Commercial repatriation service from UK to Slovakia No 1

It was a very stressful time for everyone. At the mid of March 2020, when all flights, train and coach services have been suspended across whole Europe, there was still a lot of Slovak citizens in the UK who needed to travel to their country to help their families in that cruel time.

They asked me – as a travel and transport specialist – for any possible solution to help to go. Finally, after many hours I did spend on the internet and the phone with staff at the Ministry of foreign affairs of the Czech Republic we found a solution: there was the only way to go to Slovakia: by taxi. And because the United Kingdom has been recognized as a country with a very high level of the citizens infected by the Covid-19, both countries on the planned way, the Czech Republic and Slovakia banned travellers from the UK to go through their countries for direct transit – there was a compulsory 14 days quarantine for everyone who crosses the border.

It was a time for closer co-operation between my company and private hire operator from the Czech Republic to move forward with my plan: I will drive to closest place on the cross-border between Germany and the Czech Republic and then colleague from the Czech Republic will continue through the Czech Republic to Slovakia. Complicated, yes, but possible.

It was last time I have seen other cars at Dover ferry port. After that, I saw only lorries…

So my very first commercial repatriation service was from Bournemouth via Reading (+1 passengers), London (+3 passengers), Dover, France, Belgium and Germany to the very small village in Germany, Reißigmühle, just 200 yards away from cross-border.

In Dover, we meet a few cars at the car park before boarding to the ferry – but not too much as usual. A break on the ferry was more than welcomed, I had still a long way to drive so the rest was very nice.

And I did enjoy every mile on the highways across Europe – no lorries, no cars just us and highway. Nice clean and fast ride…

And finally, we arrived at the village of Reißigmühle. After 15 hours on the road. Passengers still had a long way to go, but they went through the most critical point: the border with the Czech Republic.

Building on the background is a German border office – easily accessible, not so far from last possible parking place…

So, what about me?

In the first place I had only one very important thing to do: find the petrol station, computer in the car said I can drive last 30 miles only. I know, it was a stupid thing I did: all the journey I tried to look like professional, behave like professional so I should stop at petrol station early – but I was sure it will be OK to find the petrol station there. And actually, it would be OK, just I did not realise that I will be middle of nowhere, so chance to find a petrol station around? Sci-Fi.

I did find a small, local petrol station just 3 miles away (Bft-Tankstelle Öl Heimburger) but I was in doubt if that will be opened late afternoon – lucky me, it was 24/7, an unattended forecourt with card payment only. I was worried a bit about diesel quality, I shouldn’t be: I did fill the tank up (70 litres) and drove without any refuelling to Dover!

Well, next I did spend a few hours sleeping in the car (-2 Celsius overnight…), then, the next morning, I was on my way back to the UK.  I got a big shock when arrived at Dunkirk ferry post: see the picture, just me, lorries and nobody else. Very unusual!

Never seen this before: just me and lorries!

Finally, I arrived back to Bournemouth after 1 and a half-day. Tired, but happy I could help others. And what was more important: I did find a way how to escape from “zero” jobs to “something” and get some cash to pay company bills.

Details:

Journey date: 25/3/2020 outbound, 26/3/2020 inbound

Service type: Private Hire – Commercial repatriation service, full-managed trip, journey price £900

Passengers: 4

Miles drove in total: 1724

Time on the road: 31 (rest time +8)

Traceroute: Bournemouth – Reading – London – Dover – Dunkirk – Belgium – Netherlands – Germany (Reißigmühle)