So where's the snow?

Muddling through life from Austria to Wales; God, life and a small black dog

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Tamsweg to Poole


Panda resting in Verdun


I had a complete freak out spell the night before we left and just didn’t want to do this mammoth drive. We do bicker a bit (!) in the car, so we had to agree to man up and behave. The route was mapped and we had a Tom Tom, and  Salzburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Paris, Caen, Cherbourg really looked simple. I also had the carrot of the family and Christmas being at the other end, so I went for it.

We left as agreed and it was fine as we headed towards Salzburg. We met a lot of traffic at Munich -someone had told us about how they opened the hardshoulder to traffic in rush times, so we didn’t freak out when we saw all these x’es. We also soon got the nack of the slow lanes going up hills for heavy vehicles in France. Trouble is the lanes peter out at the top in various ways and you have to get your lane right. The worst time was when I was overtaking and a lorry decided to overtake another just as I was going by – they often followed me out as we went past.

Then the motorway tolls in France, we still haven’t sorted out what they cost, but it did mean really good roads, most of the roadworks were in Germany!  We soon got the hang of either collecting a ticket or slinging the card in and burning out- Panda liked racing the lorries away…..

It was getting to about six oclock and we were tired, we had reached our goal of doing over half the distance. We needed a hotel, but we found that there are no motorway hotels in France, just the ‘Aires’ which are dirty bogs and a park place. We pulled into a rest station and they had no idea, but suggested Verdun – a first world war town with huge cemetaries and hotels as people were in and out all year on tours. ThomasT guided us into the middle of the town, and after a bit of bickering and bad road signs we found a place- we fully expected Rene Artois and Edith to be there! It was interesting how my French started to dribble back, the receptionist was a giggler and I heard her snigger as I said tuoisieme (sp) meaning the third floor as we staggered up the stairs.

After Croissants for breakfast, we hit the road for Paris and then we hit the Periperal. Oh heavens, joining, twisting back on yourself, but the traffic was mostly good tempered and I actually began to get a buzz out of the driving. As we reached the peninusala of Cherbourg it became very windy. We began to wonder if the ferry would be cancelled. The landscape was a bit like around Wareham, flat water meadows, but earlier, Normandie had looked really cute with lots of half timbered buildings.  World war stuff was all aorund us. We made the port with an hour to spare -phew! We’d done it and were still speaking to each other!


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An afternoon’s walk


It’s been a funny old year. Being at home all the time and the wet summer, BUT I  rejoice in the teaching qualification I’ve made and the great experience I had teaching this year. I had such a lovely group of students. I taught the beginners in English and I think they all improved. Someone had at last decided to split the beginners from the experienced and it worked. They were motivated and hard working – mega. Compared to my first course I was overwhelmed with gifts and even a Christmas lunch from the new Boss. I can see things I want to improve and re-do and I have a contract to teach again – but not until next October!

So in the next couple of days, Dave and I are driving from Austria to England, through Germany and France and then taking the ferry from Cherbourg to Poole where we have another short drive to our son’s house. Dave and I argue in the car, so I can’t say I’m completely looking forward to it. We have a borrowed TomTom so that should help! Dave wouldn’t fly this year, so its all HIS fault!

On Sunday we went for a walk in the sunshine, no snow, along a beautiful path by the Mur at Predlitz. I feel for the ski resorts who are having to drain all their ponds to make snow, but I’m just enjoying everyday without the ice. I’ll be ready for the snow when we get back in a couple of weeks! I feel blessed and hopeful for the coming year. And you?