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Author Topic: Austria (without kangourous) and Slovenia (never been with the Czechs)  (Read 2782 times)

webfil

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In the past year, I've visited twice two oftenly-mistaken countries in Central Europe : Austria (to where I now send mail adressed in French in order not to get it to Australia) and Slovenia (who even shares flag similarities with another former socialist republic, Slovakia).

Austria and Slovenia are part of the European Union, and are (mostly) exempt of rigorous border control. If they share economic system, their highway system is also alike :
  • Both countries' superior networks consist of federally-owned A-route motorways (Autobahnen in Austria, Avtocesti in Slovenia) whose access requires a vignette (available at most former border crossings on A-routes). A-routes have high design standards : no at-grade crossings, high speed limit (130 km/h in most cases, 100 km/h in tunnels or hilly, twisty parts), large lanes, large shoulders, few interchanges, 4 to 6 lane divided carriageways (except in some rare exceptions where a second tunnel is currently being bored), etc.;
  • The second stitch in the network are expressways (S-route Schnellstraßen in Austria, H-route Hitri cesti in Slovenia; literally "quick" or "fast roads"), that share similarities with A-routes (like mandatory vignette), but are shorter in length and generally offer lower standards : at-grade crossings can occur occasionally, speed limit is mostly 100 km/h (but can be raised to 130 km/h on upgraded sections), lanes and shoulders are narrower, RIRO and buttonhook access are frequent, and width can vary from 2-lane undivided to 6-lane divided.

    In Austria, high-standard S-routes are maintained as Autobahnen ("motorways") whilst narrower, at-grade S-route expressways are maintained as Autostraßen ("autoroutes") by the ASFiNAG. According to the ASFiNAG, vignette-tolled superior highways web for 2200 km in Austria and 528 km in Slovenia;
  • Main highways (formerly Bundesstraßen, now B-class Landesstraßen in Austria, Glavna cesti in Slovenia) offer cross-country connections to villages, towns and cities grossly following roman-, medieval- or renaissance-era pathways. In Austria, most of highways were downloaded to the states in 2002. The ones that remained federal are B-routes marked as Autostraßen by the ASFiNAG;
  • Slovenia has primary (200-399), secondary (400-599), tertiary (600-799) and touristic (or mountain resort; 900-999) regional highways;
  • Austria has mostly unmarked L-class Landesstraßen, owned and maintained by the states.

Austrian superior highway network diagram by MyFriend. Knoten : "freeway junction", Anschlussstelle : "interchange", Ort : "locality", Grenzübergang : "border crossing", Einröhiger Autobahntunnel : "single-carriageway tunnel", Sondermautstrecke : "stretch with additional toll".

Vignette prices differ from one country to another. In Austria, the annual cost for a passenger vehicle is € 85,70, while bimonthly cost is € 25,70 and 10-day cost is € 8,80. In Slovenia, the annual cost is € 110, while monthly cost is € 30 and weekly cost is € 15. In both countries, tolls (€ 5-6) are collected at longer tunnels or viaducts.

Austria

Scenery on Wien-bound A1 near Melk, Lower Austria. A1 (Westautobahn) is the main east-west motorway in Austria, spanning between Wien-Hüttledorf and the German border near Salzburg, where it becomes A8 (DE). It is 6-lane wide between Knoten Steinhäusl (west of Wien, where it meets A21) and Knoten Voralpeinkreuz (west of Linz, where A8 and A9 come to an end). Prefab soundwalls are erected on a good part of its length. Medians are quite narrow on much of A-routes in Austria and often consist of a jersey barrier, but the occassional twin guardrail appears on lenghty viaducts or near tunnels.


Scenery on Stockerau-bound S5 near Stratzdorf, Lower Austria. S5 (Stockerauer Schnellstraße) is A1 counterpart on the north Donau/Danube shore in Lower Austria between Krems and Wien. It serves more local traffic, as A1/S33/B37a is the most direct route between Krems and the capital. Tight ramps and B-route signage are typical for Autostraße stretches.


Entering the settlement of Weidersdorf in Seitenstetten, Lower Austria. This is L6264 (Weidersdorf Straße). It is about 6 metres wide. The only indication that you are on a Landesstraße are little milestones layed every 500 metres.


A sign showing a... erm... "lovedoll" asking not to go that fast on Sankt Michael Straße in Sankt Michael am Bruckbach, Lower Austria.


Hikers's paradise. Standard hiking signage near Mostviertelfernsehturm (Cider district tower) on Austrian National Trails n° 352 and 366 in Sankt Michael am Bruckbach, with a nice view of the fog over the Donau/Danube valley.


Leoben-bound B115, entering Kirchenlandl, Styria. Speed limit in Austria is by default 100 km/h, unless otherwise posted. There are no recommended speeds posted for curves or ramp, thus driving under the limit is very common. Approaching towns, default speed override (30, 50 km/h) for local streets are often posted, even though they do not apply to Vorrangstraßen (thoroughfares).

Still on Leoben-bound B115 in Kirchenlandl, Styria. This tiny village has a bike lane.


