Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hapsburg - Renaissance Trip - Day14 - Up, Up, Up Into The Mountains Plus A Discussion On Transportation

Today was a full Camera Sherpa laden day with driving into the mountains to the west of Graz. Unfortunately for my own photo journalism when I'm doing this type of duty, it is difficult for me to take my own pictures. The reason for this is that we are usually driving around through country side that is very unforgiving from the stand point of requiring driving concentration.  The Sherpa is typically going through narrow winding mountainous roads that have little in the way of places to stop. At any moment...ANY MOMENT...the photographer can call out, "STOP HERE!" This often can literally not be done. Then we might find something that is barely acceptable as a place to pull off but only if I stay with the car in case someone comes out of their driveway or a bus comes into its bus stop. Meanwhile the photographer will be wandering around on narrow roads with no walk ways trying to get back to the spot where the 'shot' was best.

In addition it was pretty grey and cold up in the mountains today so it wasn't very good picture taking conditions.

Often when we're wandering around in the countryside in country where we don't speak the language, finding something to eat can be an adventure. TripAdvisor App that I extol works best in urban areas. The area we were driving in today was clearly 'out-of-season' and a number of places we stopped at were closed. Then there is the problem when you go through a town and you are looking for a place to park but end up out of the town before you find that place to park. 

We were really hungry and needed a bathroom break bad as we were heading out in the boonies when we came to his place at the top of a pass.

It was cold - 41 degrees F

Not the greatest meal but pretty darn appreciated

The soups were particularly good (generally the case in our experience)

This was a meat broth with a liver dumpling - not as livery as you would imagine - I liked it a lot

This was a chicken broth with a dumpling 
(Trust me on this - it was a matzo ball!)

I had some fish that was just okay

But Wife's schnitzel was pretty good

Now a bit about how we're getting around. Our rental car is a Peugeot 308 Station Wagon. We are very pleased with it. It has tons of room in the back for our luggage (not always easy with a European car), yet is very maneuverable, gets around in the tight Euro roads, and has a good turning radius. The gearing is good so you can use 1st and 2nd gear effectively for the steep roads. Finally it is a diesel and is getting 45 miles to the gallon! Plus diesel is only around $4 a gallon so we are spending way less than we ever have on fuel for a rental car in Europe.

Our trusty Peugeot

As it is black we can almost get away with going whatever speed we like. You who have driven in Europe know there is one set of driving rules for the masses and then another for those who drive black expensive cars like Mercedes, BMW, Audi etc. They get to drive as fast as they like and get very pissed off if you are blocking the passing lane going only 10 or 20 kilometers per hour over the speed limit.

In town we're using the tram which is very convenient. If you've ever been on the Amsterdam trams you will realize that the drivers here are chauffeurs compared to Amsterdam's demolition derby style tram driving.  An all you can use one week pass costs about $15.

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