July 27, 2013

A bag full of experiences

Samara – Chelyabinsk – Astana (24-27/07/13):

On Wednesday I resumed my journey through mother Russia (who as you know I met the day before in Mamayev Kurgan), and today I finally made it to Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, from where I’ll attempt my Mongolian conquer. These last few days have been full of new experiences that I’ll treasure for a long time

  • The joy of being back in the race and happiness of being able to see new places and find myself in odd and colourful situations (if you liked my encounters with 112 or the border controls you would have loved my attempts to communicate with Russian and Kazakh speaking only hotel and roadside restaurant staff)

  • The beauty of nature that some times offers formidable landscapes and sunsets, and others shows its anger and fierce (on Thursday it rained and hailed so hard that traffic fully stopped in the middle of the highway and cars drove to the sides and sought cover under bus stops and trees

  • The kindness of people I’ve met (from my good friend Nicolas who texts me daily to see if the car is working fine, to a guy drove 5km with me to show me the way to the highway) and broad sense of safety. Despite all the warnings and tales of horror I have not yet been stopped once by the police or had a bad experience in the borders, should I ask for my money back?

  • The thrill of overtaking with the steering wheel on the wrong side (a true Russian roulette) and driving “off road” in the roads that lead to Astana. Did I say Moldovan roads were bad?, nothing compared with kilometres and kilometres of roads under construction full of potholes, bumps, stones, sharp twists… all of course in pitch black conditions and, as the song would sing, “dust in the wind”

  • Rediscovering the pleasure of a warm coffee or comfortable bed after a long, long, long journey (yesterday I drove 16h+)

Thank you very much to family and friends for the daily messages of support and love, it’s good to be able to share this adventure with you all.

And now off to Russia (again) and then Mongolia where I’ll most likely not have any internet connection until I make it to Ulaanbaatar. All the best for the week and see you soon!

Russia reminds me of Scotland
Looks like rain is coming
After the storm, double rainbow!
Roadside hotel…
…with sexy bedroom
A king’s breakfast
Should I stay or should I go?
Lesson: bite me in the butt and you’ll die!
Sunset in Kazakhstan
Rally driving in a (supposedly) main road

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