June 21, 2006 GMT

Gruss Gott from Vienna, Austria!!!

When we wrote last we had just arrived in Albania. Man is that country poor, but the people are super lovely. We often find that in dirt poor countries. The roads were by far the worst in all of Europe and there was no rubbish collection and hasnt been one for many years, so hopefully that gives you a bit of a picture!! The Lonely Planet book said Albania is for the Adventurous, so challenge set, we had to go!!! It was no problem, only the roads got progressively worse the further north we went, like potholes inside of potholes and constant dust and trucks!!

We then followed the coast north to Montenegro which was absolutely stunning and highly recommended. We also took a side trip up to Bosnia and saw the old Mostar Bridge and went to the capital Sarajevo and saw many buildings totally damaged by machine gun fire. A highlight was the tunnel museum that was built from under one house, under the runway and joined up inside another house the other side of the runway. This secret tunnel kept the people alive during the recent war and was amazing to see.

Croatia was next on our list and we had very high expectations of the city Dubrovnik and it was better than we thought. You must see Dubrovnik- in a stunning setting this ancient walled city shows real spirit of character- say no more, go and see it for yourself! We cruised along the coast and went into all the little fishing villages and visited many of the islands. Korcula and Hvar and Brac were stunning islands and we drove from one end of each island to the other, checking out each beach of course!

We then met up with Pam and Andrew Rorke and Brian and Sandra Smith in Split. We had a gorgeous little apartment in the centre of Split for a week and Pat did some maintenence on the bike, while Belinda washed everything!! It was great to stay in one place for a week and behave like normal people, cooking etc!! John left us in Split and drove stright up to England and got there a few days later!!

We then continued up the coast of Croatia checking out the islands of Dugi, Pag, Rab and Krk. We fell in love with Croatia and will return again we are sure. The seafood is fantastic and the people are lovely and the beaches come close to as good as Australia, so we were in heaven for the month we spent there.

All good things must come to an end and before we knew it we were in Italy with the crazy drivers and realized how relaxed we had been slowly cruising the great roads in Croatia with no traffic. Up over the Dolomites- The Italian Alps, and over the Grossglockner Pass in Austria- the most beautiful pass in the world. We saw over 1000 motorbikes that day- true motorcycle heaven!!

Austria is the prettiest country we have ever seen with lovely roads with no traffic and quaint villages and huge houses with flower pots in every windowsill. We visited Salzburg and stayed with a wonderful Austrian family in their Zimmer- rooms for rent. Belinda cried when we left 3 days later they were so lovely!!

We then went to Eagles Nest which was Hitlers secret meeting place. What a wonderful setting right on top of the mountain. You catch a lift up the middle of the mountain, we have never seen any thing like it in our life. Eagles Nest it was alright with the grand birds flying around everywhere. We then cruised around staying in lovely villages and having the time of our lives. We have caught up with Angelique Hochlahner and Hanka and Erik Forkert (Horizons members) and really enjoyed fantastic Austrian hospitality.

Tomorrow off to Vienna, then Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and finally back to Greece in November to store the bike for our next trip. Then back to Canada for a white Christmas and home in Cairns December 28.

Posted by Patrick Peck at June 21, 2006 11:41 AM GMT
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