Day 66 Sunday 5 August 1984
Klopeinersee, near Volkermark, Austria
104km, Total 3859km. Hilly, Hot.
Beautiful country again. Spirits rise the nearer we get to Austria. We really need to get away from Yugoslavia now, we are psychologically sick of it. Titovo Velenje – a chateau on a piney hill, is this Tito’s palace with the fake paintings?
A park dominated by a massive thoughtful Tito under whose gaze we eat prunes and cheese. A luxurious town, where we guess the rich are congregated. Coffee at a posh hotel. I feel angry because I am very hungry today and Guy is not. When I suggest eating he is cross, wanting to get on. We stop however to eat biscuits in a meadow.
A stream beside us is quiet and cool. Dew is on the grass still. A miserable stop at Dragovad, and then over the border in bad humour and beautiful countryside. Soon we stop to celebrate Austria. We park the cycles and climb a steep bank covered in freshly cut hay. I see new flowers; a toadflax with yellow flowers and the spiky leaves at the top of the stem turning violet. Also in the shady woods, a single mauve flower without leaves – an anemone I think. Plums we eat, that we bought conveniently at the top of a steep pass from one valley to another.
Again, I remember dad and his longing for Austria’s woods and mountains, log cabins and fresh streams. Entranced by the Austrian country, with its velvet smooth roads, yellow markings on them, contrasting with the blue of distant hills dull gold of ripe fields and everywhere thousands of flowers again bright and clear.
Hay hangs to dry on lines, which look like henges from a distance. Lovely wooden houses, clean and intricately roofed stand alone, not crowded in a row of others. In Volkermarkt we stop in the square, at a fountain with frogs spouting water. Very tired, we ask a policeman about a campsite, and continue to the Klopeinersee.
A large lake, popular resort, the campsite is busy but there is a small place for us right beside the lake, where caravans and cars can’t get. The site seems full but in the evening many go away. Toilets and showers beautifully clean and modern. There is a storm during the night, and we must get up to collect the washing. There is lightning over the lake. While we are doing this a hedgehog shuffles underneath the beds beneath the groundsheet. It pricks Guy on his return.