Driving in Austria is Easier than in Italy

A Whizz over the Fernpass in Austria
Some words about the Fernpass in Austria. First something about the psyche of different drivers, then thoughts on litter, then sorrow at the disappearance of a fine sign, and finally some winter pics, for a murky finale.
We drive from Verona, over the Brenner Pass and into Austria. It always strikes us, the moment we have descended from the Brenner and past Innsbruck onto the regular Austrian motorway, how much easier it is to drive. For some reason, or probably for a number of different reasons, Italians want to drive up your backside all the time. I have some theories about why this might be on the Italian Men and the Trans page.
I generally try to go about my daily round in such as way that avoids the intimate closeness to my rear parts and this applies equally when driving, not least because I can do without encouraging the possibility of gashes and dents in my motorcar, but keeping one’s wits on high alert all the time can be rather stressful. The Austrians, by contrast, drive in a way that is civilised and courteous.
In Austria we cross the Fernpass, which is not a motorway but a two-lane road, one lane in each direction for the most part, so is a fairly sedate ride but very pretty in parts. Traffic is always quite busy on the Fernpass, but people generally just chug along without the need to show the world what a big boy they are (i.e. they aren’t Italian – they are predominantly German and Dutch).
A new sign appeared periodically on the Fernpass in 2009. The road’s number is the B179 and the sign says, in German, ‘I am the B179, not a rubbish tip!’ Ho hum.
Littering must be something of a problem on the Fernpass because in 2005 the café that is nearly at the summit, the Zugspitzblick (see photo below), had a handmade sign that told us in both German and English that we should not throw the garabage simply into beautiful nature three exclamation marks. Sadly this sign is no longer there. (The German version said ‘Bitte Werft den Müll Nicht Einfach in Die Schöne Natur’.)
Given that the majority of cars on the Fernpass are German-registered, the littering is somewhat surprising, as it’s not something that Germans are noted for, see Under-Age Drinking, German Style.
The Fernpass also has the road safety sign that is one of my favourites, it shows a motorcyclist taking a bend with the caption ‘Gib deinem Schutzengel eine Chance’ – ‘Give Your Guardian Angel a Chance’. Isn’t that nice. I especially love the eyes.
The B179 drops down from the Fernpass and past the town of Reutte and then enters a tunnel, on the other side of which is Germany – and a motorway, a new one opened in the summer of 2009. and then you are in the Allgäu, where if you are as fortunate as me you can find a German DIY Picnic.
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Customers enjoying a drink at the Zugspitzblick café in September 2005.
Here are a couple of pics of the Fernpass in winter, when it is pretty-much always open, but can be a bit murky.
Do we go to Reutte or Garmisch? All roads lead to Garmisch.
And in case you are wondering where the steering wheel is, or why the driver isn’t concentrating on the driving, we were in a British car, so this pic is from the passenger seat. Glad we got that cleared up.

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