We made it!
This post has lots of photos of the Alps, as this was my first ever crossing of this beautiful mountain range and I was knocked out by what I saw. I hope you like the pictures.
To begin at the beginning…
Last night I stayed with Roland Trescher of the Munich improv group Isar 148. He’s so modest I didn’t even get a chance to take a photo of him, which is a pity, because he’s got to be one of the most good-looking blokes I’ve ever met in my life. He not only put me up but also showed me round the old town and gave me the lowdown on its history and quirks, which was wonderful. Thanks, Roland!
The next day, coming out of Munich I picked up some hitchhikers who turned out to be luthiers (guitarmakers to the rest of us), and they invited me to stay the night at their fairytale Alpine villa at Bad Goisern:
Early the next day I took them the 10km to luthiery college at Hallstad-See:
This remote hamlet, tucked alongside the equally remote and beautiful Hallstad See,
is home to Austria’s only luthiery school – and one of only three in Europe, apparently. I was amazed to see students arriving at this middle-of-nowhere place from all sides at 8am. Clearly, students are more motivated than they were in my day.
Then it was on – to the Alps. For someone like me, who lives in the Netherlands, just seeing these mountains appear is amazing. They rise up out of the landscape like a wall:
I drove up into the mountains – long bits were in first gear – and through the mist
and the most beautiful landscape appeared… colourful Alpine houses lay half-shrouded in mist that danced and swirled like airy tumbleweed…
TomTom took me through a gorgeous valley
and up to a tiny little pass – with a gate across it… I ventured in a bit, but this was clearly going to need snowchains (which I have) so I turned around and found an empty garage in the village where I could fit them. A passer-by then explained that the road was blocked by metre-high snow for eight months of the year. Doh! So I headed west, for the next pass at Obertauern:
which tasted great and cost less than they would have done in Amsterdam. We’re being ripped off at home, people. The rest was downhill all the way:
and I had time to pop into famous beauty spot Bled
before reaching Ljubljana in the afternoon, almost exactly 1500km after leaving Amsterdam. The DS has used a litre of oil, but has been no trouble at all.