A Travellerspoint blog

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sunny 25 °C
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Nearly three days without WiFi……aaaah how connected we become!

Posted by ScottyJ 09:26 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Saturday night in Salzburg

In search of the perfect schnitzel

sunny 24 °C
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How often do you get to experience those steely blue skies in the alps?……well it was one of those days waking up to a brilliant sun beaming through our window so bright it was if someone was shining a light in your eyes. Stueckli brot and coffee for breakfast before we headed up to the Franz Josef Glacier which is still in the Grossglockner national park to absorb the absolute beauty of this mountain environment. Spent the whole morning riding and grabbing the countless photo opportunities until the battery went flat, should have charged it last night!! In the valley we grabbed our lunch whilst lazing on the green, green grass by a glacial river which as expected at this time of year is full and fast with the snow melt. A short day today of around 184k’s to Salzburg. Stunning scenery the whole way and impressive ride into the city of Salzburg, couldn’t wait to have a look around. Confusion at the hotel as they were overbooked but had moved us up the street to a sister hotel-the hotel Crown Plaza…..not bad for a sister hotel! We got settled, received a few tips on where to go around the altstadt and headed of in search of a great Wiener schnitzel. Hadn’t gone two blocks when we came upon a small but very good local wine festival situated on the edge of a park. Explored a couple of Sav Blancs and Rieslings from around Austria, met a few locals then walked into the altstadt. What a beautiful city and no time to explore but we found the schnitzel served with herbed steamed potatoes however it was preceded by the equally delicious white asparagus soup, it’s in season and just had to be enjoyed. A city that you would definitely return to and seated outside on a balmy evening it was a fitting way to finish off our taste of Austria.

Posted by ScottyJ 10:30 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Hungary for Goulash?

Beautiful Budapest

sunny 28 °C
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Up early to for a long day’s ride to Budapest, our first stopover of two nights with a rest day. It’s only been about a week and concerning that one of first thoughts of Budapest was laundry…….is that because I’m becoming mature and sensible or just an age thing? It’s fair to say that we were advised that this is not a European tour hence the fast journey thus far and that the guts of the journey begins in Istanbul. To a degree I agree however it really starts for me now here in Budapest, Hungary. Thus far it has been fun & familiar but now it begins………. the cultural and ethnic changes, the adventure :-). The ride was quiet an uninspiring ride on expressways through Austria to Hungary 546km’s in 28deg until we hit a thunderstorm about 100k’s from Budapest. Monsoonal type downpour with huge amounts of lightning found me sitting it out under an overpass! I know I am still in Europe however I didn’t quite anticipate the change when we crossed the border into Hungary…………Europe Level ll. It started with a 90 minute wait just to buy a vignette for the expressway…………..then it all changed, the landscape, architecture, the fields and agriculture, the items of disrepair, not at all bad but it ain’t Germany or Austria! Finally arrived in Budapest and staying on the Buda side of the Danube. The ride in was interesting in its difference and to a degree blandness until we reached the downtown and caught glimpses of the infamous Danube and the totally inspiring architecture; this city promises to reward with historical richness. A shared meal tonight arranged by Compass on a boat moored on the Danube. Yes Hungarian goulash was on the menu and was just superb. We actually ordered a couple of different items and shared; no one was disappointed! Drew had a couple of friends from Croatia visit, it is only 4 hours and they joined us for the evening. After dinner it would have been negligent not to explore Pest, the more happening side of the river. I can’t begin to tell of the grandeur of the architecture in this city, it has to be seen to be believed. Whilst strolling along a small ‘utc’ we were hailed by a very tall Hungarian named Ronnie who was out walking his dog, Bella at 12.30am. He picked up on our accents and having spent time in Melbourne he insisted on showing us his city. What an evening and what a happening town on Sunday night. His knowledge and the info he imparted set us up for the next day of sightseeing. By the end of the night Ronnie was carrying Bella as his/her? little legs had had enough!
Awoke to another glorious day of sunshine, definitely too hot for anything other than shorts and a T. so after brekkie we got ready to take in the sights….that’s when the first disaster hit! Whilst getting ready I realised my camera was gone, huge disappoint as I hadn’t downloaded the last couple of days of shots. I had it with me all the previous night and can only guess that it has slipped from my pocket somewhere …………….yes a little annoyed with myself however I did get my GPS finally working 
Spent the whole day sightseeing and didn’t arrive back to the hotel until around 6.00pm. I was really feeling the day so joined some of the group to share some platters at a restaurant close to the hotel, they also specialised in many unique varieties of Hungarian beer as well as a proudly offering some great local wines…………….yet again a really wonderful night in a really wonderful city.

Posted by ScottyJ 12:11 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Romantic Romania

Timisoara, what a treat!

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An 8.00am departure this morning for a relatively short 286km’s to Timisoara, Romania. A slight itinerary change to access a different border crossing that did not process trucks above 7.5T. A good choice and a relatively smooth process saw us into Romania. Just as I experienced entering Hungary there was a definite change in just about everything as we drove deeper into Romania. Would I say Europe level lll, perhaps but what a friendly, warm & welcoming people. We stopped in a small village to have lunch and within no time we were surrounded by villagers and what seemed like the entire population of children. We then headed to our stop for the evening Timisoara…..what a surprise!! This town is a gem and with four days in Romania it is going to be difficult not to look forward to all the aspects of Romania. We are staying at the equally charming Victoria Hotel where the staff makes you feel like family. Before we had settled in the lovely Romana lined up a welcome drink of homemade spirit, let’s say schnapps, and the subtleties were shared with us. She is getting married on Saturday and the husband to be, Octavia also joined us along with Daniel the hotel owner and Loredana the receptionist. That welcome necessitated a short nanna nap!! We’ve picked up an hour today and I guess that will happen more and more as we head further and further east. Dinner recommended by the waiter was smoked pork hock with beans and a pickled cabbage salad with paprika, accompanied by the chilled local brew Ursus, it rounded out another great day. I bailed tonight as a number of the boys headed to a local bikers hangout, The Rabbit Club, I guees I’ll hear all about it tomorrow morning! I will be loading up with sweets and chocolates tomorrow to share with the kids in the villages along the way……………there has certainly been a change of vibe within the group today after having arrived in Romania. I for one can’t wait to see more 

Posted by ScottyJ 12:14 Archived in Romania Comments (1)

Group Dynamics

Diplomacy & other matters..........

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I have been giving some thought to how I reference other members of the group?! Whilst I have not shared this diary/blog with anyone it is in the public domain and there has been and will continue to be moments, events, episodes that will involve others in the group. Hence I have decided that I will give each person a pseudonym which will be from the phonetic alphabet...... alpha, bravo, Charlie etc. except Roomie, because not much offends him!! It is interesting to watch the group dynamics and Roomie declares that at around day 21 we'll see the lie of the land; I'm counting. Our current scenario is that as dynamics go it will be somewhere between Big Brother and Survivor :-) Anyway whatever transpires I intend to have fun!!

Posted by ScottyJ 12:39 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

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