Friday, 30 March 2007

Ze Route!

We had our first proper planning session yesterday. First order of the day was picking a route. This means we can now proudly present the route we'll (probably) be taking:

Part 1: England, France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic

Not much choice here. If we want to be in Prague for the party, we simply have to head straight there and hope our car doesn't fail us this early in the journey. This should also be the easiest part of the trip. Good roads, familiar terrain, no need for visas and even if the car goes up in flames we'll be back home for dinner.

Part 2: Slovakia, Hungary, Romania

Where to go from Prague? Quite a few possible choices here. For now we've decided to follow Central Route 1, through Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. This will be the first unfamiliar terrain on the journey and by the end we'll have put more than 2000 km behind us. Still, we won't even have left the EU at this point and things shouldn't be too tough.

Part 3: Moldova, Ukraine, Russia

This is were things get a little more interesting. From here on out we'll need visas and Moldova is actually the first country on the list for which the German Foreign Office has some warnings. Nothing serious, but we'll have to avoid Transnistria (a part of Moldova that has declared independence, but isn't internationally recognized). Transnistria is not particularly unsafe, but its unclear status would probably make crossing borders difficult.

Part 4: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan

The really interesting part. The list of advice from the Foreign Office is a lot longer for these countries, but there are rewards to be had. We'll be on the old Silk Road here and come across Samarkand, once at the very center of the Silk Road and the greatest city in Central Asia, now a UNESCO world heritage site. Still, we'll need to do more research before we fully commit to go this way.

Part 5: Kazakhstan (again), Russia (again) and finally...Mongolia

This may seem like the final stretch of the route, but it's actually about 6500km long and should prove the ultimate test for us and our car. That is, if we even get this far. We're still wondering why the suggested routes on the Mongol Rally homepage are so keen on avoiding China. Again, more research is needed.

The list obviously subject to change, but for now this is what we're working with.


Benny C said...

Guys, so you know, the reason we can't enter China is because unless your car is registered in China you can't drive in there!

From Ben (ie. Flash Bernard team for Mongol Rally). []

Richard & Martin said...

Thanks for the info. It's a shame though, I really wouldn't have minded adding China to the list.

Andrey said...

Yikes! Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan - now THAT gotta be difficult! No roads, mountains, unstable countries... I mean the last two. Kazakhstan is OK, in spite of the famous movie :)

Are you sure going through Russia would not be easier?

Richard & Martin said...

Oh, we're quite sure going through Russia would be easier. But that's not exactly the point.

Besides that's not even the most difficult route. We're already skipping stuff like Iran.

Stefan said...

You should pick up a big supply of motoroil before leaving. The old Polo of a friend needed 1L/1000km.

Do you have a paypal-account for donation?

Richard & Martin said...

Several people have asked about Paypal, so I'll see if I can make that happen. Check back in a day or two.