Willkommen Daheim – Welcome Home!

in Austria, Border crossings, Germany by on August 27th, 2010

WE DID IT … 12,269KM AND 13 COUNTRIES LATER, WE ARE IN BALINGEN, GERMANY!!

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Our day started early at 7:30am.  We decided to take the route via Tirol home because it was more scenic, and probably also because we were not quite ready to end this wonderful trip and wanted to prolong it for just a little bit more.  We drove through beautiful Alpine landscapes of mountains, pine trees and lush green grass with cows.  One could almost imagine the Von Trapp family singing “the hills are alive…with the sound of music…”

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We took our final stop in the town of St Johann in Tirol.  One last knödel desert for us, one last magnet for Sabby and one pair of lederhosen for MJo later, we left and drove almost non-stop the last 400km towards home.

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4 hours later, the one moment we sometimes thought was almost unimaginably far away, was here, when a very welcome sight greeted our eyes. Home at last, where we were greeted very warmly by our welcome party!

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The reality that this trip has come to an end has not yet quite sunk in for us yet. It will take months to digest everything we were fortunate enough to have experienced. In the meantime, we will drink a toast to having made it through, despite the many challenges along the way. We thank our Lord and guarding angels for having brought us back in one piece, as we for sure know it wasn’t always us getting us safely to the end of the day. We also drink a toast to you, dear readers, for having joined us on our journey by following this blog. Until next time, when we set out for new horizons once more…

Yours truly,

MJo + Sabby

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Second last day on the road…

in Austria by on August 26th, 2010

Leaving the bright lights of the city, we headed for Bad Mitterndorf, a ski resort town in the Austrian Alps also famous for its thermal waters.  More importantly, this is the town where MJo spent many a happy winter skiing when he was growing up.  30 years on, this would be a trip down memory lane for him.

We went up to the “Tauplitz Alm” where all the skiing takes place in the winter, followed by a short ride to the Kochalm which had some of the greenest looking meadows we had ever seen.

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A short 15km away is the famous Grundlsee, where we took a boat ride followed by Sabby’s favourite pastime, trying Austrian desserts.

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Oh and no trip to the Austrian Alps would be complete without a visit to an original Austrian “Heurigen”. We went to the Eselsalm for dinner and were treated to a live performance by a traditional Styrisch duo. They really liked Sabby as she was the only Asian in the house.  There was much boisterous singing and clapping over the course of the evening.

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We are writing this now from a small wine bar reminiscing about our long ride as this is after all our last night on the road. Tomorrow we will arrive at our final destination. Many thoughts crossed our minds as our trip that seemed like such a big and long undertaking just a short while ago, will actually be coming to an end very soon.

But for now it is still 600km to go across beautiful Alpine countryside tomorrow.

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Spotted!!

in Austria by on August 26th, 2010

Spotted:  MJo in Austria with his latest obsession, cows!!

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Vienna: cake and culture

in Austria, Slovakia by on August 22nd, 2010

As we were leaving Budapest, we discovered that our front tire was losing air very quickly.  The repair job we did in Khiva ten days ago had finally given way, quite remarkably it held for some 3,800km!  Luckily our tire repair foam spray worked its magic and we were soon on our way to Vienna.

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Tire repair foam to the rescue!

About 80km from Vienna, we spotted a sign for Bratislava and spontaneously decided to change our route to go via Bratislava.  We sped through the border, riding past buildings which once upon a time, housed border officials, but now lie empty thanks to the European Union policy of free borders.  In no time, we were in Bratislava, Slovakia!

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No more need for border control - Hallelujah the European Union!

Driving into Austria was similarly uncomplicated until we entered the city boundaries of Vienna.  The bike started vibrating more than usual and we realized the foam had given way too (after 300km) .  We had no option but to keep going.  Luckily, we made it to our hotel just as the last bit of air came out of the tire.  1 more km and we would have to start pushing the AT!

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That's how flat our front tire was when we rolled in front of our hotel

The next day, we set about being tourists in earnest.  Vienna was one of the two capitals of the Habsburg-ruled Austro-Hungarian Empire and where the Habsburgs made their home. Vienna was also a cultural centre and home to famous composers and artists.  Not to mention that Vienna boasts of a café tradition including some very yummy desserts.  There was much for us to see and do in Vienna and we managed to fit in quite a bit.

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Sacher Torte

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Wiener Schnitzel

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Imperial Palace of the Habsburgs

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Klimt's most famous work, The Kiss

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Schloss Belvedere

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Sabby and MJo at the Staatsoper

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Wiener Mozart Orchestra

But we didn’t forget our AT.  Whilst in Vienna, we got new “shoes” and new “sunglasses” for her.  Check out the new front tire and the new windscreen!

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New "shoes"!!

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New "sunglasses"!

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