Above a map of our Route
14 Countries. Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ucraine, Moldova, Romania
Below a montage of our experiences:
Preparing the car at Alessio House Milan, Italy (Above). “Where the hell do you guys think you are going…. Alaska?” a bystander asked. “No”, we replied, “Mongolia”
First Stop: Pirelli factory in Izmit, (Turkey), where Alessio hooked us up with his generous Pirelli employers who provided us with 4 custom-made double-threaded CEAT tyres. Indestructible… we never had a puncture!
Justine relaxing on a Black Sea Beach, Turkey (Above)
Uncovered Manhole on a poorly lit Street in Bantumi, Georgia (Above). Thankfully we have our “Tyre-man” Alessio. Diagnosis: Busted Rim but our double thread Pirelli Tyres survived….. magic!
After a Nightmarish ferry ride crossing the Caspian Sea we are finally in Kazakhstan (Above)
Camel-crossing, Kazakhstan (Above)
On occasion we did not see eye-to-eye with Justine
“Need Petrol….? Sure? the price per gallon is really good in Kazakhstan” (Above)
Fill her up!
plenty of driving… day and night
Just because there is no roads (Above), doesn’t mean you can’t have proper signposts… Besides: 1) Could never drive at 50 km/hour on that road 2) Did not see another car all day so chances of overtaking anybody in those 300m are real slim
After hundreds of miles of horrible desert roads, and a stressful border crossing, finally we reach the walls of Khiva, Uzbekistan (Above).
Uzbekistan is a culturally rich country. Most of the old imperial cities were main stops on the Silk Route. Although a developing country with an incredibly diverse population, all people we encountered were very warm and friendly
Tamerlane the Great. Khiva, Uzbekistan
A Carpet Market in Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Late night tour of Samarkand, Uzbekistan (Above). For a small “bakshish” museum night watchmen are happy to give you a tour
Finally Kyrgyzstan! (Above)
There go our CV Joints!!! Benjamin (Above) is reassuring Justine (in Japanese) that the drunk mechanic will not hurt her
Kyrgyzstan (Above) really is a beautiful country….
…. I really mean it.
… and Kyrgyz people are really friendly and hospitable.
They are always happy to offer you a hot meal in their Yurt and hear about your adventures! The company is always very pleasurable, especially considering we don’t speak the same language. The fermented horse milk and the Mutton with noodles is slightly less so, but it would be impolite to refuse.
A final group photo (Above), before hitting the road
People in Kyrgyzstan wear fancy hats
… so do the Children… And of course visitors must comply
Finally reached our Easternmost point at Karakol on the shores of Lake Issyk-kul, Kyrgysztan (Above). 100km from the Chinese border… Well deserved stretch after approx 10,000km drive from Milan.
The Ceremony of the Flag, Karakol, Kyrgyzstan (Above). Short drive for Justine, one giant leap for the drivers
Kyrgyzstan vs. Italy Soccer Friendly. Venue held on the beaches on Lake Issy-Kul (Above). Final Score 6-7. Italians may have the skill, but the Kyrgyz were better trained for beach soccer at 5,300 feet.
Heading back West we had the great pleasure of driving under the infinite skies of the Kazakh Steppes
who wants a smooch?