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Fasten your seatbelts it's going to be a fun ride

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Austria - land of freezing rain & snow

So after 5 days in Buda Pest and my last night at a movie theater where they didn't sell popcorn but you could buy a banana I was ready to head on to Austria, my last stop and which came to be the scariest part of the trip...but let me talk of happier times.

I headed Southwest to a region where there is a large lake that most people from Budapest vacation to called Lake Balaton. This is the Ayers Rock of it.

See the fortified castle on the top left of the photo...and those dark ominous clouds? That's where I'm headed.

Here is a close up.

The back side of Ayers Rock

Stopped in a town called Bagot and found a cute inn. The lobby was full of drunk men...I was nervous but then again since Romania I've been nervous around groups of men.

They fed me well, I have to say that Hungary was the most disappointing in terms of food but here they made a honeyed chicken with onion rings, fried potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, peas, green beans...ah hell just put everything on the plate for the starving girl.

I pulled my bike into their garage and the cheerful (and drunk) man who helped is a hunter.

Next the next morning to cross over into Austria. These huge crosses are in every town.

The border

had no one there so I blew threw and it started to get cold and of course, raining...

Now there is a photo missing here....of HOOTERS in Graz. Yes, that's right. I saw the big orange Hooters sign (which said 'an American restaurant' underneath) and no I didn't stop. I was pretty tired, cold and wet and just wanted to get to Leoben.

I went through a 9km tunnel, it was blessedly warm inside.

There were these signs at the turn outs, slightly to the right was the distance left going north, in this case 8km.

I actually *gasp* bought plastic bags in Budapest and wrapped my feet in them hoping to stay dry....when I finally reached Leobon Austria, cold and miserable I got a hair dryer from the girl and it took 4 hours to dry the inside of my boots.

This was a cute town. Raining and cold. I walked most of it. Not a lot of I went to the mall and found pineapple toothpaste!!! And a very nice girl in a cafe who spoke French so I could finally get a real hot chocolate milk. AHHHHH...

What I didn't know is that the worst part of the storm was to come. I was hoping to get some distance the next day but it was not to be. View of river from my room. It's 32 degrees so there's snow falling too.

You can see the snow capped peaks. In Europe everyone is in an uproar over the sudden dramatic change of weather. This is very unusual for this time of year.

This is the last shot I got out of my camera before it froze (on the inside of my jacket), it got a lot worst from this point on.

I made it another 60 or so km then stopped at a truck stop banging on all the truck drivers doors hoping to find someone to get me and my bike to Linz or possibly Prague. No luck.

This was one of the scariest rides of my life. I finally had Radek from Prague come get me with a van. It was just too dangerous. I sat in a big rig with a nice man from Serbia...we labored through language barriers to talk of Rakia, his bambinos and how smoking was bad for him.

So I am home and warm in 75 degree weather, jet lagged and doing tons of laundry to get the ashtray aroma out of everything. This trip was amazing, truly. It had its many moments of euphoria and extreme fear. Already planning the next trip to Turkey.