I wake up to a thump, like somebody slammed a book down on the desk next to me as I dozed during accounting class. I keep my eyes shut and ignore it for a minute before looking up and waking my cotravelers with an "oh shit!" There's a folded sheet of paper on our windshield and I'm thinking large fine from the local P.D. Half asleep, we get the note to find a letter in German (duh) bearing the logo of the supermarket whose lot we'd just slept in. In the process of buying a sleeping bag (I'd imitated an ice cube the night before), the guy working at the sports store translated for me: "This is a warning not to park overnight in their short-term space again or they'll call the police." Needless to say, we're gonna need a new nighttime carspace.
Being in a small Alpine town, we naturally wanted to hike in the Alps. Sports store guy pointed us towards the tourist office, which cheerily told us to come back next week when the trail maps returned from the printer. Requests across town for a vague idea of where to find a decent trail returned similar variations of "you just go." Nobody seemed to understand why we'd want a recommendation for a particular trail; to them, I guess you just go on a random hike.
The townspeople were right: we just went, and it was excellent. Just gong entailed parking at the lower end of a cable car lift and striking out in search of a trail. We gave up on that after a few confused minutes and instead headed uphill through a forest not unlike those of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania except much steeper. This got strenuous and old after a few vertical meters and lasted for quite a few hundred more. Fortunately, we picked up a trail at the other end of the ski lift and decided to follow a sign for a pat reading "Kitzbuhelhorn 2 hr." Assuming 2 hours to be an estimate that would let grandmas feel athletic, we set off planning to reach the peak within the hour.
Our estimate grandmas were buff: it took us nearly 2 hours, just as the sign said. The view was ridiculous and being on so little ground so high was scary enough that I decided parachuting / hang gliding probably aren't for me. There's spatters of snow all around ad it's hard to help feeling elated.
The descent's quick and the rest of the day pales in comparison except for the Krimml Waterfall. "Huge gushing avalanche of water" is probably more accurate, because this wet monstrosity doesn't belong under the same name as serene trickles. We're 50 feet away and I still get wet from the spray the roar of the water loud and a half.
Leaving Krimml, we got soaked in a different way. Riad, the driver throughout our Austrian excursion, saw the motorist behind us flash his lights and started to slow down. Unfortunately, he didn't slow enough: we were stopped by a perturbed Austrian in uniform standing in the middle of the street. He spoke English and smoothly handled the process of recording our license plate number, but his elderly partner wasn't quite as fluent or thrilled. Marching across the road, the grumpy old man huffed and frowned at us as he shoved the radar gun in Riad's face, pointing at the 74 kilometers per hour reading. Riad thought he'd fallen safely below the limit of 80, but no such luck: with the limit at 50, we're 24 in the red.
No biggie: Riad pays the 29-euro ($32) fine on the spot, which is standard practice in Austria, and we're off. Wary from the angry note of the night before, we decide we'd spend the night sleeping in the car at a campground in a town even smaller than Kitzbuhel called Zell-Am-See.
We're kicked out of a luxurious hotel's lobby shortly after I've scored enough free Internet to check my mail and learn that Greek airport workers will be on strike Monday. Normally this would just be a one-line blurb on the Drudge Report for me, but it's resulted in the cancellation of our flights from London to Greece. I spend awhile trying to get through to EasyJet, our low-cost airline for the Greek leg of the trip, but give up shortly after the automated operator informs me that "wait times are in excess of 10 minutes" and I realize that my phone card will probably run out before I get through to anyone. After my millionth cost-cutting peanut-butter-and-Nutella sandwich and a couple of beers that were nicely chilled by placement in the alpine lake, I curl up in the sleeping bag I bought after freezing my butt off last night and call the passenger seat a bed.