Brenner Pass

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Nov 15, 2007

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Flag of Austria  ,
Thursday, July 20, 2006


Gillie and John, an English couple from Manchester, gave us some helpful tips about Greece, like, there is no motorway toll. We have so many motorway Vignettes on my side of the car window, they're starting to impede on my photography. John and Gillie are taking a young Romanian friend on a holiday in their Hymer Camper van. John spoke very highly of the Hymer brand as he had tried many and this style particularly suited him and his family. We've been looking around at different campers too just to get an idea on how we could improve our next holiday. One thing is for sure, I need more room in the cabin for my 'office' equipment and other garbage. I feel very cramped sometimes with all my gear around me. Another thing which bugs me is that I can't get into the back of the camper from the car without stopping and getting out. Des reckons I just want to go in there for a nap, but that's not so!

We stayed overnight in a cheap motor home park in Fussen, Germany, which provided a gravel terrain, electricity, bathroom, shower, toilet (but no paper or even a toilet roll holder, strictly bring your own) and Chemi-toilet emptying spot, all for 11 euro per night per vehicle. This campsite is set up for motor homes only, and for only one night's stay. It is managed by the Fitness Centre across the road and has very few bathroom facilities because most motor homes have their own bathrooms now. It is not geared for tents or caravans. A cleaner nips in at about 9pm for a 15 minute cleanup of the wet areas and the rest is left to the campers. It's safe, there were about 30 motor homes and convenient to shopping. It's a good way to cater for tourists who have all their own facilities, you can't make people stay in expensive caravan parks and with the cheaper parks, the tourists still bring their money into the country. These countries which don't encourage tourists to camp in the wild or national parks, are potentially missing out on the tourist dollar.

Brenner Pass
Tyrol, Austria

After a frustratingly slow start we headed for the Tyrolean Alps. It was a hot day of 36 so we were content stay inside the car and drive most of the day. We did hop out to have a closer look at the Euro Bridge in Austria. Just as we got going again, there was a holdup in a tunnel which we had just entered. We turned our engines off and waited patiently, not knowing what was going on at the other end, for about 45 minutes. I was nearly chewing my nails by this time and it was sweltering in the tunnel. Poor Lynn, who had just walked across the Euro Bridge with Lou, looked completely flushed and bothered by the heat.

The drive along the Brenner Pass, Austria which becomes the Brennero Pass because it passes into Italy for a short way, was a deviation we hadn't planned on but turned out to be a breathtaking, windy, steep, hair-pin bend journey upwards with beauty all the way to the top. This is a popular skiing area but all the snow was melted at the altitude we went to. After winding our way carefully down the narrow roads (we didn't see any buses or trucks, only lots of motor bikes, it's a fabulous ride on a bike around all those curves), we took the next pass to the west, Reischen Pass, not quite as challenging, perhaps because we were used to the style of driving by then, but equally beautiful.

After asking at several camping places what their rates were (its high season and most of the parks are nearly full), we decided to settle on a 'side of the road park' at Pfunds. (We were knocked back by a farmer, for the first time, who kindly told us there was a camping park 2 km down the road). It was 9:30 at night, lightening and thunder and starting to rain. It's been very hot and dry here and the countryside is crying out for rain. Lynn and I threw a nutritious dinner together and we sat and talked about the beautiful day, in the rain. Sleep was hard to get so close to the traffic, so we got going again by seven the next morning.
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