Saturday 28 July 2012

Now in our 15th country

Phew-we’ve had a manic few days, making progress on our route!

 After Minsk we headed straight into Ukraine, taking just 4 hours at the border this time however the quicker border was made up for by slightly shoutier guards. Unfortunately the insurance buying place was closed so we had our first night camped in the car, while we waited for the hut to open in the morning. Insurance bought we headed into Kiev. The Ukrainian roads we’re slightly less pot holey compare to Belarus however, they drive like Maniacs. Overtaking into oncoming traffic is common place; on several occasions we thought we were about to witness a serious road traffic accident. For all the mental driving Kiev is a fantastic city, one which we’d all like to go back to. The historic centre was particularly pretty, unfortunately we were too busy attempting to navigate to take many pictures.

The next day we carried on through Ukraine, it’s really quite a big place and seems to be quite affluent in many areas. As night fell we tried to find a wild camp spot, as soon as we started to pitch the tent we heard dogs barking, and after a while saw a flash light searching for us. We quickly embraced the brave tradition of running away. After another uncomfortable night we resolved to find camp spots earlier.

The Russian border was the order for the next day. We had researched this the day before to find a previous team had been stuck there for 99 hours! We approached to border with trepidation, and were pleasantly surprised to be entering Russia within 2 hours. That night we found a nice early camp spot by a river somewhere in Russia.

 As we drive further east navigating by compass is becoming more necessary due to the sheer lack on road signs and the fact that Cyrillic is difficult to read at driving speed. We are also pleased and a bit surprised to report that so far we have not met any corrupt officials:  Rory has been stopped by the police who after checking the paperwork was correct allowed us to continue.  Also the weather is hot, really hot, we got so sweaty that tonight we have caved in and are staying in a hotel in Astrakhan, to get showers and air conditioning. In doing so we had the pleasant surprise of meeting two other teams staying in same hotel (Red Dog Racing and To Infinity and Baatar), these are the first other ralliers we’ve met since Goodwood, so it‘s been nice to catch-up and swap stories.

 Tomorrow we attempt the Kazakhstan border…


  1. So jealous... Keep up the blogging.


  2. Outstanding tan lines, Rach! Good luck in Central Asia :-)

    Chris M

  3. Have you guys run into Josh on the Honda scooter (Czech plates P874E ). He lost his and is not updating his locations or blog. If you see him tell him to get his act together and contact his friends and family.

    Aaron, Kate, his Dad, and the rest of his family are waiting.

  4. Keep up the blogging, you're doing great !!

    Sue & Richard

  5. Message to Aaron Sheldon - Hope your son has been in touch by now, but this team are absolutely fine, but have been unable to get internet or phone connection for a good week until yesterday, Saturday 4th Aug. They expect similar problems for the next 7-14 days. So hang on in there, and I am keeping fingers crossed. Frances, one of the mums.