European Wilderness Volunteer DiaryThe Diary of the European Wilderness Society Volunteers
European Wilderness Diary-25597.jpg - © European Wilderness Society CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
European Wilderness Diary-25597.jpg - © European Wilderness Society CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Getting to Austria

Biff Houlston

My time here in Austria started officially in February but first I would need to get there. Volunteers before me moved with a suitcase and backpack; taking only the essentials and necessities. With a year ahead of me, a want to visit friends old and new along the way and having always wanted do a long road trip, I decided to move to Austria by car. A casual 1,014 miles; 1,631 kilometres to our continental friends.

I packed the things I needed, then things I thought might be useful and then filled the rest of the car with the things I wanted, comprising mostly of tea.(This is no joke I have run out already send more!)

Hitting the Road

My trip would take me past family and long lost friends. However, while it offered all these great opportunities, the timing wasn’t great. It turned out that I planned my travels smack dab in the middle of some of the heaviest snow that central Europe had had in years.

So from England to Belgium, to Holland, to Germany, I found myself heading into the heart of the storm. Having been given a lot of valuable advice and a survival kit packed by my friends in Germany, I set forth to Austria. Soon I started to see vehicles going to opposite way covered in sprinklings of snow and not long after, as I passed Munich, the vehicles coming towards me looked battle worn and increasingly became coated in snow and ice with worn and tired drivers.

Not long after I hit the snow, it had been piling up in the fields and tree’s next to the motorway but now it was on the roads. The poor lorries started to slip up the hills, losing momentum and getting stuck, while the ones that made it to the top slid down into snow banks out of control and unable to break.

A 6 hour journey soon became 7, then 8 and after being diverted from blocked road to blocked road, pulling out a stuck pickup and held up by avalanche after avalanche, I finally arrived, tired but safe and with a new world to explore.

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