No photos for this blog. I was too stressed!
Three people and four dogs squashed into the Nissan station wagon and I had to drive from the hotel, drop off Ivo who was going up to the training site with his Malinois bitch ( a very nice dog) and then drop off his wife Eva a few kilometres up the road for the start of her walk in the mountains with the other two Malinois. Then I was on my own with Jochen in the back.
Oh boy. Eva gave me her mobile phone with a navigation program and set the Innsbruck address and the return one as well. Never having driven on the ‘wrong’ side of the road before, this was a very odd experience. I found it unsettling to have all that space in the car to the right of me and had difficulty judging the distance to the side of the road. I either drove right in the gutter or too far in the middle.
NO DRIVER'S LICENCE!
Half way to Innsbruck I suddenly realised that my driver’s licence was back in Switzerland in my Australian purse. When almost in Innsbruck I realised that my passport was back in my room in the hotel. This was not good.
SAT NAV & GETTING LOST
I discovered that driving with Sat Nav is an art I had no idea about. At one point I took a wrong turn and completely lost myself in a small village. I think I drove down every single road, lane and winding track in that lovely, tiny, bucolic Austrian village. I drove through tiny squares and small archways, dead end roads that ended in farm sheds, backing up, doubling back, holding up the minuscule traffic, people looking at me strangely wondering who on earth had let this strange Swiss driver out on her own, before I managed to get back on the main road.
The steering wheel was wet from my sweaty palms! I kept telling myself to keep to the centre of the road, ‘keep to the centre’. The Sat Nav woman was very patient with me but at one point she told me to turn left and if I had done that I would have ended up in a field of corn on the cob!
By now I had some feel for the car which thank god was an automatic. I somehow missed a turnoff and I don’t know how many times I criss-crossed Innsbruck, but don’t anybody ask me what Innsbruck looks like. I haven’t a clue. I was conscious of the fact that the tank was only a quarter full and I had no Euro on at all although these days one can pay with a card anywhere which I eventually did. But I had forgotten which side the tank was on so naturally I drove into garage and had to back out again. By the time I had done all that, the spot I wanted to drive into had been taken up by another car. So I gave up and drove into the other lane the wrong way which meant that that car had to back out after he had paid. He probably swore at 'Swiss' drivers too after that.
I drove down a one way street the wrong way, just stopped myself from doing that again a couple of times and then by some miracle found myself in Südtirolerplatz, where I was supposed to be. Wow!!
Then I had to find a parking spot in the shade that was not too far from the square so that I could find my way by foot back to it. I actually managed that. There is a God. I started heading towards the square again when I decided to stop and ask re the dental clinic. He said it was not in the square and he would take me to where it is. I took very careful note of my surroundings because I needed to find my dog and the car again.
Long story short, I got there, had two x-rays taken and the prognosis is pretty much what I thought it would be - most likely root canal treatment or have the tooth pulled. She said there was a ‘pocket’ which can be painful, cleaned that up and sent me on my way. That cost me Euro 12.22. I am certain that if I were staying in Innsbruck longer she would have started root canal treatment then and there. She said that at least no puss has formed yet.
BACK AT THE CAR
I managed to find my back to the car and Jochen, still in the shade, and took him out for a piddle. Just as I was coming back a woman was about to write out a parking ticket. I almost begged on bended knees not to do that and told her my whole sorry tale, including that I was from Australia, had never driven on the wrong side of the road before etc. I must have looked stressed to the eyeballs because she took pity on me, wished me a good day and walked on.
BACK TO THE HOTEL
The drive out of Innsbruck was relatively calm and I started to feel some degree of comfort. But….I took a wrong turn again - aarrrggghhh! So I did not go back the way I came at all. This route took me along quite a few freeways and I was relaxed enough to actually notice the country I was driving through – beautiful of course.
DRIVING OVER A PASS
THEN….I had to take a turnoff that took me up and up and up and…..The road became very narrow and very winding and I found myself high up in the mountains on a pass. To say that the mountain sides were steep is an understatement. Christine, a very good friend of mine, always says to herself when she is faced with a difficulty, ‘come on girl, you can do this.’ So I took her cue and ‘did it’ by keeping my eyes resolutely fixed on the road. I did not dare look out the side the car window because I had this irrational feeling that if I did, I would drive through the flimsy fence and off the mountain into thin air. Scary to say the least.
Fortunately there was no oncoming traffic on this stretch of road and I kept strictly to the middle. In any case, the road was so narrow I don’t know how another car would have had room to pass. I didn't want to think about that too much but angels looked after me. The winding roads kept on going and going and the Sat Nav woman was very pleased with me because she said very little. But this was a bit unnerving as somehow her voice was a comfort.
Then….oh joy!!! I saw a sign to Ochsengarten, the home of the hotel. Nearly home – but no, the road still kept winding and ….then, another sign, another few kilometres….eventually another sign, a sound from my faithful Sat Nav woman kept me from losing the plot and eventually, there was the hotel. The steering wheel was very damp.
Jochen and I went up to the room and we slept for an hour. I then took him for a two hour walk, found a place to give him a thorough brushing - he is starting to moult, and that is the day that was. No training. Turns out we missed a super training day. I didn't want to hear about it.