We decided to get where we are going by travelling through one of our favourite countries of previous travels - Austria -and as soon as we crossed this border we remembered why we love it so much.......The Alpine mountain scenery and flowery balconies are simply breathtaking........
Again we had to purchase a motorway sticker and stopped in the first petrol station to do this. We realise once more, how different this journey is from our past experiences as our wheels are now over 3.5 tons. This time we needed to buy an electronic box device – called a GO BOX which is struck to the windscreen and bleeps every time we pass under a detecting bridge. We paid upfront and did not need to queue at any more tolls, which was a benefit.
We found a beautiful campsite (20th August) with mountainous views and a castle (Schloss-Camping)) towering over us at the back of the site. The site takes its name from the castle and is situated in a village alongside the Inn River, named Volders (15kms North of Innsbruck).
The children once again enjoyed the pleasures of a warm outdoor swimming pool and continued their quest to learn flags and capital cities of the world!
We also had a wander around the village and found the back streets of Volders with all its magnificent backdrop scenery. It was lucky that we did wander casually around on this day as the next day saw us embark on a strenuous walking adventure that took us all by surprise!
We travelled the short distance to the town of Stans and Phil had a reversing encounter as the car park was too small for Nessie and there was nowhere to turn around! I went ahead and stopped any oncoming traffic while Phil negotiated the winding, narrow roads back down to the bottom of the hill! Kinda good that Phil can drive this monster!
We found the Wolfkskamm signs and from the leaflet this looked like a lovely waterfall along a river. That it was- but nobody told us of the steep incline for about 3 kms (and back again!), along winding tracks and a network of wooden bridges at the river’s edge! It was a most breathtaking walk and our energy supplies were spent by the end of the journey back down to base again!
There was a church (St. Georgenburg) at the very top of this Sacred Mountain (with the altar being at the highest point of the rock) and we later discovered the significance of this journey. This mountain has great historical significance which dates back to 12thCentury and is in the Karwendel mountain range).
The Church was built-after White Doves are said to have sent a sign from Heaven, as to where to build a new church. This became a monastery, but was not without its setbacks as the site was burned to the ground and had to be re-built, a total of four times following forest fires. In 1310 there is said to have been a blood miracle during a church service. As the Priest was reciting the words of transubstantiation, he began to doubt God’s presence. Almost immediately the wine in his cup turned to the colour and flavour of human blood. The news of this miracle spread quickly and to this day St Georgenburg is a place of pilgrimage to the Mother of Sorrows – Unter der Linde (under the Lime tree), St George and to the Sacred Blood.
On a personal level there is always something very spiritual about having completed a Sacred journey such as this, similar to previous feelings, felt at Lourdes (in France) and Fatima (in Portugal).
We moved from Austria and travelled to Slovenia. We had a pleasant surprise at these borders when we found that heavy vehicles (over 3.5 tons) do not need a standard motorway sticker and that toll and diesel prices are very kind to the ‘lorry’ driver! One in our favour for a change!
Slovevian countryside has become much greener and similar to the landscape of ‘home’! We explored a woodland and were surprised to find very similar trees to the ones that we are familiar with – Beech, Oak, Birch, Ash, and Sycamore.....
Our campsite (Camping Pivka Jama, south of the capital city of Ljubljana) was very pleasant with -yes – you’ve guessed it – a swimming pool! What more could you ask for?
Before we bade Slovenia goodbye we just had to visit the Postojnska Jama (Caves). This journey took us on a fast train ride (similar to a roller coaster!) through the first parts of the caves and then to a guided tour (in English too!) where we walked a further 1 km through the biggest limestone cave in Slovenia, and the most visited ‘show’ cave in Europe. The caves most beautiful passages were discovered by locals in 1818 and are 20kms in total with only 5kms open to the public. This underground world of stalactites and stalactmites has a constant temperature of 8-10 degrees C. At the lowest point we were 250 metres below ground level. There is magical beauty around every corner with no two views the same. We thoroughly enjoyed this natural wonder which is 3 million years old (and 1 day!) We were warm enough even in our T shirts and shorts while everyone else was wrapped up in coats!
We learnt that the water droplets (stalactites) grow approximately 1cm for every 100 years – very slow work and truly amazing to see!
Back at camp we spent our final night in Slovenia talking with our friendly Dutch neighbours-Dick and Tinie who recommended a National Park which is well worth a visit in Croatia.......make way for another change of route......we always said it was flexible....... Croatia next stop!
· Plenty of Lizards in Slovenia !!
Friday, 05 September 2008 20:17:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00) Austria