It’s been ages since I last posted, but it’s all been a bit hectic. We had a great two week holiday, but on the second day our neighbour called to say we’d had a storm and the power had tripped – with two freezers in the cave and two fridges and a freezer in the house, that’s no laughing matter. Our lovely neighbour took one freezer up to his house (probably because it had two of his chickens in it!) along with the contents of the other, but that still left the inaccessible indoor appliances. Two weeks later, arriving home at 7pm, we were met with the smell of putrifying food – just what you need after a days drive. Yes, I know we could have come back earlier but we wanted to put it off as long as possible!
While cleaning out the small freezer, I noticed lots of black flies on my legs (must be the rotting food, I thought). Next morning, my ankles were covered with about 50 bites each – I’m not exaggerating! So, that night was awful – the itching kept me awake, and while awake there was the permanent smell of decaying defrosted chicken and fish. I was in tears as there was no escape from either the smell or the itching.
Next day, a call to where my mother was staying to see if they could keep her for a day or two - no problem. So, set to work airing the house, recleaning the fridges/freezer, then vacuuming the carpet, spraying lethal anti flea spray everywhere, washing everything that wasn’t fixed down. We’re exhausted we need a holiday!
Anyway it’s all back to normal now, Suzie the flea trap dosed with Advantix is back home, and all seems to be well. By the way, sellotape makes a great flea catcher for your legs – I took great delight in seeing them trapped between two layers of sticky tape *smirk*
So, now to bore you with my holiday snaps (come back!). We’d decided Austria was the place to visit, apparently though, there’s not so much rain a month later. We booked four hotels in advance + one in Czech Republic, they were all great except the hotel from hell, the aptly name Gasthof Karawankenhof which we’ll expand on later.
Firstly we went to the Leutasch valley near Innsbruck. It was pouring with rain, we couldn’t find the hotel, and that was when our neighbour called. We found it eventually though – navigator error (me). A lovely, though modern, hotel, with a charming Belgian proprietor who speaks four languages: Gasthaus Reiterklaus in Unterkirchen. This is worthy of a recommendation – it’s cheap, good food, quiet and friendly, and the owners are making an effort. It’ll be a great place for kids as there is a vast play area under construction.
While there, we visited Kaunertal, like all of Austria, a very pretty valley, so what more can I say?
They have lovely cows with fluffy ears there too
The second hotel was Spertendorf in Kirchberg, again, a lovely hotel with a super terrasse out the back, and for horse-lovers, overlooking a livery yard with some trotters. Perhaps not quite as personal as the first, but we had our own tourist info folder, great food, quiet nights, and more important – good weather! We had a drive up Kitzbuheler horn the next day in sunshine, but I haven’t uploaded the photos yet.
The third hotel was THE hotel to avoid – Karawankenhof, Finkenstein, near the border with Slovenia. More expensive than the other two, the staff more interested in sitting in the bar talking amongst themselves. The hotel looked great on the site, but our room overlooked an unkempt yard. It was quiet, but the food was average to be polite – well cooked but 90% chips. The deciding factor in our hotel from hell rating was the fact that, although they take credit cards, you had to pay for the meal separately – mentioned nowhere. After a trip up two flights of stairs for the unacceptable credit card, we were not best pleased. Nothing to do with taxes eh? A shame, as I’d planned for us to visit Lipica in Slovenia the next day (home of Lipizzaners), but we decided to cut our losses and leave a day earlier. I’m not sure that I didn’t gain a few overnight bites either. They are definitely NOT trying, even the tourist brochures dated back to 2005.
From there we had an unscheduled stop on the Danube before our next stop in Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. I’ve been there before and knew it was photogenic, hence the revisit. It’s a Unesco world heritage site. We stayed at a hotel within walking distance of the town – Penzion Onyx. The only pity was that there was no restaurant, but there are plenty to choose from in the old town. The owners, Peter who is British and with a Slovakian wife were away, but Mrs Peter’s sister was there to look after us (sorry, I can’t find surnames!). She convinced us over an evening of wine and beer that Slovakia is our next destination. I would have like the chance to practice my pitiful Czech, but as with all tourist destinations, they speak fluent German and English. (Why is it that when I speak in Czech, they answer me in German?) In summary, Penzion Onyx is a little oasis on the edge of the old town.
The weather wasn’t that kind, but I took loads of photos anyway:
Finally, on the way home, we had an unplanned stay at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, due to an unchangeable flat tyre. What a pretty town this is. Our taxi driver found us the most expensive hotel, but never mind :)
Agricultural shows next!
Oops, I forgot to mention the beer!! Hefe Weizen is my favourite, that’s the cloudy, almost chewy wheat beer in Austria and Germany – plenty of that to be found everywhere.
And if you’re in Czech – Smazeny syr, fried cheese with tartar sauce – my favourite.