2016-02-08_21-02-57

Tracking Us (via SMSTravelMap)

Sending back our location is proving to be a bit of a dilemma. We could spend hundreds of pounds for a satellite tracking system like the awesome DeLorme inReach Explorer, but we don’t want to blow our budget. Mobile data is going to be both sketchy and extremely expensive in most of the countries we’re travelling through, so when we stumbled across the awesome SMS Travel Map website (Click Here), it looked to be just what we[…]

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Let the Visa Paperwork Commence!

Visa Number 1: Uzbekistan! Photocopying every page of my passport was somewhat time consuming! Into the post it goes tomorrow – fingers crossed all goes smoothly! We’re applying for the Uzbekistan visa early, as we need this one to apply for our Turkmenistan transit visa, to show proof of our onward travel. Total cost of the Visa: £78

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Bertha’s Passed the MOT!

I’m amazed. Flabbergasted in fact! Bertha has flown through her MOT with only a couple of advisories on a bald tyre, a puncture, and a broken rear view mirror (blame Wayne!) Sadly the MOT doesn’t look at important things like the reliability of the engine, gearbox or clutch – but hey – what could possibly go wrong!

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Meet Bertha

Meet Bertha our esteemed chariot, pulled by all of 45 little Shetland ponies who’s going to deliver us safely to Mongolia (and hopefully back again!) Named after one one of the following – you choose! Her service history is non-existent – the service book has no stamps and apart from the current MOT, there was no paperwork – dodgy! 0-60 time is measured in minutes, and anything over 70mph definitely involves brown pants. So a perfect[…]

Sonderzugreise "Zarengold"
                      Peking - Moskau
                      Zarengold-Sonderzug - Ulan Ude

Ulan-Ude

The town was founded in 1666, and due to its location on trade routes between Russia, China and Mongolia it developed into a prosperous trading town. Ulan Ude is an important commercial and industrial center of Eastern Siberia, located on the 5640th kilometer of the Trans-Siberian railway. It is the capital of Buryatia republic that is a home for Buryat, Evenk and Russian people. The city itself has a distinct Asian-like feel, perhaps because of[…]

ulaanbattor

Ulaanbaatar

Ulaan-baatar is the capital and the largest city of Mongolia. A federal municipality, the city is not part of any province, and its population as of 2014 was over 1.3 million. Located in north central Mongolia, the city lies at an elevation of about 1,310 metres (4,300 ft) in a valley on the Tuul River. It is the cultural, industrial, and financial heart of the country. It is the centre of Mongolia’s road network, and[…]

almaty

Almaty

Almaty, formerly known as Alma-Ata and Verny, is the largest city in Kazakhstan, with a population of 1,552,349 people, consisting the 9% of the country’s total population. Almaty is considered a World City with a Beta classification according to GaWC. It served as capital of the Kazakh state in its various forms from 1929 to 1997, under influence of the former Soviet Union and its appointees.[3] Alma-Ata was the host city for a 1978 international[…]

bishkek

Bishkek

Bishkek (in Kyrgyz and Russian: Бишкéк), formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan. Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan. According to the post-Soviet ideology, the name is thought to derive from a Kyrgyz word for a churn used to make fermented mare’s milk (kumis),[…]

pamir

Pamir Highway

One of the highlights of the trip! The historical Pamir Highway, officially called M41, is an excellent challenge for a 4×4 adventure travelers. Most of the road is paved, except for the mountain passes, and the length of the road is 1,252 kilometers between Osh and Dushanbe, going through the Pamir Mountains. The road is heavily damaged in places by erosion, earthquakes, landslides, and avalanches. Most of the Pamir Highway is located in Tajikistan, a country[…]

Dushanbe

Dushanbe

Dushanbe (Tajik: Душанбе, Persian: دوشنبه‎‎) is the capital and largest city of Tajikistan. Dushanbe means Monday in the Persian language. It was so named because it grew from a village that originally had a popular market on Mondays. Until 1929, the city was known in Russian as Dyushambe (Russian: Дюшамбе), and from 1929 to 1961 as Stalinabad (Tajik: Сталинобод, Persian: استالین‌آباد‎‎). As of 2014, Dushanbe has a population of 778,500.

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Samarkand & Bukhara

Samarkand traditionally was the second-largest city in Uzbekistan and the capital of Samarqand Region. It is now the nation’s third largest, after fast-growing Namangan in the Ferghana Valley. The city is most noted for its central position on the Silk Road between China and the West, and for being an Islamic centre for scholarly study. In the 14th century it became the capital of the empire of Timur (Tamerlane) and is the site of his[…]

turkmenibat

Turkmenabat

Lying on the banks of the mighty Amu-Darya, between the Karakum desert and the fertile plains of Uzbekistan, sprawling Turkmenabat sits at a crossroads of cultures. The town itself feels as if it’s in the geographic centre of nowhere, yet after the mind-numbing drive through the desert, it’s something of a surprise to find such a large city appear out of the sand. The Silk Road city of Amul prospered here until its destruction by[…]

Merv

Merv

Merv was a major oasis-city in Central Asia, on the historical Silk Road, located near today’s Mary in Turkmenistan. Several cities have existed on this site, which is significant for the interchange of culture and politics at a site of major strategic value. It is claimed that Merv was briefly the largest city in the world in the 12th century.[1] The site of ancient Merv has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Darvasa

Darvaza

The Door to Hell (also known as the Gates to Hell, the Crater of Fire) is a natural gas field in Derweze, Turkmenistan, that collapsed into an underground cavern in 1971, becoming a natural gas crater. Geologists set it on fire to prevent the spread of deadly methane gas, and it has been burning continuously since then. The diameter of the crater is 69 m, and its depth is 30 m.[1] The crater is a[…]