My cotravelers, who are more hygienic than myself, decided this morning would be a good time to do some laundry. I joined them in taking advantage of our fancy campground's facilities, which turned out to be a horrible idea: several hours and euros later, we were stuck with wet clothes.
Diversity breeds innovation: we invented a groovy way to dry our laundry. Tying our pants to the ski rack on the roof our our car achieved an alpine fresh dryness while also providing drumlike sound effects and personality for our otherwise boring vehicle. This works for the first load, but subsequent attempts result in wet shirts half frozen by our drive through the mountains.
Most of today was spent driving, but not just any drive in the park: we took an alpine pass, going as close as roads get to Grossglackner (sp), the highest peak in Austria. We literally bet our lives on Riad's ability to drive a stick shift. There were a few nervous moments, ie when one of the two lanes were blocked by snow, but he got us through thin, high roads alive. It sounds incredibly spoiled to say, but the breathtaking views of the Alps eventually became boring: I slept through some of the hairpin turns.
We lacked a destination after the alpine pass. Deciding that there are a sufficient number of exits from the highway towards some city called Villach, we head for the "zentrum," which I think means something akin to "city center." What it ended up meaning for us was tasty pizzas and a light local brew called Villacher. Other than the "gut bier," notable features of Villach are a green-blue river and lots of kids dressed like punks. Highlight of the night was watching said punks harass the McDonald's (I know it's being a tool of multinationals to go there, but the ice cream's 70 cents...) security guy, moving the sign he fervently guarded and flashing "W" as they yelled "West Side!" at his Western Austria Security uniform. After a debate about how large the fine will be for doing so, Tom and I decide to sleep in his tent next to the river while Riad calls the car a cot. Setup is made enjoyable by the fact that Tom managed to place the tent and his shoe directly in a pile of dog poop, but I wasn't helping so I can't complain too much. The pleasantness of a pristine view of the river is somewhat negated by an annoyingly strong odor of shit, but we pass out anyways.