Home to Prague

Premošten, Croatia © Ricky Yates

When I wrote my first blog post about travelling to Asia and back which I posted on 30th October 2009, three days after our return to Prague, I promised to write about our trip ‘over the next few weeks…….’ As you can see, I was somewhat optimistic – it has taken me just over two months rather than a few weeks! But here on the last day of 2009 is my twenty-first and last post about our journey of 4,500 miles/7,200 kilometres, through twelve countries over a period of twenty-three days. Once this is posted, I shall return to writing about Church and expat life in Prague, something I’ve only done twice in the last two months on my blog.

We explored Trogir in the bright morning sunshine of Sunday 25th October before setting out to drive some serious kilometres in order to complete the journey home to Prague in two days. Initially, we continued driving along the main coastal highway reaching Premošten, the furthest south we had travelled in Croatia during our July holiday. Then it was on to nearby Šibenik where we left the coastal highway for the nearby motorway which runs parallel to the coast but some distance further inland. We rejoined the coastal highway north of Zadar where the motorway heads off further inland towards Zagreb.

After lunch, we drove further up the Croatian coastal highway with splendid views across to the offshore islands of Pag, Rab, and Krk. Then it was back onto another motorway which took us around the port city of Rijeka and on into the hills and to the Croatia – Slovenia border.

On the Slovenian side, we were most surprised to be waved across the border without even a cursory look at our passports bearing in mind this is the border of the Schengen area. The whole idea of the Schengen agreement is that thorough checks are carried out as people enter the Schengen area so that no checks need to be made at borders within the area. But if checks aren’t carried out at the border…….! Clearly we looked middle-aged and non-threatening!

We were only in Slovenia, (country number ten on our travels), for a relatively short time before we entered country number eleven, Italy. Here we headed downhill back to the Adriatic coast and into the city of Trieste where we stayed overnight.

The following day, we finally had to bid farewell to the sea as we headed northwards inland towards the Alps. One of the few disadvantages of living in Prague is that it is so far from the sea! We travelled via the Italian autostrade past Udine and up into the mountains to the Austrian border. Here we bought our final vignette, this time for the Austrian autobahnen. We then drove past Villach, Salzburg and Linz right across Austria, eventually reaching the small town of Freistadt where we had stayed on the first night of our journey to Croatia in July 2009 and where we stayed once more on the last night of our journey to Asia and back. Early the following afternoon, Tuesday 27th October, we arrived safely back at our Chaplaincy flat in Prague.

It was a most wonderful trip and our only regret is the number of places we had to drive by without the time to explore them. Looking back, on a few days, we were in the car for a bit longer than we would have liked to have been. I must admit to have forgotten how big Turkey is! But needing to attend the Synod meeting in Izmir, it was a travel opportunity not to be missed. In particular, it was fascinating for me to re-visit places nearly thirty-five years after my first visit and for Sybille to see them for the first time.

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