The spring weather continues to be extremely moody, so we arrive to the Como lake with a mix of sun and showers and clouds alternating at aleatory and intermittent intervals. The lake and surroundings are quite nice though, so we try to ignore the weather and hike around part of the lake and visit the town of Como. There we are also fortunate to meet old time colleague Betty and retake the conversation just were we left it some 15 years ago, and update each other on what happened during all this years. All of this accompanied with the best pizza we’ve had for a while and some nice wine.
From there we head towards the Garda lake, where the weather treats us a bit better, so we are able to enjoy the whole area, which has quite a dose of natural beauty and also has some nice towns. Our first stop is in Simione, where we find a camper stop right next to the shore of the lake and close by the entrance of the old town. Despite being quite touristic Simione has quite some charm, with its castle, its little harbour, its little beach and the luxurious spa. No wonder that Maria Callas chose it as one of her favourite retreat places.
Then the road takes us to Riba del Garda. The setting of the town is quite spectacular, flanked by high step mountains on one side and the lake on the other. There’s a beautiful promenade along the water, where people walk, jog, run, cycle, walk their dogs or simply enjoys the regatta which is taking place on the lake, all beautifully dotted by sailing boats.
South Tirol is not far from there and although it´s a region of Italy it looks very much like Austria. Historical reasons, I suppose. We stop in Bolzano and Merano, which are small pleasant cities, where one can enjoy a stroll and then sip an Aperol Spritz in one of the multiple terraces, enjoying the weather and just contemplating the people passing by.
We eventually cross the border to Austria through snowy mountains and make it to Salzburg, were we do not meet the Trapp family in person, but find clues of the present all over the place. We also get to meet some fake Mozarts here and there. The highlight is definitively the cake and coffee that we have in one of the elegant cafes next to the river.
Another great coffee and cake experience, sitting in an elegant terrace next to another river, we have at Bad Ischl, a pleasant small town. But this is after we have visited friends Sabine and Reinhold, who live up there in the mountains, not too far from Salzburg. We also have a nice time catching up with them and enjoy their hospitality.
We do attempt to visit the famous picturesque town of Hallstatt. But we find the allure is somehow lost with the extravagantly outrageous prices that they charge for parking, and the amounts of tourist buses and tourist that crowd the place. Never mind. There’s plenty of other nice lakes in the area, so we continue towards the Traunsee, where we spend a nice lazy afternoon in the sun.
We are very close to Germany, so decide to drive to Mindelstetten, where we meet some friends. Christian S and his parents Lori and Maria are extremely welcoming and tremendously hospitable, so we have a wonderful time at their home and enjoy their pleasant company, delicious food and the very special local white beer. On top we leave the house with a bag of delicious goodies, that Maria prepares for us to ensure that we are not hungry on thirsty on the way.
Our next stop is in Stein an der Donau, a nice little town in the Austrian region of the Wachau, anchored next to the magnificent Danube river. There we catch up with Rainer and Christine, with whom we did some great travels in the past, organised by their travel agency www.arr.at. It´s great to have a chat with them, stroll through the streets of the historical town accompanied by their professional explanations, enjoy a dinner sitting at the river shore and drink some wine at their place while chatting till the wee hours of the morning.
From there it´s just a stone’s throw to Vienna, where obviously we meet with many friends and family and have a wonderful time, while we eat too much and drink too much. The list of is long and in many cases we forgot to take photos, but enjoyed the company of Sigrid and her family, which also allowed us to park Polaris in their garden, next to their honey bees, during our stay in Vienna. They also give us a pot of their home made honey and their home made honey wine. Thank you. Then we also met Christof, Alice and Tim, with whom, amongst many other things, we celebrate our 1 year anniversary on the road. And of course we meet Andy, Bri, Alex, Karin and families and have an afternoon full of fun. With Sandra, Jason and kids we talked and talked and talk. And Heidi, who had some cava in the fridge and popped open upon our arrival. On top of that, we were lucky to be there to celebrate Gunter´s 60´s birthday, which was amazing. And of course spend much time with Christian´s parents, which was very nice as always.