Travels with my Dog – Sasha considers Germany and Austria

Sasha in her travelling cage
Sasha in her travelling cage

Every day I’m back in my cage. She says it is a ‘secure travel unit for the average canine’. I think she’s been listening to FBI language – you know the sort of thing………….’for your security sir/madam we are now going to make you unpack your suitcase in front of a crowd of interested on-lookers, all of whom will stare at your underwear’. Actually I quite like the cage (do not tell her). It is a very suitable size for me, my bed is stuffed into it and consequently it is pretty comfortable. Also if she brakes suddenly………and lets face it anything is possible on these ‘European Highways’ then I’m safe…….. All too soon we left the chateau in France, which I loved by the way. I could easily have stayed there indefinitely as the ‘chateau chien’. Then we drove for miles (and I mean miles) to Strasbourg. Right at the most north-easterly part of France. Now I know from the telly that the European Union has one of their parliaments here in Strasbourg. Parliament means a place where you go and do a lot of talking (from the French or Italian parler / parlare). So all those MEPs that we British, French, Italian tax-payers fund go to Strasbourg or to Brussels to talk (for many hours) about what new laws they can pass and who is going to pay for it. Now to give you a clue the people paying are the ordinary people of Western Europe. Dogs I would just like to point out, do not, I repeat do not, get the vote.

We circumnavigated Strasbourg and crossed the border into Germany. Now the amazing thing is the German autobahns have no speed limit. Mrs Clever Clogs (my owner) likes to put her foot down. But I tell you, in Deutschland we are being over-taken every few seconds at very high speeds. Makes me feel like I’m stood at the side of the road. She likes it – she says we are completely insignificant and therefore effectively invisible. I nod in a sage fashion – I think that is what is required. She is determined to get to Southern Germany this evening so we cruise along, passing signs for Stuttgart, Ulm, Augsberg and Kempten. She’s  got her heart set on Schwangau. This is `Southern Bavaria’ and it is where ‘Mad King Ludwig’ built his castles. Not one castle but two. They say he was gay. Dogs don’t understand these things. I don’t think I know any gay dogs…..well hang on maybe I do……………….. So we spent the night in the village of Schwangau directly below two really spectacular castles.

There was a lake, lots of walks. I have to say I was happy. She was a bit cross with me, in the evening we were walking past a group of Bavarian chaps in their leather shorts (truthfully) and I suddenly felt the need to……..well you know…right there in the middle of the path. I couldn’t help it, call of nature. She swooped in like a heat-seeking missile, produced a small plastic bag and removed the evidence in a nano-second. Haven’t seen her move that fast in years. Quite impressive. Not sure the beer drinking Bavarians even noticed.

The next morning we were up early, I was allowed in the breakfast room, which means little bits of ham fed to me from the table – yippee! Then a stroll down to the lake and the water’s edge. Always fun by the water, interesting smells, bits of weed, flotsam and jetsam (love those words). My owner has a fascination with this area of Southern Germany, WG Sebald was born here, one of her favourite authors. A very interesting man who spent his working life in Britain, first in Manchester and then in Norwich at the University of East Anglia. He taught German Literature to generations of students from the late 60s until about 2005. In his own writing he explored the notions of home, identity and memory. He examined the holocaust and the way that Germans with a small amount of Jewish blood who managed to survive the Second World War came to terms with their feelings. My owner was brought up Catholic with lashings of guilt thrown in for good measure. She loves a good dose of guilt!

Soon it was time to load up the car, me back in my cage and off to Innsbruck, Austria. Not a long drive she says, just about two hours. Perfect I think, time for my morning sleep. She stops at the border between Germany and Austria to buy diesel, it’s the cheapest in the area she claims. The funny little petrol station takes cash only. It is doing a roaring trade. I notice that the diesel here is at least 30% cheaper than in Germany – curious. I always thought the EU was supposed to unify prices and create a level playing field for the EU members.

She’s quite right the trip to Innsbruck is short – we arrive in the pouring rain. She struggles to get into an under-ground car park. The barrier won’t go up and we’ve got a queue of irritate Austrians waiting behind us. She’s shouting something into the intercom thingy at the entrance, but nothing is happening. I decide to bark helpfully at anyone who comes too close to our car. I’m told to shut up. Honestly, there’s no pleasing some people. Eventually all the cars in the queue have to reverse back up the ramp of the car park. We reverse too, approach the barrier for the second time and miraculously it goes up. Phew that’s a relief, time to stop barking.

We stayed in Innsbruck for about 36 hours and it rained the whole time. I didn’t like it very much. Everything was wet. We eventually found a park but I had to stay on my lead the whole time. No freedom, no chance to run around and explore. Don’t worry she said we’ll head for the Brenner Pass tomorrow, over the Alps and into Italy. Of course that is another story!

Notes:

  • Sasha is a cross breed Cairn Terrier-Poodle. Her opinions are her own.
  • Sasha does not belong to a political party nor does she have any political affiliations.
  • For full details on crossing The Brenner Pass click here!

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