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Start Our Austrian Vacation

Drive to Kärnten

*** Under Construction ***

April 14
Written April 15
Dear Friends and Family,

This is the start of our story about our vacation in Austria.  A friend owns a vacation house on the southern border of Austria and we have finally decided to take her up on the invitation to visit the area. (See map at the end of this page.)

I am trying to do one diary per day, partly to keep our own memories complete and also to live up to the meaning of "diary".  The discipline will be good, but maybe too much.  Vamos ver.
We started out with our traditional Saturday breakfast at Burkhard's bakery, but we took our roll and coffee to go, instead of leisurely munching near all the good baked goods.  We headed for the A3 autobahn, connected with the A9 and in a couple of hours passed Munich toward Salzburg, Austria.  Uncharacteristically, the road wasn't too crowded and we reminded ourselves that we need to get out more often, that even the A3 isn't ALWAYS the nail-biter that we expect.

car breakfast

lunch buffet Our first vacation stop in Austria was to get the "vignette", the almost-$100 road pass that allows use of most autobahns in Austria.  The next stop was lunch at the first road stop we ran across.  We had wondered if Austria had such stops as frequently as Germany and the answer is definitely "yes", since we later passed another half-dozen before we left the main highway.  Our little stop was OK-enough, with a light salad buffet.  We needed to save our calories for later on.

After lunch, the road got much more interesting, at least the scenery did.  Driving, itself, remains pleasantly boring.  We could imagine how this place fills with winter skiers or summer tourists, but for our rainy spring day, it was an easy drive.

Since we were on a mission to get to our vacation house, and because the day was pretty gray, our only pictures came from the window of the car.  This is NOT how to get high quality, but you get the idea anyway.  Lots of rocky mountain slopes, steep rolling hills, bridges, and tunnels.
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d120414_13_moreCloud.jpg d120414_14_bridges.jpg d120414_15_hillside.jpg

Speaking of tunnels, we counted 14 and took pictures of most.  Again, not good pictures, but a way to illustrate just how complex this highway is.  I suppose that's why they charged an extra 10 euros ($13), over and above our vignette.Seeing all these tunnels, a couple of which are six or seven kilometers long, also made us think of all the traffic jams we were missing.
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After about six hours, we reached our goal: Wahaha Paradise in Feistritz im Rosenthal, in Kärnten, an Austrian state, almost into Slovenia.  Our friends' vacation rental is in a small resort, alongside a river that has been dammed into a series of lakes.  A very picturesque location, I'm sure, but the current weather can't be doing it justice.  We will save our pictures for later.

The caretaker, Frau Laussegger, met us and let us in.  She showed us around the three-bedroom, two-bath home -- substantially bigger than our normal hotel rooms -- and offered any help we might need.  This is definitely a nicer way to travel than small, cramped hotel rooms with surly staff.  (Did I say "Paris", no.)  The only slight hitch is that the house comes with no outside communication, no phone, no internet, and only our expensive out-of-country mobile phones.  We wondered if we could live this way, but Frau Laussegger laughed, implying she does just fine without internet, thank you.
d120414_16_house.jpg The Wahaha Paradise resort office provided a partial answer.  We could buy wifi time that was usable in their coffee shop and restaurant.  Good enough solution and a good enough reason to move immediately to a pre-dinner drink and email check, followed by a lakeside meal.  Yeah, this should be OK. d120414_17_dinner.jpg

Now it is Sunday, and we are starting slowly.  No email and internet browsing to distract us.  No CNN news, or any other English television, to use up our time.  I am hoping to load this diary during a morning stop for coffee, but if I don't, the world won't notice and we will be reminded of "the good old days", before 24-7 connectedness. 

Probably a good thing.

John and Marianne
ps: the track to Kärnten
track to Kaernten


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