Looking Down On Bellagio, Italy

Another four hundred mile run, this time in temperatures in the mid thirty degrees centigrade. Bridget showed signs of getting too hot, but continued anyway until I decided to give her a forty-five minute break. We have left Poland and made our way down to Brno in the Czech Republic. I wasn’t sure how to pronounce Brno and so asked a local. It is pronounced just the way it looks (know what I mean ‘arry).

This is Bridget’s fiftieth unique country that she has visited. Multiple visits such as those to France, Belgium, Italy, Turkey, etc., only count as one each, as does the United Kingdom, not four separate countries. The total mileage covering those countries has been 65,000, but I have no idea how much petrol she has consumed. As a celebration I have today given her a wash, the second since leaving the UK on this run. Not a penny spared.

I have also adjusted the rear brakes as I suspect she has been using only the front discs for a while. We have covered almost six thousand miles this trip and I haven’t once had to touch the usual carburettors adjustments or the timing. In fact other than repairing the damaged soft-top and the minor electrical problems created by the rebuild, nothing has required attention. I, on the other hand, do. With the top down and eight hours driving in the sun I’m burnt, again. I should know better, but the temperature seems so perfect while we’re travelling I tend to forget until the evening. My only other excuse is that my suntan lotion was one of the items stolen in Gothenburg.

I’m afraid I can’t tell you much about Brno as, after washing Bridget and adjusting her brakes this morning, I have been slumped in a chair on the veranda supping beer. I can tell you that there is an air museum here, because I saw it yesterday beside the road as we drove into town. There was a line of six MIG21s and a couple of helicopters that I couldn’t see clearly, but may have been HC-102s. There is also the MotoGP Grand Prix track on the outskirts of town and The Moravian Karst complex. The Moravian Karst is a series of 1100 caves, caverns and gorges.

For my part the only discovery I can claim to have made is a small (20 room) family owned hotel, that is one of those rare gems that exist, but usually you cannot afford. The Park Hotel was a private residence in what was a very wealthy area of the city in the late nineteenth century. It was renovated and turned into a hotel in 1992. Fortunately, being out of season in this part of the Republic, the cost of a room with breakfast was under £60.00. Breakfast was not one of these semi-cold buffets of chemical fruit juice and rubber eggs, found in so many hotels currently, but a cooked to order breakfast. There was also a range of genuine homemade preserves with the marmalade being a real speciality. Such gems are becoming almost extinct.

I am definitely getting older as I am finding the heat is causing my whole body to ache at the end of the day. Having rested in Brno, we struck out for somewhere in a southerly direction. Once again the temperature was in the mid-thirties but the roads were good and the scenery getting better with every mile. We crossed Austria, skirting Vienna and Graz and continuing into Slovenia.

Some 15 miles north of Maribor we pulled into a service area to allow Bridget to get her breath back, I was OK, and there I spied a Honda car all done out ‘rally style’. Normally I would ignore this, but something drew me to take a closer look. As I approached I realise there were several cars with stickers, etc. and realised that it must be some sort of motor event. I was however surprised to see that all the registrations were British. There was a crowd of youngsters, that is ones aged around 20 years old, all resting on the grass area. I approached and asked what it was all about and met the ‘next generation’ gypsies.

They are all university students rising to the challenge to buy a car for under £500 and drive from Canterbury to Bratislava for charity. Their chosen charity is Dementia UK; looking after my future, I thought! They have raised about £12,000 so far and I ask you to support them if you can. Their website is available on http://studentadventures.co.uk/adventures/bratislava_or_bust . A worthy cause and good luck to them all.

Bridget and I continued on to Maribor and found a pleasant little hotel at the bottom of the local ski slope. As there is no snow currently I have decided that tomorrow I will try to buy a tin tray, like the one mother used to have, and I shall take on the slope on my tin toboggan. Watch this space.


  • Rosemary and Peter

    Hi Roy
    Pleased to hear you are still working your way closer to your favourite country…home o your favourite cousin !!!
    Should you head for Zagreb we should be pleased to pass you the phone number of a young(mid 30’s) lass who previously worked for us and with whom we still keep in regular touch.
    Stay safe.
    Love Rose and Peter

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