For Volvoman - SjB {P}
>>> Hi SJB - my other half is from the Slovak Republic and I've often wondered about driving there for a holiday with her and the kids but it seems a bit daunting. Which part of the CR do you travel to, how long does it take and what do you think about
the journey overall ? <<<

Right over the far side, nearest main city being Ostrava.

As you know from the thread you responded to, for the last three years we have used our Vectra GSi 2.5 Estate. Well, from the last trip we did, I just found the voice memo on my mobile phone from when I dictated the trip computer final figures on arriving back home. Sad I know, but here they are: 29.9 MPG, 88.6 gallons of petrol, 50.1 MPH average speed, 2648.9 miles. These figures include two days pottering around Salzburg and surrounding mountains on the outbound leg.

We leave home in Bucks at 04:00am?ish for a 07:00am?ish Eurotunnel departure, and normally make the Austrian border by dusk. This is driving at the speed limit where this is a speed limit, less in heavy traffic, and between 90 and 120 MPH where there is neither and traffic conditions allow. Although I had the car flat out several times in each of the journeys done so far, I don?t tend to cruise above 120MPH because (a) more frequent fuel stops negate any time saved, (b) the concentration to do it safely is immense, and very tiring, (c) cruising in this speed range is easy to go with the flow. As a lesson to me during the first trip, with 140+ MPH on the clock, I had an old boy in a diesel Passat doing all of about 60 pull out from the inside lane, across the otherwise empty middle lane, in to the outside lane, and back again, whilst he scrabbled for something in his glove box. Boy were those brakes impressive! Lesson learned. Drive at warp speed on totally empty roads, not nearly empty roads. It must also be said that some Autobahns are now in an appalling (okay, 70 years old?!) state, so there are plenty of road works at the moment. Round cities like Munich you also have M25 equivalent stretches of crawling in heavy traffic. So, it is not all free flowing, though this is more often the case than in the UK.

The last time we went, we actually went to the Czech Republic via the Slovak Republic, crossing the border from Austria near Vienna, I recall. For variety, we tend to come back by driving away from the UK in to Poland, up into what was East Germany, past Dresden, then straight across Germany to Luxembourg, Belgium, France, and home. Difference is about 90 minutes driving time (quicker via Poland for us, but not for you I suspect from Slovak Republic). Either drive is great fun, with a sense of adventure. We tend to pit stop a good five times to relax and unwind, which probably adds well over an hour on top of what you would do if only stopping for fuel, but what?s an hour? Much better to relax and enjoy. Doing this, coming back we get to Brussels in one leg, which takes 12.5-13 hours each time, and during which we cover about 850 miles. That's still a pretty impressive 65MPH AVERAGE speed, including the pit stops.

Oh yes, when crossing in to SR, CR, or Poland, you will probably see queues and queues of trucks. Don?t join the queue. Drive past. The car queue (if there is one) will be MUCH further down the road. The truckers are the victims of bureaucracy that will result in them taking several days to reach the checkpoint, let alone cross it! At the Mikulov crossing the first time we went, their queue was a good five miles (of solid parked trucks, with drivers sat at tables playing cards!) whereas ours was just one car in front of us!

Do it anyway.
It?s great fun.
For Volvoman - volvoman
Thanks for that SJB. My other 'arf comes from Central Slovakia and both times I've been there we flew to Vienna and got a coach to Bratislava. For some reason flying direct to Slovakia is very difficult and very expensive. Once there we went to her home town of Banska Bystrica once direct by coach and on the other occasion via the Tatras Mountains which we travelled to by train (surprisingly nice) and went on bus coach after a few days sightseeing. Beautiful country in places and soooooo cheap ! Even thought tentatively about buying somewhere out there as an investment and as a holiday home but can't help worrying about all the beaurocracy. Do you have somehwere in CR or know anyone who has done so ?

Not many cars there either (other than in the big towns) but the drivers there only seem to stop when they've either broken down, run out of petrol, hit something else or arrived where they're going !

ps - good advice about the border crossings, we saw very long queues of lorries every time we crossed and the coaches weren't much better either ! Regards
For Volvoman - SjB {P}
No worries.
Hope it was useful.

Can't recall from previous posts what you drive, but we hope to stretch the legs of our new V70 2.4T later in the spring. If the impressions of 550 miles covered so far is anything to go by, it will be just as capable as the GSi at compressing distance comfortably. Can't wait! :-) I really can't believe how a 2.4 litre petrol engine, even with a light pressure turbo, can run such high gearing (70MPH/2400RPM) and STILL pull like a good'un from legal speeds with the mearest whiff of throttle. Temptation got the better of me, and when fully warmed through, it had the first pedal to the metal poke to 5000RPM in third gear on the way home today. What a gorgeous Quattroesque growl, and it was pulling like a train before even hitting 2000RPM!

Funny you should mention buying somewhere... I am investigating the same thing, especially with CR about to join the EU. So far, it seems pretty beauracratic for me as a 'foreigner', so I wonder if it would be better to buy in the missus's name.

For Volvoman - volvoman
We're on the same wavelength then SJB but based on the experience my grandmother in law had buying her flat in SR I'm quite daunted. However not very much buys you a beautiful place in the centre of a beautiful town full of beautiful people and beautiful restaurants where you can eat well and drink all night for peanuts. Not that I condone that sort of behaviour you understand ;-)

Ps at presetnt I have a 940 se turbo estate which is plenty fast enough for me but could be on the way to the scrap heap sadly - we'll have to wait for the MOT next month !

Value my car