Pushing in the Snow
As I mentioned in the ‘Croatia’ post, I was there in the Autumn time which is a good time of the year to be there if you are not looking to be lying on a beach or getting a tan. There are less crowds and everything is more relaxed and easy going. We flew into Zadar and then made our way to the super Plitvice National Park. After spending 3-4hrs walking the full circuit of the Upper Lakes of Plitvice NP we decided we weren’t going to spend the night after all and as we had a car (great idea again if there are two or more of you) we decided to make the most of the evening by driving the 2hrs or so towards the Istria Peninsula to give ourselves more time there. As we made our way onto the motorway the snow which had been gently falling in the mountains began to get worse. This was no problem as the roads were quite but as the snow got worse and it had got to the stage where there was 2inches of it in the hard shoulder and lines of the tyres were now appearing on the road, I knew we were going to be lucky not to run into some sort of trouble. Needless to say soon after the traffic had come to a standstill on the motorway and as the traffic was now not moving it gave permission to the blizzard of snow to pile up on the motorway. This was on a small but long incline and cars as well as trucks could now not get any grip and hence the traffic jam. There was one semi moving lane with other cars pulled in, or abandoned, in the slow (now stopped) lane to fix their chains or to wait for the fire truck that had now arrived, to pull them. Some cars who had chains were going anywhere to make ground, on the grass, in the hard shoulder and weaving in and out as if it was a computer game.
In our little car we were able to move bit by bit and although slipping we were just about able to keep moving. After about an hour of this we were nearing the end of the jam and the top of the hill was in site. Just about now the incline got a little steeper and I had lost the car in-front of me so I was now the lead driver of the convoy of cars with a local bus behind me and despite my best efforts we were going nowhere. The bus driver was letting us know he was impatient and after seeing hundreds of men standing outside their stationary cars we were determined we weren’t going to be stuck in the middle of nowhere for the night. Me, being ever so chivalrous, asked my girlfriend to get out of the car and push in the snow! Now I was driving so I couldn’t get out! No honestly, I couldn’t!
So in the middle of a motorway in the middle of Croatia, high in the mountains, I was comfy and warm in the driver’s seat while my girlfriend was pushing me and our car in the snow while angry drivers looked on. Whether it was her super strength or the reduction in weight we will never know but that little difference got us from almost zero up to a respectable 6-8km/hr and with a run and a jump she got back in and 2minutes later we were at the top of the hill and as they say it was all downhill from there!
(That night we asked a local in the hotel do people not prepare their tyres for the snow at this time of year as it snows around now every year. She agreed that yes it happens every year so they are not surprised when it comes but ‘no they do not prepare for the snow’!)