Driving through Austria
The scenery is breathtaking !
On entering Austria , you should buy a "vignette" , which is obligatory , before you are permitted to use their road network ;
this costs 7Euro50 for 10 days or 21Euros for 20 days and so on , no discounts for longer periods ;
the vignette should be diplayed on your windscreen ; quite what happens if you are caught inside the country without one , I don't yet know . The speeding fines , however , are known to be steep , so : beware of radars ( particularly on Innthal section ) !
Since many hundreds of thousands of vehicles have to traverse Austria in order to get to the Adriatic coast , it comes as no surprise that a good number do not bother with the vignette at all !Being dull , law-abiding Brits , we bought ours , since it was also broad daylight and our superstition dictated avoidance of bad karmas .
The shortest and quickest way , from the German border at Salzburg to Slovenian one ( Villach ) is the Autobahn , some 280 km of it ; in theory , having purchased a vignette , you should now be able to put foot down and accomplish the crossing in, say , 3 hours , including a coffee/W.C.-stop ?
Or : so we innocently thought ! Hehehe ...
Turns out that high summer season is the perfect time for serious motorway maintenance and feisty Austrians were doing at least 80-100 km of exactly that , on which sections all traffic : cars , bikes , caravans , motorhomes , heavy trucks , busses...were reduced to schlepping at 40-50 km/h in single lanes ...before frequent regular halts , e.g. prior to entering the major tunnels en-route !
Once on the Autobahn , you are made to pay for the tunnels again , which adds another 25Euros ( one-way ) to the bill for the frustrations of queing in heavy traffic ; at the pay-stations they do now have an ingenious new system , whereby you hand you credit card and it gets returned with a receipt , without involving your signature or PIN-code authorisation !
( Wonder when Harrods and Harvey Nicks might adopt suchlike progress ? )
If you achieve the crossing in under 6 hours , for the said approx.280 km/h , in July 2007 , you should consider yourself very lucky and you have done very well , indeed , so far !
Then you can negotiate Slovenia and Slovenians , next !