Europe 2017 Blog Day 3
An early start today as we had to be down for breakfast at 7am in order to be on the road as soon after, as it’s a relocation day to Austria so approx. 8 hours driving plus stops on the way. Another light continental breakfast and checked out the hotel ... much to Adrian’s delight!
We hit the road at 07:45am and one thing we have already noticed is that the Austrian drivers are more courteous on the road, and their motorways are much quieter than in Italy. Our plan today was to stop approx. halfway to break up the journey to ride the Pendolino Alpine Toboggan aka Mountain Coaster that we have seen many times on YouTube and have friends who have ridden it and told us it was a must for our trip.
What we didn’t realise was that as we were about to leave Italy and cross the border into Austria, the road became very narrow and we started climbing up a very high, very steep mountainside with hairpin bends galore. This road was extremely popular with motor bikers and cyclists and was full of them. We had almost reached the top when we came face to face with a large lorry with crane attached that was parked up and tree felling. The gap to get by was tiny and as we were sat in a Jeep we just didn’t think it was going to be possible. However a very friendly workman came over, bent our wing mirrors back and started guiding Adrian through the extremely tight squeeze. I’m not sure who was more stressed – Adrian trying not to scrape either vehicle, or me as I had the steep drop on my side!
The border crossing from Italy to Austria was not the event we were expecting. No queue of traffic, no security officers, no passport checks (as we’ve previously experienced at the USA / Canada border) just a couple of wooden chalet style buildings which were closed and unmanned – so just drove through!
We reached the Nassfeld Ski Resort just after lunch and caught a cable car from the town to the highest point of the lift (stage 3) where the toboggan was located. The cable car ride was absolutely huge and took around ½ hour to get to the top which gave us plenty of photo / video opportunities as the views were just stunning.
As the ticket price only included one go on the Toboggan we were determined to make the most of it. The trouble is with these is that although the person in front of you gets a timed head start, if they use their brakes at all on the way down it’s very easy to catch them up and risk either colliding or getting stuck behind them for the rest of the descent. We had to wait a good hour for the queue to disappear, and we quickly boarded – Adrian with his camcorder and me with a bullet-cam strapped to my head. Was it worth the wait ... absolutely! The ride down fast and furious and there were a couple of hair raising moments (well for Adrian anyway, my hair doesn’t extend much these days!) when I was sure I was going to fall off. Great fun.
See Ian's Head Cam POV video here - Pendolino Mountain Coaster POV
We got back in the cable car and headed back down, only to be told by one of the attendants half way down that Adrian had left his Camcorder Tripod up at the top level so had to head back up to fetch it – DOH!
We have just filled up with Diesel and purchased a Vignette (Austrian Motorway pass) and are back on the road and due to reach Vienna in just over 2 hours time. That’s all for now folks so will catch up tomorrow.