interesting seeing the road branch in three separate directions with the signs pointing to Germany, Austria and Italy. At the Austrian border a temporary border post had been established with border guards checking vehicles. They didn’t even look at us and simply waved us through as we approached.

Once in Austria we passed through one tunnel after another as we travelled through the high mountain ranges. We arrived at another tollbooth and despite arguing that we had a vignette we still had to shell out some more euros. It seems that the tunnels can attract additional tolls.

The motorway towards Salzburg was lined with high wooden soundproof fences with different patterns. It was a bit like being stuck in an old Wolfenstein 3D game with the fenced road twisting left and right with the high fences blocking views of the surrounding countryside. Every now and then we’d catch glimpses of chalets on the sides of hills surrounded by meadows, with snow capped peaks towering over them. It was what we were expecting of Austria.


Salzburg Austria

The rain was fairly constant all the way to Salzburg and by the time we hit the outskirts of the city Michele was adamant that she could go no further. We had planned on maybe stopping at a budget motel but after seeing the advertised price pulled into a Burger King to get some wifi. The price they were asking was just a stupid amount.

Searching for the lowest price in Salzburg what should appear but none other than Trapp Villa, the former home of the Von Trapp family from the Sound of Music. It wasn’t either of the ones used in the film, it was the ridgey didge one which they actually lived in. An opportunity like this doesn’t come up every day and Michele being a Sound of Music fan, thought it’d be perfect.

Salzburg Austria

The route took us through the heart of Salzburg past the castle and through the lovely old parts of the city, before heading out along the river to the older parts of the city. The Garmin ran out of battery not far from our destination and once again Michele was in a flap but I was able to plug it in to get us to our destination.

Villa Trapp

Villa Trapp
Villa Trapp didn’t have the grand gates like in the movie but it was still quite stately surrounded by a high fence and with a gravel drive leading up to the front door. We were greeted at the door by a rather quirky lady who checked us in before showing us around. Along the hallways were lots of photos and furniture which belonged to the family.

Villa Trapp

The main lounge was tastefully decorated and furnished with items from the early twentieth century. Different items such as a bosuns whistle, medals and a ships bell were on display in cabinets along with photos, books and paintings which gave the room a sense of comfort.
Each room and suite had a name which corresponded with a child or family member. There were also little bio’s of each of the real members of the family on the walls. Our room was supposedly the smallest in the hotel, however it was quite large in comparison to many we’ve stayed in. Around the walls of the room were photos of the family and paintings of the captain and various ships. It had a really nice feel about it.

Whilst waiting for the rain to stop we read a bit about the history of the house and the family. It seems that the Sound of Music was based on the story of the Von Trapps but some facts were altered like the names and sexes of children, when they were married and a few other items. Michele soon became annoyed at me destroying her childhood dream so I soon stopped sharing some of the facts and let her go back to her fantasy.

It also seems that Salzburg is unhappy that in the English speaking world it’s known as the setting for the Sound of Music and not the birthplace of Mozart. Many English speaking tourists grew up with the musical and visit Salzburg just to see the places from the movie. Many of the locals feel that the schmaltzy musical is a bit low brow and should be struck off as a tourist destination but it turns over a lot more money than an old composer who absolutely loathed the city.
“The hills are alive with the sound of music” ……no actually that’s the sound of rain which continued on and off all afternoon.

Salzburg Austria

With a break in the weather we took a walk to the river not far away and headed towards the city. Around the suburb there are still cornfields amongst the houses which is quite interesting. The river was fast flowing after all the rains and definitely too dangerous to swim in so the local council let the scrub grow high next to the river to discourage would be swimmers.
As we hurried back to the hotel it started to rain again which sped up our progress. Tomorrow we head to Ingolstadt near Munich to catchup with some former couchsurfers.

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