As far as bad weather is concerned, our crossing of Eastern Tyrol during our trip to Austria in 2012 is the top. We had everything: it started with a thunderstorm accompanied by an indescribable downpour, in addition to howling wind. Lightning lit up the sky, branches were fluttering all over and some came crashing down on the car. The rain was so thick that it was impossible to drive. We had to stop in the area around a garage with other vehicles. Then came a hail storm. That was a real doomsday scenario.
After long minutes, we left. We had to be doubly vigilant to avoid drowning the engine in flooded areas, or simply aquaplaning.
Then, a few kilometers later, we were caught in a monumental traffic jam for more than an hour, all because of a flow of mud and a landslide on the road. We will remember it!
Generally, we had to face many obstacles on the road preventing us to move forward as we wanted during this trip: numerous road works, traffic jams, but also tractors and other agricultural vehicles, wide loads, slow-moving vehicles of all kinds, transhumance of cows in the mountains, and even overheating of our car brake pads, which forced us to stop at the roadside in disaster as a thick smoke was at the front.
However, though all this is hard and maddening as we're going through it, we remember it later with amusement. That's the main thing.


Well, just to end with an optimistic note, let's talk about a positive series as well: during this trip to Austria including a 24 hours stop in Slovenia in 2012, we often find ourselves by serendipity in the heart of events which course we were not even aware.
It started with our arrival in Maribor, Slovenia, where many events were taking place: then, we realized that the city was European Capital of Culture.
Arriving at Ljubljana in the very evening, a great classical music concert was being prepared in the presence of many television cameras.
The day after, for our return to Škofja Loka (without thundery showers, this time), we were at a medieval market and different shows and parades with period costumes.
Returning to Austria, more precisely in Klagenfurt, our stay in this beautiful city coincided with the Euro 2012 game France Vs Spain. Before the match was projected on a giant screen, animations and concerts took place.
The next day, we decided to visit the city of Zell Am See, and there was a beach volleyball tournament. Arriving the very evening at Kitzbuhel, after facing the terrible weather mentioned above, we realized with amazement that the same tradition as in the Slovenian villages graveyards also subsisted in the small Austrian mountain villages: the inhabitants come to honor their dead by placing candles and lanterns on the graves. Moreover, the cemetery there is built around the Church which also gives it a charm.
A few days later, we went to Linz and as we were visiting the city and especially some inner courtyards in the historic centre, we accidentally found ourselves in a private reception where a concert was being performed. People were dressed up to the nines and we really stuck out like sore thumbs because we had an odd look about us, but no one reacted, not even the security staff, and we enjoyed it all along.
Finally, a happy coincidence (yet another one!) made that our last day in Austria before returning to the fold coincided with the Euro 2012 final Spain Vs Italy. The streets of Vienna were filled with supporters dressed in red and yellow who were celebrating the amply deserved victory of their team in the general jubilation.

Published on December 1st 2012