On Sunday afternoon we had a lovely walk through alpine (or Tyrolean to be pedantic ) meadows, gazing down the valley on towns and villages far below and sitting on a bench gazing at the mountains above. ...later it clouded over a bit and we had rain at 8pm for 30 mins and then a few showers. We thought the temperature had dropped a bit.... but we are about 2000ft asl. ..and had to put a bit of heating on at 10am and so to bed.
The temperature at 7am was very nippy and I put the heating on again as I made the morning tea and then I looked out to see that we were surrounded by snow capped peaks that definitely weren't there when we went to bed. The outside temp. was 4° which explained the necessity for heating. By breakfast time everybody was out taking photos as it transpired that this was the first snow of winter and is mighty early and unexpected on 2nd Oct. Seems to have buggered up the holiday weekend plans of lots of Germans.
Our problem was not the temperature (hey, we've done the Artic Circle) but the sudden transition. .....5 weeks of eating breakfast,lunch and dinner sitting outside and only retreating indoors when the mozzies got too much. ....all of a sudden overnight the temp goes from mid 20's to mid teens with nighttime temps going from 18 to 6 and forecast on Wednesday to be 2°. So we packed up and left. At this stage we are still in Italy (altough you'd never guess as the first language in these parts is German and everything is efficient ) and we have to cross 2 passes to reach Germany and it's no point lingering in the cold, but I need to find a cache in Austria in order to get the digital stamp for another country in my logbook at Geocaching HQ. The plan had been to stop at Imst for 2 days and rack up a few caches but this didn't seem too clever now. Oh yes, and we had to leave Mals when I found that we were paying €40 a night and we were not even actually in the campsite technically speaking. Anyway the drive to Imst was only 2 hours and we're there by midday in sunshine and the mountains here are snow capped and the temp is 12°. We head off into countryside and get 2 caches, one of which is a cracker so box ticked.
Everybody talks about the early snow, no point hanging around so we head for Germany. ....the Fern Pass has snow down to an alarming level and I see council workmen uncovering the signs advising snowchains although they are not mandatory until 1st Nov. The roads are clear at the moment but they are obviously preparing for winter.
Once over the alps into Germany the skies clear and the temp rises to 15°. We head to Stockach on the Bodensee (Lake Constance/Konstanz) and book in to a campsite at Wahlwiess we stopped at in 2010. I know that because they told me I had. There's German efficiency for you. It's a lovely site in amongst the apple orchards overlooking the lake and they brew their own beer (a lager type of course) which they sell at €2 per 500ml. Bottle . 5.2% and exceedingly drinkable. We decide to stay 3 days and then make just one stop at Bingen on the Rhine on Friday and stop at ALBLASSERDAM on Saturday so that we can do ROTTERDAM on sunday before getting the ferry on Monday.
I'd I mention my favourite impression of Slovenia & Croatia ? Unlike France, Spain & Portugal, the normal serving of beer is 500ml and not the poncy 25cl
that evaporates. A large beer is a litre, and for entertaining, the 1.5 or 2 litre bottle is readily available everywhere. I had forgotten how much I dislike a 25cl bottle or glass and how satisfying a 500ml bottle is. I may have to go and live in Croatia one day.