Sunday 6th August: Our arrival in Austria

We were fast asleep at about 8.30 to 9.00ish last night and had a great night's sleep, which meant that we woke bright and early this morning at about 6.00, feeling refreshed. We had a cup of tea in bed, followed by breakfast, then washed, dressed and hit the road.

Despite it being early, the roads were busy. Nevertheless, we made good progress and after a few hours we left the dual carriageway and headed up steep hairpin bends over the final hills. Only 30 minutes to go. Then all of a sudden Google maps rerouted, telling me that the road ahead was blocked and we needed to turnaround and take a 2 hour detour! No way!

We pulled off the road to a cafe, to discuss what to do next over a coffee. We agreed that we'd rather continue with the planned route over the Gerlos Pass, even if that meant pausing somewhere to park up and relax in the camper van or go for a walk, rather than spending more time driving. There didn't seem much point rushing because it was raining. Also, nobody seemed to be turning round so we hoped that the road was now clear.

We continued up the hairpin bends, past the place where Google maps said the road was blocked, and along a small lake, thinking we might just be ok. However, unfortunately, we did meet a traffic jam, so we joined the queue and switched the engine off. A lot of cars turned round as they got impatient for something to happen. Some people were out of their vehicles, chatting and speculating what had happened. Finally, after about 45 minutes, a police car drove in the opposite direction. Some Dutch people behind us spoke to the policeman and, assuming they'd speak good English, John asked what was going on. Thankfully, the road was about to open. Well… waiting was quicker than the detour anyway!

As we continued, we discovered that there had been a mudslide down the steep hill beside the road. At least it wasn't a nasty accident, which was what I'd expected. Emergency vehicles were parked up, together with tractors, which had removed the mud and dumped it in the river. The road was still muddy and slippery, but we were soon on our way. Unfortunately, there were no views from the top of the pass because everywhere is shrouded in cloud. However, I did manage to get some photographs of the distant Krimml Waterfall, which we hope to visit tomorrow.

Before we turned off the main road, we stopped in a village to visit tourist information and get some maps, and visit the local shops for some bread. Unfortunately, we'd forgotten it was Sunday and everywhere was closed. Instead we decided to have lunch in the restaurant that owns the camper van aire that we've parked in… typical Austrian pork schnitzel, which was very nice, but which I think we might be sick of after 3 weeks!

Now we're back in the van and, along with the constant heavy rain, there's intermittent thunder and lightning. I love a good storm! We're nice and cosy with our books and DVDs. Thankfully, the weather forecast is much better for tomorrow.

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