16 July 2006: I woke up at 7 in the morning, because I’ve noticed a lot of movement by others, it seems that they thought that the ship would lay up on Venice much earlier. On the contrary, the ship delayed to enter the port, because another ship had priority. Unfortunately, passenger ships don’t get into the old port of Venice anymore, instead, they lay up on the new one, which was (at that period) still under construction. Besides the early awake, the delayed entrance to the port, another drawback that appeared was that from the time I got out of the ship till I the time I was dressed up correctly for my trip, one more hour had already passed. This means that I started my trip around 10:30 in the morning, way off-schedule. In order to check if my GPS was operational, I’ve opened it and set a route for the borders of Italy. From that time till Vienna, I remember closing it only a few times, summing 30 minutes top. Its behavior was outstanding (except one or two slight freezes, possibly due to low temperature).
So I’ve started following the route to Brno, as planned, though at the beginning of my trip from the port, I realized that if I was leaving at 10:30 from there, there was no chance on reaching Brno till the afternoon. That was the reason why I’ve picked the autostrada, in order to get there faster. The road condition till Trieste was normal, with fresh asphalt. After Trieste (around 50km after), the landscape started changing and was becoming more fascinating. The altimeter was rising very fast per driving kilometer and the road conditions were unbelievable. I had started entering through the Alps region. During driving, I was also keeping an eye on Superstrada (their “old” highway) and I realized what I was missing by not choosing that route. The autostrada on the other hand offered speed and many tunnels. I’ve counted more than 20, where 2 of them were over 5 km in length!
Entering Austria and after 2 kilometers, I had to enter the side-track of the road, in order to purchase the 5€ sticker-license (required!) from a store. I accidentally met another Greek there, driving a car. He was going to Poland and was asking me where he could purchase that sticker-license. He seemed confused, so I helped him. After chatting for a while, we said goodbye to each other and started our journey. For 40-60 kilometers, I was left speechless. I was driving through what I thought flat regions and fields and right after that, directly hills and airlifts. At that time I realized that I was still in between the Alps. Right after that though, I understood it practically: My cordura jacket closed all the way up, my tankbag cutting the wind and I was shivering from the cold temperature. I did like it though! Later on, when I started descending, temperature was raising again to the normal summer levels, meaning 20-25oC. The weather was really nice, sunshine all the way. I was able to maintain high driving speed but eventually I saw that the opposite wind was giving me a hard time. In a gas station I decided to use my earplugs that I had bought recently. What a change!! At last, my ears would not buzz during the nights!
I reached Vienna around 5 in the afternoon. During my stop there, I realized that I couldn’t possibly reach Brno. So I called Manolis to give me the address of Hargita Pansion, the one that he stayed there 4 years ago in Vienna. Before going to ask to the pansion, I stopped at a Mexican restaurant to eat something. After drinking and eating, I found the pansion. The charge rate for one-bed room was 45€ per night. I unloaded my bike and went straight for a bath.
At the afternoon, I decided to do a small tour in the area. Without a guide, it wasn’t easy at all to find out where you should go and what you should see. So I decided to follow the crowd and also to take some photos like a typical tourist. Vienna is a very attractive city; it looks very clean and well built-up. I was impressed by the fact that almost everywhere I was listening classical music playing. Unfortunately, due to lack of sleep, I didn’t have the time to wander myself for a long time, so I returned to the hotel. I was just hoping that the following day would be more relaxing than this one. Morning awake was programmed for 7’o clock.