A reluctant departure, but excitement for what new horizons hold… Hallo Österreich
Leaving Slovenia north of Kranj we made our way to the Austrian border. Only a few weeks earlier we had cycled into Austria and Italy and commented how freely we were able to move between countries but since then due to the current economic migrant crisis the Austrian government had implemented border controls. There was a light military presence at the border and after checking our passports and taking a look in the van we were on our way into Austria.
Our first stop was just outside the town of Gallizien in the Carinthia region. Our camper contact app showed a suitable overnight parking spot at a restaurant and although when we pulled up there wasn't anything to suggest overnight parking was allowed, we stayed anyway and were not disturbed. Overnight parking is generally well tolerated in Austria. A stroll to a nearby waterfall gave us chance to stretch our legs after the days travelling.
The following day we drove into the Styria region and spent the day exploring Sankt Lambrecht. The town has a beautiful landscaped gardens with pavilion, and a stunning town hall.
It is also home to St Lambrecht's Abbey, a Benedictine monastery founded in 1076. During the Second World War the Monastery was actually seized by the Nazi's and housed two sub camps of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. The monks returned at the end of the war in 1946.
The days reminders of the war and the Nazi's rule over Austria did not end there. We spent the night camped in the town of Judenburg, the town gained its name, meaning 'Jews Borough' from the Jews who lived there and played a vital part in its role as a trading outpost. In 1938 the town became part of the Third Reich and efforts were made to change the towns name to Zirbenstadt or Adolfsburg, a decision which was never finalised and so the name remained.
It had been a great few days exploring beautiful areas and towns with sobering reminders of not only the history embedded into these countries but also current political problems.