Friday, 31 August 2012

Tuesday 28/08/2012 – Thursday 30/08/2012

We are soon in Austria and we are cruising along through spectacular scenery.

Armed with our “vignaitte” to travel on their motorways (8Euro for ten days), we can also cover some distance quickly, then, only about 5 miles from our planned stop for the day, we get a puncture.


Fortunately, it is the front, righthand side wheel, so I can get at it on the hard shoulder, without being "on the traffic side".

We get into our fluorescent “safety” vests, Kathleen sets up the warning triangle (the first time we have used any of this stuff) and prepare to change the wheel on the hard shoulder.

Not a pleasant experience with three lanes of traffic speeding past at 70mph plus, less than a metre where I have to lie on the ground to retrieve the spare wheel from under the van.

Needless to say, I do not linger to take photographs of this!

All is completed, without incident, and we travel on to our chosen campsite (Thermal Camping, Bad Waltersdorf).

After we have checked in, an very efficient Austrian lady comes to see us about the tyre.

Kathleen is sceptical about how much she will know about tyres.

The Austrian lady is the model of efficiency, makes a note of all of the tyre markings (size, type, etc), notices it is a Bridgestone (not easy to get I know from past experience), so takes a note of the same information from a Pirelli tyre which is already on the van.

She has quite a nice chest too. Almost worth getting a puncture for.

She phones a garage, they do not have a matching tyre, but, one is ordered, with delivery promised for Thursday, or earlier if possible.
You would have to have seen this to appreciate it, she was just so efficient, all of the above took only five minutes. On her belt she had a little sort of bag, in which to had everything to hand, notepad and pen to note the details, mobile phone to make the call, notepad and pen again to give me a note of the Garage name and address. I am sure Herr Flick ('allo, 'allo) would have loved her.

In the interim, it is no hardship to stay here, the site is excellent, with the kind of spotless and high quality facilities you expect to find in Germany or Austria.

There is a railway line running by the site, but the trains are very infrequent (noisy freight trains when they do pass). Must take care not to call them Germans, they are very particular about ensuring you know they are Austrians.

Wednesday morning, 09:30, we are told, they have our tyre, and we need to go and collect it at 14:30 in a town about twelve miles away. 140Euro, but, we have to have a spare.

A problem emerges, the site, in common with most sites in Germany and Austria, has a “quiet time” between 12:00 and 15:00. The gate is closed, no vehicles can get in or out.
This being Austria, the rules apply to everyone, even a McCaffery, so we have to drive out of the gate before 12:00 and park outside. Kathleen tries her hardest, but, soon grows impatient with waiting. I think she actually lasted until 12:05.

We head for Hapsdorf, looking for Konig Garage.

It is only 12 miles away, and we arrive way too early. They are very obliging however, and give us coffee, while a young man takes away our ruined tyre and returns with a new tyre fitted in a short while. We do a little shopping, and are back at the site by 14:55, with only five minutes to wait until the gate opens.

Now that the tyre problem is fixed, our thoughts turn to our first site in Hungary. We decide to check the distance, using the satnav.


Before leaving home, someone (ie me) did not check that the Satnav included maps of Hungary. I reasoned, since they are part of the EU, they are part of Europe and the satnav covers Europe.

But, (and it is not often I admit this), I am wrong, we have no satnav coverage for Hungary.

We have an uptodate Road Atlas which includes Hungary, so Kathleen is going to have to dust off her map reading and navigating skills.

Thursday, we say goodbye to our Austrian tyre expert and head for Hungary.

The first part is easy, we head along the A2 motorway, past the scene of our puncture, and switch to another smaller road which takes us toward the border.

At the border, we have to buy another “vignaitte”, this time to travel on the Hungarian motorways (at least I think it is for the motorways, there only seems to be one!, but there are lots of signs saying you have to buy a “vignaitte”, so, we stop at the border. We are waved on by a sleepy guard, who points to a petrol station about 500 yards down the road.

Kathleen manages the transaction no problem in a mixture of German and English. One slight hiccup, she leaves her glasses behind, but the young man from the petrol station manages to catch us, before we drive off.

We actually manage the rest of the way to Keszthely, Balatontourist Camping Zala (ACSII book) without a single wrong turn.

But, it is not easy navigating in a country with such unpronounceable place names, how about Zalaegerseg or Csabrendek, how on earth do you pronounce them! I have to ask Kathleen to spell the place names out, so I can watch for the signs!

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