Graham Laing decided to retire 10 years earlier than planned to enjoy an epic driving tour with his SLC. The plan, inspired by conversations with his Father, was to drive the SLC from the southern most tip of mainland Europe in Spain to the northernmost tip of mainland Europe in Norway.
When he told his children, they said ‘you should write a blog about it’… So that’s exactly what Graham is doing. Graham approached the SLSHOP and asked whether we would be interested in hosting his work, and we were only too happy to share his story. The SLCenic Route was born!
In this episode Graham realises that all roads lead to Rome, and if they don’t, at least they’re better quality than roads in the UK
The SLCenic Route
Episode 14 – Ramsau to Leipzig via Passau and a short cut through the Czech Republic (250 miles)
Breakfast was with a couple from Moscow; they were on a bike heading for Morocco and were jealous of me heading for Nordkapp. I was jealous of them getting to drive through the Swiss Alps and the Pyrenees.
First stop on way north was Passau, one minute there is a massive river is on your right, and then without crossing it, suddenly it is on your left. If I had read more about Passau, I would have realised it is the convergence point of 3 mighty rivers; the Danube, Inn and Ilz, and of course I was just looking at 2 different rivers.
Passau floods often, unsurprisingly. The flood record on the wall of the Old City Hall was above my head a number of times. With the snow melting in the mountains the water was high, luckily there had been no rain for a week, otherwise the SLC would have needed water wings.
From Passau, the route like yesterday followed another of Germanys well documented and signposted tourist routes. This one is called the Beer and Castle. As I don’t have time for the beer it was mainly looking at castles, all much more elaborate than the Spanish castles but not nearly as many. However, I felt the route should be renamed the Distinctive Steeple route. It didn’t matter which way you looked or which road you took, another one is just a mile or two away.
They started to appear at the start of Switzerland, every small village and town seems to have a very distinctive steeple attached to a small church. All the steeples are subtly different, some are slightly bigger than others, some have different shaped spires on top and there are various colours but all are based on the same very distinctive style. Once I got tired of seeing them atop every small hillock, I took the Motorway for a while to save time. But you can’t escape, at each junction you pass, there is a sign showing the outline of the local towns distinctive church steeple.
Easliy the best part of the day was seeing the stunning Walhalla, sitting on a hillside overlooking the Danube and one of its flood plains; you can see it from miles away. It was built in the 1830’s and is well worth a visit, if only for the views.
Driving the last 3 days, other than the different scenery, it was interesting to see other changes. The roads in Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria and Germany are all so smooth, as good as any I driven on. Italian and Czech Republic roads are much better than the UK (everywhere has been so far) but crossing the borders, I could feel the difference immediately.
The SLC actually had a problem today, the insulation on the underside of the bonnet has started to detach, probably the heat. Hoping some glue will sort it, although not the end of the world if it doesn’t.