Vrboska is getting really busy this summer, and on an August weekend, it can be rather difficult to find anywhere to put the car. In the normal way, there’s wide open space in the pjaca next to the church, and all of us who live around here have plenty of choice. Ah, the heady days of summer. Driving back from a concert in Hvar late Saturday night, we found the only place left was our neighbour’s usual spot. Oh dear, that’s going to make us popular!
So where do all these visitors come from? On our last trip up to Zagreb, we entertained ourselves on the long drive by seeing how many different country plates we could identify. Well, it makes a change from playing “10 things beginning with…”, though that can be distinctly challenging in the bilingual version! Anyway, back to where all the summer traffic comes from – we counted 30 countries, including those we saw in Zagreb and on the way south again.
We noticed a few little quirks, for example on the way north, most of the foreigners came from Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Are the school holidays earlier there? For these were people already on their way home. Good decision! We didn’t see the vast hoards of Slovenes and Hungarians until we were on the way south again. The Poles all seem to drive big posh expensive cars, while the visitors from the Nordic countries tend to trail something behind, like a caravan or a boat.
In amongst the obvious ones were a few tricky country codes that we had to look up, particularly those from outside the EU with a different format. It’s not easy peering intently at a car’s number plate as you overtake! So we learned that LV = Latvia, LT = Lithuania, UA = Ukraine, and our prize for the longest-distance drive is (ta-dah!) KZ = Kazakhstan! If you assume they set out from the capital city, Astana, that’s a journey of 5283 km or 2 days and 15 hours! Now, that’s pretty impressive!
The absolute longest distance was a New York registered car we saw on the road to Hvar. Google maps refused to offer me any kind of driving estimate for that journey, so I resorted to calculating port-to-port for a cargo vessel – 7071 km = 5172 nautical miles, which at 24 knots would be 9 days at sea.
For those interested, I’m including the full table below, with my estimates of how far these folks drove, and how long it took them. I used Google maps, and had to force it to assume no ferries for Italy or Spain, which would have shortened their journeys considerably. But since we saw these cars on the motorway, they clearly didn’t take the sea crossing to Split. I did, however, allow the GB car to take the ferry (or the tunnel)!
Here’s the list, in order of distance via road from their capital cities to Split, and Google’s estimate of traffic time, obviously different times of day would vary. Notice that the Macedonian must have had a particularly slow and winding road compared to, say, the Slovakian or Serbian who drove longer distances in much less time.
|Code||Country||Capital||Km to Split||Hrs||Mins|
|BiH||Bosnia I Herzegovina||Sarajevo||244||4||5|
|SRB||Serbia||Belgrade||799||7||35||shortest dist = 536 = 7hr 49min|
|USA||United States America||New York||7071||216||5172 nm at 24 kn = 9 days at sea|
Update: I originally had London at 1246, but had failed to notice that was miles, not kilometres for journeys starting in the UK. Thank you Google Maps!
Now, we didn’t actually take photos of all the number plates, some of those examples are courtesy of Wikipedia, which was also a handy reference for decoding the various country codes.
Wikipedia: International vehicle registration codes