Local Heart, Global Soul

January 17, 2015

Austria, One Day We Need To Come Back And See More…

Filed under: AUSTRIA,PHOTOGRAPHY,Seen from: Planes Trains and Automobiles — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This archive post sees us leaving the tiny nation of Liechtenstein and heading back over the border into Austria.

My first glance at the border post have me a shock, it looked like we were going back into Switzerland again (and as revealed a few posts earlier, that’s the last thing we wanted to do) but Himself assured me that this time we were ok,  the exit border posts in Liechtenstein are manned by the Swiss because of an arrangement between the two countries. (I think that Liechtenstein provides the funding and the Swiss the manpower).

As usual I’m on the lookout for beautiful buildings and spy a few with impressive architectural details. There are beautiful round towers, some clearly very old indeed and the ones pictured here are just the ones I was quick enough to get, many were not best visible from the road we were on and some were out of sight before I could point the camera in the right direction. There are many impressive buildings perched on hills where the traffic disappears into tunnels below… and even more impressive mountains in the background to complete the scene. Along the route are information boards illustrating castles and attractions that we have no time to see today. I’d love to come back and see more.  In the meantime we are on the road enjoying the view, what’s not to like ? …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 10, 2015

The Hills Are Alive: With Our Feelings Of Guilt…

Filed under: AUSTRIA,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,SWITZERLAND,The vaguarities of Parenting — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s archive post, where we travelled briefly though Austria, we have now rounded a corner and found ourselves on a little road with a manned border crossing and no space to turn around and go back the way we came.

Our should-have-been-updated Our Lady Of The Tom Tom is taking us into Switzerland!  Himself and I let out an involuntary groan.

Switzerland is a member of the Schengen Agreement countries, which comprises most of the countries in western europe with the exception of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

No passport checks are done on people crossing borders within the Schengen Areement countries, but Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and therefore does not share a customs union with it’s neighbours so customs officers can stop visitors in order to see if they have anything to declare to customs. It’s important to know that Switzerland has some tough and expensive laws: for instance driving a non-EU registration car (i.e. a Swiss one), into an EU country (i.e. Austria)  needs to be accompanied with the correct customs clearance and registration documents upon entry, (otherwise it’s classed as an ‘import’ and failure to do so results in fines at the border: calculated as 10% of the value of the car in customs costs plus 19% import tax. Therefore a Swiss national needs to have things in order even if they are only going for a day trip across the border. Of course there are special papers for people who travel frequently over the border for business etc.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Driving into Switzerland  without a “vignette”  (autoroute sticker) is also forbidden,  This is the yearly motorway toll fee ( as of February 2014 it cost 40CHF (Swiss francs).

You pay for a whole year’s fee regardless if you make a day trip into Switzerland, or use it for a week or three months or the whole year.   The border posts all take credit cards and payment in cash can be made in Swiss francs or Euros.

Even having the vignette in a non-approved spot on your windscreen can catch you a hefty fine: 200 CHF (Swiss francs) and that translates as roughly Euro 165,– or USD 200,–. Needless to say since you also get a hefty fine for having no vignette at all,  (Himself thinks it’s Euro 600,– fine) and if we had wanted to enter Switzerland we know that we should have organised getting one before we came.

So here we are, creeping up to a Swiss boarder control  with no vignette on our windscreen at all, and no way to turn around and go back. We prayed that the border guards were in a good mood and have their attention on other things as we creep towards the window with fixed grins on our faces and me holding up our  four EU passports for them to see… we are lucky and they don’t notice and wave us through.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself and I breathe out.

Now we need to avoid any police cars who also do random checks on non-Swiss registered cars.

Ideally we need to get out of Switzerland as quick as we possibly can, so like fugitives we take the nearest side road in the direction we think we need to go in… and end up on the wrong side of the Rhine River with no indication of where the next crossing point is.

Goodness knows career criminals must have nerves of steel, Himself and I couldn’t handle the stress of feeling guilty and the fear of getting caught  and we hadn’t even done a big crime. We have nothing against the Swiss, or Switzerland, we’d just rather visit “legally” without the possibility of massive instant fines hanging over our heads.

The side road we take is tiny and we end up next to some people harvesting cabbages where Himself asks a lady  in German for directions. Apparently they give directions at this farm regularly to lost tourists like us because the road we wanted is almost literally next to the border crossing but hidden on the far side of a roundabout that has some concealing “art”  on top of it.

With our new directions we head back to the border crossing, but directly before it, turn right, go round the roundabout and then hard left… now on the correct side of the river we are in the country we intended to be in, in the first place: The Principality of Liechtenstein. Phew, no vignette needed here…. breathe out again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The offending roundabout that hid our exit the first time around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another nature bridge…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And one of our first sights in Liechtenstein, a man driving what looks like a backwards facing boat on tractor wheels… (No, sadly we never found out what this was for…), but it certainly makes for an interesting welcome to a new country on our travel list.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 9, 2015

Crossing The Border Is Fine: But Then It All Goes Wrong…

Filed under: AUSTRIA,PHOTOGRAPHY,Seen from: Planes Trains and Automobiles — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags:
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another post from my archive files sees us taking a break from our visits to Legoland in southern Germany: we have driven further south and crossed the Austrian border.

This isn’t our intended destination today, that’s just a little further south, and as with all European Union countries these days, boarder crossings are a mere formality, especially in a car with Dutch number plates.

We do of course still have to have our passports with us, but even if we were stopped in a random check, there would be no stamps added to it. Kiwi Daughter, Little Mr and I will just have to remember that in October 2013 we had our first visit to Austria.

At the bottom of the photograph with the Innsbruck sign, you can catch a glimpse of a line of concrete, below which is the entrance of a long tunnel. It took us through a large hill and the view when we emerged on the other side was of  what I call “real” mountains  (not any hillock or speed bump that my Dutch husband insists really are mountains too).

Born and bred in the South Island of New Zealand, having lived in the heart of the Southern Alps, I feel a strong affinity with mountainous landscapes and this scenery gives me a strong feeling of being “home”. There’s certainly nowhere in the Netherlands that could compare to this and when I see mountains again I realise just how much I miss them.

All of a sudden we find ourselves crossing the Rhein (a.k.a. Rhine/Rhin, Rijn) river and before we know it we have rounded a curve and discovered that as testament to our legendarily bad navigation skills, we are very much in the wrong place…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

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