/ Europe2017

Wachau wash out

So far we've been really lucky with the weather. If anything is been too hot rather than cold and wet. I can only recall 2 days in the last 6 weeks where it was wet enough to make us change our plans, one day in Hanover we stayed in the van and one day in Krakow we mooched around town getting distinctly damp.

Today is wet day #3. Raining heavily as we pack up to leave. It's no big deal, apart from needing coats to go to the loo block, the only outdoor activity is winding up the electric cable (or cables in this case, we needed a 15m + a 10m extension), turning off the gas and taking off the front screen. But it does mean dripping coats and a wet cable kicking around the van all day.

Anyway it's raining heavily as we leave Vienna but being optimists we elect for the longer route to Salzburg along the famous Wachau valley of the Danube. And the Gods smile upon us. The heavy rain turns to light drizzle as the road winds through tiny hamlets with vineyards reaching down to the Danube and stunning scenery across the valley. You'll all know this scenery. It you've ever seen adverts for river cruises, this'll be the bit they use. Every mile towards Melk oozes picturesqueness. Millions of chocolate boxes and jigsaw puzzles have been sold on the strength of these views. No photos, I was driving, remember. Actually Liz has precious few, the roads were narrow, often single track as they passed through villages, and parking places were almost non-existent unless we were to patronise some roadside gasthaus.

There was parking at Melk. Directly underneath it's stunning baroque abbey. Decision point, do we visit the abbey and stay overnight (it looks like we could sleep in the car park) or do we press on to Salzburg. The drizzle switches to heavy rain and the decision (to press on) is made for us. A little more off motorway driving but as the rain increases and the chance of seeing anything interesting decreases we swing across onto the motorway. Soon the scenery is again quite picturesque, undulating green forested hills, the foothills of the Alps to come. But eyes on the road, I was possibly 2 or 3 kph over the limit as I passed that speed trap!

Salzburg nears and suddenly both Liz and I shout out loud as an absolutely stunning stark white mountain appears in front of us, about 20 miles outside Salzburg. Wow, 3 absolutely stunning vistas in one drive! Back at the van with the power of the internet at her fingertips Liz finds out that the mountain is the famous Drachanwand. So now we know.

Campsite found, pitches are all muddy and some very wet. It has rained almost all day, often heavy, and occasionally torrentially with possibly the odd hailstone thrown in for good measure.

Still tomorrow is set to be better.

Here's today's 3h45m journey