Chapter 9

Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia & Austria, (Aug, 2014)

It has been so long ago since my last blog update, arrived in Rostock, Germany, started heading for Berlin, but had plenty of time up my sleeve, so I thought that I would take a detour through Poland, so proceeded to drive north along the motorway, all going well at about 175kph, then all of a sudden just in front of me, a car with a trailer clipped another car, out of control all over the place, trailer one way vehicles the other, cars & trailer rolled, bit and pieces everywhere, all over in seconds, hopefully all OK. 

Arrived at the Schrina river, where the motorway stops near/on the border between Poland & Germany, waited an hour for the barge, lots of cars in front of me, but “patients grasshopper, wait your turn” was the order of the day, so after an hour or so, got on the barge and travels continued, note to self (“should of had a sleep while I was waiting”) but they just as likely to drive around you instead of waking you, so no sleep, which turned out to be a small mistake, as I dozed off while scooting down the motorway, only for a second or two mind you, but the result was that I grazed the side rail, only just, resulting in some unsavory marks on the passengers side of the car, just as well the lady at the car hire desk sold me the “All Cover, No Access Insurance” ended up a bargain.

Back into Germany, down the Autobahn to Berlin, so had to give the Audi A3 it’s head (that is an old bush saying to let your horse do his thing, go as fast as he can, normally when your on the way back home), so foot flat to the floor and wound the little black car out to it’s max, 216 kph was the top speed, and I was not the fastest either I will say, don’t know how fast some of them go, but I couldn’t catch them.  So arrived at the hotel I was booked into, in the centre of Berlin, my mate Josh was waiting there, help me get organised which was good, ended up having a few drinks over a meal and doing a short late night shoot, thanks Josh, enjoyed it.  Berlin was very nice, plenty to photograph, some amazing architecture, worth the visit that’s for sure.

Left Berlin and headed for Prague, Czech Republic, nice drive stayed in the centre of Prague, roamed around, whilst the city is full of beautiful buildings, it seemed that all of the major buildings where being renovated, scaffolding and barricades everywhere, not good for photography, so did not enjoy Prague as much as I would have liked too.  Next day I headed north-east from Prague, into Slovarkia, only the south-eastern tip of it before passing though to Austria on my way to Vienna, At this point when you cross the border between Slovakia & Austria all you see is a forest of Wind Turbines, hundreds of them, almost all the way to Vienna.

When I booked into my hotel in Vienna, I parked unknowingly in a disabled car park, it was Sunday evening, and I asked the people at reception about the parking spot and he said that it was “illegal” but should be OK unto 9:00am tomorrow morning (Monday) or I would be in trouble with the parking cops, OK, so it was right for now, I will be gone by nine I am thinking, so checked in and put my gear in the room.  As luck would have it, there just happened to be an old almost medieval pub right next door, how convenient is that!  So in true Australian style, i enter to to sample the local nectar, only to be greeted by this thin wiry man with long greyish hair, quite a pleasant bloke, could speak english with a strong ascent but easy enough to understand, so ordered a beer, and he proceeded to pour it, it took a while to get the grog to flow, as I think I was the first customer for the day, anyway once poured, he invited me to join him outside at one of the tables, so we sat and talked about Vienna, his music, the pub and photography, soon after we were joined by several of his daily friends & drinkers, one of which was a lady by the name of Briget Doll, a movie star in her own right apparently, anyway one beer led to another and before you know it, I was in behind the bar, pouring the beer, helping out, spinning a few yarns and bullshit as you do, little of which I can recall, just as well for video diaries I guess !!, embarrassing after the event, but movie star during the event.

Next morning work up late @9:am, wondered downstairs crook as, looked outside car still there, so when and had some breakfast, back to the room, packed up ready to go, went down to check out, no car, !@#$#@.  My car had apparently been towed, shit, what do I do, so the receptionist rang the cops, car tracked down to the impound yard 20-30k out of town, so two train trip, a taxi, and I was there, ¢251 euros to get it out of hock, so whilst avoidable I am now back in my car.  so loaded up my luggage, and headed off to Salzburg in the western part of Austria.  Instead of straight dow the motorway, I elected to drive through the Southern part of the country, through the Austrian Alps, very scenic and photographic.  It is not unusual to see tractors and all sorts of farming equipment on the road in Europe, even on the motorways, but driving into a town called Gosling, Austria, I am confronted with a line of old tractors driving down the road at full speed, as it turned out there were 60 of these farming tractors, in a convoy, I caught up with one of the guys involved at a fuel station that spoke a bit of english, they were a club of farmers in Hungary, and they do this annual trip on their tractors, some 800klms, long drive on a tractor i expect.