Leoben-bound B115, descending towards a bridge over the Enns river, approaching Hieflau, Styria. Reduced speed of 80 km/h is posted due to bridge icing before the road.



Leoben-bound B115. Bridge ices indeed before the summits; some valleys see little to no sun during winter, thus frost forming on every surface.


Leoben-bound B115. On the shelter to the right is a green and yellow "Haltestelle" flag (bus stop). In the absence of shoulder, even the tiniest, most insignificant bus stop deserve a bulge in the pavement in order for the bus to stop and pick or drop passengers safely. Regional buses also serve as school buses, and their network spans to most small remote roads with frequecies to at least one trip daily. PostBus, a joint venture of the federal railways and the austrian mail services, operate most regional routes (with more than 2100 single-level and double-decker buses throughout Austria) along with local carriers, under the authority of verkehrsverbund state transit agencies.


Klagenfurt am Wörthersee-bound A2 west of Mooskirchen, Styria. West of Graz, A2 winds its way up to the Kalcherkogel pass where it crosses into Carinthia.


Klagenfurt am Wörthersee-bound A2 approaching Herzorgbergtunnel. The median alternates between guardrail and jersey.


Klagenfurt am Wörthersee-bound A2 approaching Herzogbergtunnel. The sign on the right is one of the most common sights on Autobahnen : radio stations that emit in the area have sign posting their frequency. Hitradio Ö3 (state-owned Top40) is transmitted in most tunnels since it has traffic reports every 30 minutes or less.


Klagenfurt am Wörthersee-bound A2, Herzogbergtunnel. Maximum height in tunnels is 4.5 metres. This overhead fixture feature lateral variable speed signs.


Klagenfurt am Wörthersee-bound A2, Herzogbergtunnel. Maximum speed in tunnels is 100 km/h and trucks are forbidden in left lane. Lane width is reduced and shoulder are inexistent.


Klagenfurt am Wörthersee-bound A2, Parkplatz Packwinkel. Parkplatz (parking areas) and Raststation (rest areas) are quite frequent on motorways. All of them feature free Wi-Fi internet, toilets and a defibrillator. There are 8 of them between Graz and Klagenfurt (120 km).


Klagenfurt am Wörthersee-bound A2, Kalcherkogel tunnel. Red and white LED lights fixed on the ground mark the roadway in case of smoke incident.


Hebalm-bound L136. Tire chains are mandatory on this road from November to April because...


... well, because the weather is one wild card around here. Still on L136 in Hebalm. When ski resorts are open, maximum speed on this road is 40 due to the presence of skiers on or around the road.


Oberer Plattenweg in Andritz borough, Graz. Local "2-lane" roads can be as narrow as 3,75 metres.


B67b in Lend borough, Graz at Kalvarienbrücke (Calvary Bridge). This is the most recent (1991) street bridge over the Mur river in the city. Route 67 follow three itineraries through the city of Graz ― B67, B67a and B67b ― that belt around the older city.

Slovenia


H3 completes Ljubljana beltway to the north, with A1 and A2. It is a depressed freeway with a close succession of 9 interchange on its 10-kilometre lenght.



Inner cities of Slovenia feature pedestrian-zones, which vehicular access is restricted to residents and emergency vehicles. A card and PIN number are required to activate the bollards. In winter, ...



... the same system works just fine.


Dunajska cesta, Ljubljana. This prestigious adress is home to Slovenia's largest corporations headquarters in Bežigrad district.  Slovenksa cesta (the inner-city part of Dunajska cesta) was in the process of being converted to a bus street south of this point. 31 buses use this street to serve downtown core.



Funky Petrol gas stations on Dunajska and Tivolska cesti. Access is made via one-way off-ramps; gas stations thus often face one another to allow access from both directions.


Route 1 (Ulica heroja Šercerja) in Maribor. Despite its small population, Maribor is drained by an extensive network of arterial highways, expressways and motorways.


To my belief, roads are generally wider in Slovenia than Austria. Partizanska cesta, in the frontage of Maribor railway station.


Strange location for handicapped parking. Interspar supermarket in Maribor.


This one-way sign feels like home.


The downside of having pedestrian cores is parking at the threshold of the city. This parking is located in Koper. Koper is a tiny medieval city surrounded by a sea of power centers (and the sea itself). The Istria region is drained by a fine web of expressways and federal highways that connects with nearby Trieste (Italy), but also Ljubljana and Pula (Croatia).


Still, locals find a way to park inside the city...


... even in this tiny, three-pair-of-shoulder-wide alley.


A Yugo, normally branded as Zastava in this part of the world. Not that of a common sight in ex-yugoslavic Slovenia.


Me putting extra weight due to overnutritious slovenian breakfasts. That does not prevent me from being silly in front of a sign that says "Look out for cyclists!". My girlfriend and I hiked on E6 trail from Graz to Ljubljana last Spring, hence the backpack.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2016, 03:57:26 PM by webfil »
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corco

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Re: Austria (without kangourous) and Slovenia (never been with the Czechs)
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2016, 01:30:55 AM »

Nice photos! This has got me excited. I'm planning on spending a short amount of time in Slovenia in about three months as I roadtrip through the Balkans. I've got an afternoon set aside to visit Koper on my way up from Zadar Croatia, before heading up to Trieste for the night. Beyond that, I'll be driving east the next day to Novi Sad SB, and will cut through Slovenia for a fairly solid chunk, heading by way of Postonja, Cerknica, and Kocevje. I don't have much planned in Slovenia besides a visit to Koper, and regrettably won't have time to visit Ljubljana at this juncture.

