Never say never – a golden rule for everyone. As the world went into the deep changes following Covid-19 outbreak, I got a mind that repatriation services could be a good replacement for a while – it was not about profit, it was about survival. So after two trips to Germany, I took a small rest, worked for COOP Sandbanks and drove for Just Eat and did wait what next will happen.
And actually, it wasn’t that bad as we can think… First two jobs (here & here) from the UK to Germany saved company for a few weeks, I got cash to pay bills on time. But what about April, May, June? The big question on the table! So I decided to continue with these trips as long as possible.
And I did not wait so long: on the 9th of April, I have got a call from Slovakia (heh?). There was a lady, mum, who has been scarred as her daughter has been stuck in the UK – Plymouth, where the young lady studied local UNI, and they had no chance how to take her back to Slovakia. So she would make a booking from the Plymouth to Bratislava and she said: “I’m happy to pay ride by myself if you will have no other passengers”. Haha, nothing can be easy like this – I got all seats occupied within one afternoon. Nice, but…
As a pandemic disease of Covid-19 spread across whole Europe, some countries applied strong rules for citizens how to go back – and this exactly happened in the Czech Republic and Slovakia: governments of both countries disallowed any kind of transit through their countries. Logical mind but how to resolve booking request made by unhappy mum? So I was again about to switch my ‘easy job’ into ‘fully-managed trip’: must find an alternative route through Europe to the cross-border between Austria and Slovakia – because only Austria allowed transit throughout Austria for Slovakia citizens, with strict rules (non-stop ride). And then I have to manage rest of the trip through Austria to the border with Slovakia. Somehow.
The biggest issue was how to find a private hire company in Austria to ensure the rest of the journey as I have had no permission to drive through Austria. The only option was to use social media to find some service providers and check their reputation on Trustpilot or other business sources. Finally, I did find a family-running company from Vienna, spoke with the owner and got a deal.
Next step was itinerary completion. And for that time it was a bit complicated: from Bournemouth to Plymouth to pick-up young lady, then from Plymouth to Beaconsfield services at M40 to pick-up other passengers and continue to Dover. Not that bad. Just the mileage was horrific: 470 miles!
So the most important thing was to arrange few tea-breaks on the journey to keep me relaxed and in good condition. So first, 1-hour break was at Beaconsfield services and next one at Dover ferry port, nearly two hours break before we have been boarded on the ferry.
Usually, when I am driving to Europe, the journey is traced slightly to the North of Germany, but in this case, I was about to see something new: the Southern direction. A few coffee breaks kept all of us on the good mind, we did listen to audio-books, discovered the Bavarian region in South Germany. And then, as a benefit, we saw something extraordinary. Something, we never have seen before. Something that never will be forgotten…
When you driving up to hills, move over the horizon and see something like this, you can only say WOW!
This monumental view of the Tyrol Alpen has like a notification that we are not so far from the final destination, Freilassing.
Freilassing is a small city, located on the cross-border between Germany and Austria. The cross-border is lined-up by the small river, Saalach and just five miles (or so…) away from Salzburg. But before our arrival to the point of the cross-border, there was another one funny moment: I had no clue there are two cross-border points between Germany and Austria: one located on the highway A8/A1 and second on the local road B304. We were about to drive to the small cross-border on the road B304, but Google Drive navigated us to the cross-border on the highway. If I were been drove through highway cross-border point, I would have to stay 14 days in quarantine in Austria (as there is no chance to u-turn back to Germany on the highway…)!
An, to be honest, I was in doubt, still thought in my mind “damn, we should leave the highway already, the last few miles we should spend on the local road, so what’s wrong?”… Fortunately, there was the very last exit before highway cross-border, we used this one to leave A8 highway to finish our journey in compliance with the itinerary.
So after 20 hours in the car, we arrived at the local cross-border at Freilassing. Passengers, they passed border on foot and continue to the Bratislava.
And me, I was about to drive back home. Got 6 hours break in Freilassing, where I did enjoy McDonald’s burger after 1 and a half month, then drove to Dunkirk, Dover and Bournemouth.
And frankly: I did sleep next 12 hours when arrived home and took the shower, but I was happy – I did an excellent job.