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Orange Vespa Huskyteer

Slovenia-Croatia 30/06: Land of the Lederhosen

It would have been nice to linger by the lakes, where a tourist map displayed evocative names like 'Plain of Sugar' and 'Rock of the Squirrel' and I had to pause my exploratory stroll to let a stream of US Army jeeps pass, but the road called. We moved on just before eleven, fortified by a hotel breakfast of bread and jam and an encounter with the hotel cat, a lakewater-eyed animal the colour and cat-relative size of a St Bernard.

The atmosphere was different as soon as we crossed the border into Germany. German motorways are busier, and while French service stations offer towels with Smurfs characters on, German ones sell porn magazines and miniatures of Jägermeister.

Having claimed that I was good for a couple of hours, I was alarmed to see my petrol gauge drop to the last bar and start flashing. Service areas, which seem to occur every 10km or so on French motorways, were rarer here, and the next one we reached was closed. Signs said it was 52km to the next, and I definitely wasn't going to make it, so we took the Karlsruhe exit. We found a petrol station fairly soon, and I suggested this might be a suitable point for a lunch break.

We had sausage and chips at a hot dog stand done up like an Alpine chalet, then navigated back out of the town, passing into Austria by a bridge alongside an enormous dam.

As we sped down the outside lane of the autobahn (soon I will run out of local translations for 'motorway'), we spotted a long skidmark with a bike on its side at the end of it. We pulled over on to the hard shoulder and I broke out my emergency!German, which is like my normal German but with 50% less grammar, to ask the motorcyclist if he was OK and whether there was anything we could do. He seemed remarkably unruffled, waved away offers of help, asked us where we were headed and wished us a good holiday.

After hours of unrelieved motorway, the scenery changed. Still motorway, but at least now it was motorway with mountains in the distance. We rolled into Salzburg, historic city of Mozart's birth, and checked in to our hotel (the Meininger, to which Howard insisted on referring as the 'My Ninja') in the grotty modern bit.

387 miles

Salzburg fashion
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