Gord & Val 's 2017 Balkans Trip travel blog

What a day! First we slept in.....the alarm was set but not turned on...oops must have been those sleepy eyes and that foggy brain! I After a nice continental breakfast, we waited for Renault to come pick us up...and waited some more. Just after 10 Gord phoned Renault and corrected the name of our hotel...he had been waiting at the Hilton...another foggy moment?..We picked up our car on a farm--with fields filled with Citroens and Peugots. The farm has been repurposed. Then things really got interesting.

To reintroduce ourselves to European driving we took the autobahn and headed for Saltzburg a mere 146 k away....sounds simple. But it took 4 hours in the sometimes rain and low cloud--where are the Alps everyone raves about? The traffic on this holiday week-end was bumper to bumper all the way with stop and go, emergency vehicles occasionally threading their way through to help stranded people...and their cars. When one left the freeway when nature called there were lineups for parking AND the two WC's that were present. Lunch was the same at a rest area with a gas station and restaurant...and lineups for pay WC where many females used the men's to avoid the lines (me included) despite the men using the urinals anyway.

At lunch a saleslady trying to make a sale ( not that kind) sitting next to us mentioned Canada and our ears perked up. Canada..where abouts? Gord asked....and she imports Canadian wines from the Okanagon and the Niagara Peninsula, has been to Canada many times and has friends in Campbell River...who'd a thought! Getting back on the freeway was fun too!

As I said, it was sprinkling and cloudy when we got to Saltzburg, what great views where we to see?? We carried on to Villach, Austria. And the sun came out showing us beautiful green-covered mountains...when we weren't driving through a tunnel. Our spirits lifted. When I had been awake at 1a. Villach still had reasonably priced rooms....but it was now 6p a.n.d. all hotel rooms were taken including pensions where no one answered the door. Even the Holiday Inn! And 5 star hotels a little further down the road. Apparently people commute to Saltzburg from here. At 6p we had a hurried dinner...pasta and weiner schnitzel and the next hotel suggested we try Klagenfurt a mere 30..no wait...40 min away. We took the freeway...but the hotels were on the secondary road keeping pace with us in sight of us. Almost to Klagenfurt we went off to discover more filled to the brim hotels. We kept on and at 8p discovered the antiquated Seehotel Porcia on the banks of a scenic lake with vacant rooms. We took one...despite the price and found a top floor room filled with antiques, a 'marriage-bed' a small heavily draped entry, a great view and 2 small bottles of champagne waiting. Marble floors and steps too. A pleasure! We settled in.

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