Category Archives: Driving Holidays

Road Trip: France-Germany-Austria-Slovenia-Hungary

Sharing our trip from Alsace, France to our home in Hungary. The journey took 9 hours, two days and spans five countries.

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After 3 hours on the road, we went searching for our hotel in the countryside which we booked online (from the back of the wheel). Because we don’t know where we will be, we always book our hotel about an hour before we stop for the day.

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The accommodation is located just outside Munich overlooking the southern Bavarian alps.

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This is the joy of booking in rural bed and breakfast accommodation – the green, peaceful and beautiful countryside where we could walk Charlie in bliss, parking is easy and the charm and hospitality of family-run hotels add up to the delights of a long distance journey.

 

 

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Our hotel used to be a farmhouse built in the 17th century. After one hundred years, the first guesthouse was opened. It has been operating as a hotel for 280 years. It is right next to a 12th century church (onion dome in the background).

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The next day, we continued our drive across Germany

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This German motorway will soon reach the crossroads leading to Austria and Italy

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Time for a selfie stop in one of the many “raststations” (motorway stops).

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These two are posing for a photo. The HR sticker below the registration plate indicates that the van is registered in Croatia (Republika Hrvatska in their language)

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Pee stop. They do it in the green to save themselves 70 centimes (toilet charge)

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Along European motorways, you see tourist signs like this. They are often referred to as a brown sign whose purpose is to direct visitors to tourist destinations such as historic buildings, tourist regions .

This sign announces that the next exit is the town of Traunstein. Traunstein is famously referred to as a Pope Town because this is where Pope Benedict XVI (the predecessor of Pope Francis) grew up and spent his childhood and teenage years.

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We are now entering Austria.
Republik Osterreich in German language which is also the language of Austria.

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But first, we had to buy a vignette (motorway tax sticker for affixing into the car windshield), 8 euros for seven days.

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At least motorists are putting their vignette film cover strips into the bin.

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Silver Club

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This Austrian motorway will soon reach the crossroads towards Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy

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The most famous lake of Austria, the Mondsee

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A solar panel farm in Austria

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The Austrian Alps

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Another tourist sign promoting the famous Vogelgesang gorge and waterfalls.

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Border sign to Slovenia, indicating that a vignette is required to traverse their motorway.

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The vineyards of Slovenia

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Slovenian and Hungarian translation given because Lendava is just at the border of Hungary.
Grad/Var – city
Terme/Termal – thermal pool

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Border sign of Hungary, which is called Magyarorszag in their language.

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Church (Templom) in Letenye

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A busy lake in Kistolmacs

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Must be a summer camp. These tents are always up in the summer.

Road Trip

It all started when,  in the midst of scouring the exhibits of  the Mois de la Photo in Paris a few years ago, I came upon this discreet spot in the Chatelet area presenting the theme:  Road Trip. 

Mois de la Photo (Month of Photography) is a month-long photography festival held each month of November in France but more concentrated in Paris where  grand halls, galleries, private studios or even unexpected spaces  hold  exhibitions featuring the works of legends, as well as accomplished and emerging photographers.  In the booklet given free by the Paris tourist office  where names of participants are listed, I specifically ticked an address which, to my apprehensive surprise,  is located above a shop where I had to clamber up some dark staircase to reach a modest-size room.  Books and magazines were strewn in disordered fashion and the sight of wornout furniture, mixed and matched, creates the impression that this is an overworked studio of a zealous artist.  Framed photos of the author’s road trip experiences hang neatly against the walls,  the room deliberately made darker with dim lights probably  to compliment the sombre nature of the images on display:  a rainy day, night scene, bird pooing on the windshield…they were all depicted in a sombre manner.  But even so,  that particular moment instilled a desire in me that one day, I shall put up my own photo exhibit about the same subject – Road Trip.

Ah, road trips!  I have been to countless of them with H from the moment we started our travelling lifestyle.  We have traversed  a large portion of the European continent, by car, by van, by train, by ferry, by campervan, by towing a caravan or a boat.  From the scenic to the dramatic, from the gloomy to the dreary, in all kinds of weather conditions and road situations, you name it, we’ve done it.  Through all these, I have always kept a camera handy, ready to click the shutter for any unexpected sight that may arise.

