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June 3rd 2011
Published: June 28th 2011
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What a difference several hours driving makes.

From Venice we head north and even before reaching Austria the Alps loom in the distance. The weather has been quite warm and sunny, yet the forecast isn’t as promising.

The Motorway into Austria climbs steadily in to a beautiful green wilderness, lush tree scapes greet us and with it a smattering of rain and a noticeable drop in temperature. All too soon we are back onto the flats and the sun shines again.

We have decided on staying outside of Vienna and will use the picturesque village of Brand – Laaben and hotel Landgasthof zur Linde as our home for the next couple of nights.

Our trusted ‘Garmin’ once again is put to the test and as we venture further into the countryside I begin to doubt myself as to where we have decided to call home. Needless to say our doubts were unfounded and we will be blessed with another wonderful experience.

Brand Laaben is set with a rural and alpine backdrop straight out of the movies. Bush walkers are plentiful as are mountain bikers. During the winter months the area is explored using snow shoes. Small creeks crisscross the countryside and tall pines surround these fertile lands.

Our hostess speaks very little English and our German is worse. They do not get many English speaking tourists in these parts and we become somewhat of a novelty to the locals who frequent the bar and restaurant in our new home; most make an effort to communicate. On our last night we are humbled to find that our hostess’ son has prepared an English version of the restaurant’s menu on our behalf (the food is terrific either way).

One of the main reasons for being here is to visit Vienna which is less than 40 minutes, by car, from where we are staying.

With the help of the chef and our hostess we are informed that there is a parking station on the outskirts of Vienna, where one can leave their car and train into the city. Maybe we are getting spoilt but neither of us are that taken by Vienna. Mind you if you had the money and were so inclined the opera or a concert would be a different experience.

Back to the parking station we go and head over to the impressive village of Melk.

Set on the Danube and with the majestic Benedictine monastery towering over the village we are again struck by the size and condition of this abbey. Walking the riverbank we watch as the river cruise boats and cargo barges power up and down the Danube.

Driving along the plains we witnessed a magnificent electrical storm and received an absolute drenching.

From Austria we pack our bags and venture into the unknown lands of the Czech Republic.

Additional photos below
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30th June 2011

As always great photos, you are having a holiday of a life time. It's Denise's dream to see Europe once we get settled back in Wales Leave here a week tomorrow for Wales, so will have no computer until we buy another one in UK. All being well we can meet up in the UK

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