As I have it planned now, the Slovenia portion of the trip kind of got caught in the between the Croatian coast part of the trip and the Romania part of the trip - and in those areas I'll be taking my time, but that leaves me just two days to drive from Trieste Italy to Satu Mare Romania via Novi Sad.

I'm a cheap bastard, so plan to avoid A- and H- routes that will require me to get a vignette. My planned route from Croatia through Koper to Italy is pretty straightforward off freeway, and then on the way out east I plan to use 205, 409, 914, 212, 106, 217, 658, 919, and 218.

Unfortunately I won't make it to Austria either, at this point, outside of connecting at the Vienna airport on my way down to Sarajevo.

Just curious - in your travels off the tourist track in Slovenia, have you had issues with the language barrier? Is your combination of French and English sufficient, or do you find that a solid knowledge of Serbo-Croatian or whatever they call their language these days is helpful/necessary?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 01:41:55 AM by corco »
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webfil

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Re: Austria (without kangourous) and Slovenia (never been with the Czechs)
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2016, 01:48:11 AM »

I've got an afternoon set aside to visit Koper on my way up from Zadar Croatia, before heading up to Trieste for the night.

My austrian friends recommended Piran, Portorož or Izola over Koper. My advice is that Koper is charming, but I recommend more time in Trieste.
Quote
I'm a cheap bastard, so plan to avoid A- and H- routes that will require me to get a vignette.
That's okay. You'll get to see much more awesome scenery than on avtocesti. As a comparison, taking the train is for most travels less expensive than the vinjeta : for € 25, you can buy an undated Maribor-Ljubljana return-trip ticket that get you through the country...
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webfil

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Re: Austria (without kangourous) and Slovenia (never been with the Czechs)
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2016, 01:54:08 AM »

Just curious - in your travels off the tourist track in Slovenia, have you had issues with the language barrier? Is your combination of French and English sufficient, or do you find that a solid knowledge of Serbo-Croatian or whatever they call their language these days is helpful/necessary?

I had a handy Slovenian/French phrasebook from Harrap's that I bought for € 5. We went into deep country where no English was spoken so the guide was mandatory (and really, really helpful), but in Maribor and Ljubljana, everyone knows at least a dozen words of English ― enough to communicate. The book is really cool when it comes to reading menus, ordering food, communicating with inn staff, reading and understanding signs. I mean... Those countries are not the US, don't expect anything to be written in English or anyone to speak it. And everyone becomes suddenly pretty happy when you gibber some words in yugoslavic languages ― otherwise I found the Slovenes to be phlegmatic and reserved.

EDIT : You can find the Slovenian/English version of the phrasebook for less than 10 bucks.

In Istria, we spoke mostly italian as we know enough words to make ourselves understood.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 02:01:58 AM by webfil »
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Chris

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Re: Austria (without kangourous) and Slovenia (never been with the Czechs)
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2016, 02:04:54 PM »

Koper has a small historic core, but is surrounded by industrial and commercial areas on all sides. The Slovenian coastline is very short, most tourists go into Istria (Croatia). The Dalmatian coast has spectacular scenery, all the way from Rijeka down to Dubrovnik, but the coastal road is very crowded during the summer.

I've been to Slovenia and generally had no trouble with using English there. It is the most advanced country out of the newer EU countries.

Many tourists from Trieste to Croatia avoid the toll roads as only a few kilometers is tolled and a vignette is seen as too expensive for such a short travel time saving. The vignette is enforced a lot on that corridor near Koper, a large share of all toll infractions are given on H5.

A highlight in terms of road infrastructure in western Slovenia is the Črni Kal Viaduct. It's only 10 kilometers east of Koper.

webfil

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Re: Austria (without kangourous) and Slovenia (never been with the Czechs)
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2016, 02:14:39 PM »

A highlight in terms of road infrastructure in western Slovenia is the Črni Kal Viaduct. It's only 10 kilometers east of Koper.
And visible from quite afar.


Here is depicted the Črni Kal viaduct as seen from Santuario de Montegrisa, north of Trieste.
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corco

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Re: Austria (without kangourous) and Slovenia (never been with the Czechs)
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2016, 02:58:10 PM »

Very cool! I'll have time to add that viaduct to the list (to drive under, still not going to buy a vignette).

I may check out one of those other towns instead of Koper- on this trip I'll be in Split, Dubrovnik, Trogir, and Kotor in addition to Koper, so one of the less touristy ocean communities might be nice to visit instead of another cruise ship stop. Piran looks promising.

I will be driving the entire stretch from Split to Rijeka on the coastal highway, though in late April so it shouldn't be too awful. I've also found a car hire that will let me drive from Igoumenitsa Greece up to Dubrovnik, and will do that on the return part of the trip (originating in Sarajevo).





 


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