This post is just the beginning.  A project under construction.  I have yet to sift through several years of photoarchive files and definitely, there are a lot more to be added here.  And when it is over and completed, I shall start scouring for that unexpected space to exhibit my photos.   In some garden courtyard, perhaps, or at the back of a factory.  I read that cafés, bars or restaurants are an absolute no-no as venues.  Why not in a closed- down church.  I’ve been to some exhibitions held in these places.  Yeah, a dream that will one day come true.

Enjoy browsing!

 We were towing the boat, Togouabi,  towards Venice where
we we were about to take the 24-hour ferry ride to Corfu (Greece), it’s future home.  2009

Inside the boat, behind the wheel, we have just arrived in Dover, England and were waiting for the ferry door to open  when I noticed this car with this Canadian plate number.   What a long journey it must have taken for the driver to get this far! 2010.

We were in British territory, the land of coloured water (at least that’s how we label their “always-franchised” coffee) so we had to bring our own coffeemaker and camping cooker for our all-time caffeine fix.

I love photographing the geometrical patterns of bridges especially while driving through them.

Villefranche sur Mer, France

A mobile church?

The beautiful sunset of Italy. 2011

Driving through the Romantic Road of Piemont, Italy.

It started as a beautiful day for driving, then snowflakes started falling and before we knew it, the road became practically impassable due to the thick snow building up on the road.  We eventually made it home.  Southwest Hungary. 2012

A very misty day along Nagykanizsa road, Hungary. 2012

Every Springtime when the rain falls continuously in the Roya Valley at the foot of the French Alps, erosion happens and large pieces of rocks toppling down is a natural occurrence such as this one blocking the road that time.  Few days later, we saw men using special machines to break  the rock into smaller pieces for easier lifting and transporting away.

Still waiting for the firemen.  South of France

Driving in the Zala, Hungary

The few days we were at home in Hungary, and the few times we went driving, we noticed the rarity of cars plying the roads and if there were vehicles a-rolling, they would most likely be for farming or never-had-I-seen-machine on wheels.

Here are some photos:

 

The Communist-era Trabant car, built in Germany, is an icon of Hungary.
It was the most popular albeit noisy and a smoke belcher car in its time!

Road Trip

We have driven this autoroute for so many times, I have stopped counting.
It is the same scenery but dramatically changes depending on the season, the time, if it’s a school holiday, it it is the summer holiday….

Come travel with me from Paris to the south of France on this winter season of January.


Thin sheets of ice started to appear midway to our journey.
We are now in the Rhone-Alps department, not far away from Geneva, Switzerland.


The Roman viaduct of Aix en Provence


A castle or two would be visible if you don’t sleep during the journey.

A paperclip-looking like monument along the autoroute


These buildings of Lyon were designed by Baron Haussmann, the same architect who modernized Paris in the late 19th century.


If you see rocks like this, you are now getting close to the south of France


Modern factories in France are obliged to put a bit of landscaping to please the eye


This museum being built in Lyon looks like a metallic toy robot monster that has been ran over by a bicycle!


French citroen vans on the way to Spain


The old town of Lyon and the medieval cathedral atop of the hill.


Vegetable store on wheels..on the way to a town or village’s Open Market day


An old castle with its sloping vineyard


A Swiss towing his boat towards the Mediterranean…(note the Swiss-registered plate)
Farm house with its stock of bales to use as animal feed in the winter


Another castle property with its outbuildings


A banner screaming: TREES!


some village

Driving the UK motorway

H and I are in the UK at the moment. We are here to exchange our British-registered car into a British-registered van. Not that we are fed up of the former, we actually love it and it has been part of us for nearly four years serving not only as car but also as our roadside  hotel when moving from one European country to another:  Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Britain, Italy as well as France – we will miss it enormously but life goes on…..

We are due to  move out of Paris in the next few weeks hence the need for a van to transport our few material possessions and for towing our huge caravan which has been sitting in the middle of the almond fields of  Grenoble near the Swiss border.

Buying a second-hand vehicle in the UK is a breeze and the only complicated thing to do  is “locating” it. The “where-to-find-the-best-deal” part was made easier through eBay and we just had to cross the English channel and negotiate   the 3.5-hour drive towards Birmingham in the Midlands to collect it.

The Midlands is the region comprising central England. I’ve never been to Birmingham so I was looking forward to seeing even the outskirts of this popular city. With the long drive ahead of us, I thought of making use of my camera to do a bit of motorway photography.   

 I am omitting the captions this time for lack of time as we are off to the motorway again this moment.

Enjoy the travel!


This is where we started the British driving bit: from the white cliffs of Dover. Here found is the Port of Dover where our ferry from France sailed up to.