We crossed the border and arrived in Slovenia. We met Julien’s siter, Alice, and her husband Manu with their kids, Zack and Loah. Behind the van of the little family, we discovered the Slovenian roads between the hills of the Lower-Styria, located at the North-East of the country.
Once the camp was set up for the first evening next to a lake. We enjoyed a drink to celebrate our reunion. On the table, good French produce: a saucisson and some pâté. We dreamed about this from many months.
The following day, we visited the 2nd biggest city of Slovenia, Maribor, under a blazing sun. We discovered the ancient marketplace, the cathedral and strolled in the paved streets. Along the Drava river, we had a picnic, sat on the stairs of the quay in the shadow of a tree.
At the bottom of the old Stari Most, we discovered a grapevine growing on the wall of a farmhouse made of stones. It was apparently the oldest kind of vine cultivated in the world. With its 400 years old, it was still giving grapes.
We continued our walk, up to the main square with the colourful facades with an architecture from Austria and Hungary before to arrive at the ancient castle with its golden bell tower dedicated to Saint Florian. Built after one of the fires, this castle was supposed to protect the city from natural disasters.
At the end of the afternoon, we were back on the road to find a new spot for the night. This time, we pitched up the tent between a football pitch and the Ledavsko lake. To enjoy the aperitif of this evening, I went for a run alongside the lake. No dive in this cloudy water but a hosepipe on the roof of a cabin next to the football pitch was worth one of the best locker rooms.
In the morning, we reached the border to enter in Austria after a few kilometres. At the end of the afternoon, we reached Prigglitz, a little village at the South-West of Vienna. We met Eva and Willy, our Austrian friends met in Peru, in their holiday house. We spent a great friendly evening with them.
In the morning, we left our friends and headed to Linz. More specifically, we stopped in Welz, the head office of Ural Europe, for a few days. It was time for some mechanical checks between a couple of BBQs.
Once the sidecars ready and still escorted by the family van. It was time to go back on the road for crossing the Austrian Alps and the region of Tyrols. We changed of direction before Salzburg and headed to the South to reach Italy.
Being confident with our sat nav, we crossed the beautiful valleys surrounded by massive mountains. But after a few hours on this road supposing to cross the border, we discovered the itinerary used the rail to cross the mountain. But the price announced made us changing our mind. We decided to go back and to take the Eastern road which will use free roads to cross the Italy after a summit in the Alps.
But for the time being, we looked for a spot to spend the evening. In this country, wild camping is prohibited and the campsites were too expensive. We opted for a little road along the Saalach riverside. After two negative replies from farmers, it was at the entry of a quad bikes circuit that we had the authorisation of using a little wooden cabin to spend the night, sheltered from the rain. We dined and spent the night on our matresses for the evening.
We left in the morning to reach Innsbruck. We did a quick stop at the ski station of Steinbergbahn which was full of bicycles this day. Then, we stopped in the village of St Johann in Tirol. Surrounded by the colorful houses, the main square was buzzing this day. There was an endurance race of mountain bikes. The bikers were in the paved streets with their best equipment.
We continued our road and noticed signs indicating the temple of ski, Kitzbuhel. On the left hand side there was its famous wall, a vertiginous slope for the great skiers. We avoided Innsbruck and used a little road to reach the station of Patscherkofelbahn and its track of bobsleigh. The rain arrived during our picnic. We stayed in a forest to enjoy our sandwiches of rillettes of fish, under the roof of the family van.
At the end of the afternoon, it was with a thick fog that we crossed the summit of Brenner marking the border of Italy.