Thursday 28th July
It was with some sadness that we left Vienna today. Our hosts Laura and Sebi had looked after us exceptionally well, being great company, as well as letting us use their shower, wifi and washing machine! This was very exciting for us. We hadn’t been this clean in ages. They even fed us delicious red berries with breakfast, which we hadn’t tried before. Nobody knew the English name for them, but we later found out they’re Red Currents. Yum!
But it was now time for us to move on, and for Lex to say goodbye to the cats he’d been secretly living with for the last two days. It was an emotional moment, with both ups and downs.
It was the first time they’d all had a good look at each other, and Lex seriously considered eating them, until one of them hissed him into submission. Cats: 1, Dog: 0.
On the way out of the city we stopped at a supermarket called Billa to restock our supplies of basically everything. Billa was literally a revelation for me. After over a month in Eastern Europe, we’d become accustomed to not really being able to buy the food we wanted. And now, as soon as we crossed over into Austria, the shelves were stocked with all our favourite camping foods! Quick cook quinoa. Good quality tuna. Heinz 5 bean. And best of all, a fully stocked fruit and veg section – a positive riot of colour and possibilities after the severely limited fresh food options we’d faced in the Baltic states! The iron curtain came down right around the time I was born, but it honestly seems like the effects haven’t truly gone away. Not in terms of the key middle-class measures of “quinoa and blueberry availability,” anyway…
We drove west for a few hours that afternoon, before stopping at a swimming lake for a refreshing dip. There was nothing convenient to tie Lex’s lead to whilst I swam, so Morgan attached the other end to his heavy backpack. Problem solved… at least until Lex suddenly took off towards the lake at a sprint, dragging the bag through the boggy mud surrounding the lake at top speed, whilst Morgan charged around after him, trying to catch the camera-laden bag before it ended up in the lake. Lex really hates it when his humans go swimming.
We slept that night at what was undoubtedly the Fanciest Rest Stop In The World. This rest stop was seriously as good as a camp site (besides the fact that you can’t pitch a tent here…) We have a list of criteria by which we evaluate our sleeping spots: Shelter from the rain being most important, followed by toilets, bins, drinking water, and picnic benches. This rest stop had all the above, as well as free wifi! Plus, showers for 1 Euro a go! All the comforts of home, on the road! Apparently, rest stops like this are funded by the 9 Euro toll everyone pays in order to use Austria’s motorways. What an excellent trade off.
All that, and it had beautiful mountain views too.
The only downside of a rest area this good was that other people seemed to want to use it too. It was fairly packed, and even when I visited the toilets at 3am there just seemed to be people everywhere! Loads of people were sleeping their cars, but others were milling around, smoking and buying coffee from the vending machine. It was fairly disconcerting actually, for my half asleep brain.
If you want to keep up with our travels as we continue on our 3-month adventure, hit the Follow button to get updated on new posts!