20/08/19. Skardu, Pakistan: In case you were wondering, the inside of the trucks are just as extravagant as the outside.
19/08/19. Hussain Abad, Pakistan: We found another little piece of heaven in Pakistan. Or at least we thought we had until night came… the wind was howling and at 2am we decided it was too much for the roof tent, so we quickly packed up and spent the rest of the night inside the car – Chris comfortably stretched out in the back and Charlie not so comfortably curled up in the front passenger seat.
18/08/19. Chutran, Pakistan: On the road again, and what a beautiful road it is!
17/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: Today we said goodbye to our wonderful host Yaqoob who has looked after us so well for the last week. It has been a pleasure to get to know him and listen to his many interesting stories. Thank you for your time, patience, and delicious daal!
16/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: We got a bit excited when we spotted these in the supermarket and the budget went out the window. We know you all love a guessing post, so guess how much we spent on our ketchup and cornflakes today…! The answer: we spent £4.59 on the corn flakes and £4.07 on the ketchup creating a grand total of £8.66. More than half our daily budget!
15/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: Egg boxes are yet to catch on in Asia…
14/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: Pakistan knows how to decorate a truck.
13/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: Got some glue today to finish off the sun shades for the car. Can’t help but love a good Chinese to English translation!
12/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: It’s Eid al-Adha over the next few days – an Islamic holiday. So we spent the day exactly how all holidays should be spent: playing games in between eating the delicious spread put on for us by our hotel. Max and Julian are also staying at the hotel and taught us the not so brainless game called Qwixx.
11/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: It has been so unbelievably hot over the past few weeks and it’s not getting cooler any time soon. We are determined to try and keep the inside of the car as cool as possible, so today we have been making sun shades to put in all of the windows when we are parked up. Ironically today is also the first day we have had rain since May!
09/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: Our home for the next few nights is the Madina Hotel in Gilgit. The hotel rooms surround this lovely little garden area with the greenest grass we have seen in a long long time. We spent the afternoon sitting in the garden, chatting to the owner and having a delicious lunch of dahl and chapati.
08/08/19. Sumayar, Pakistan: Good morning! In case you were wondering, Natalie is doing great! She didn’t like it so much at 5000 metres but she powered on through and is much happier now we are down in the valleys again.
07/08/19. Hunza, Pakistan: We have had four wonderfully relaxing days at the @kbbaithak campsite but today it was time to leave and start exploring more of this beautiful country. On the road again!
06/08/19. Hunza, Pakistan: Every single person we have so far met in Pakistan has been so friendly, kind and hospitable. This evening we were taken to see the oldest house in the village (over 900 years old). After this our campsite owner took us to his house and made us apricot juice and giyaling – a kind of pancake made from flour and water which is eaten with apricot oil. Simple but delicious!
05/08/19. Hunza, Pakistan: We’ve found a beautiful campsite in the Hunza valley and can’t get enough of the views.
04/08/19. Hunza, Pakistan: And then there were two! Today we said goodbye to Mathieu and Kitty who are both making their separate ways towards India. We’ve loved being in a little group and spending time with other overlanders, hopefully our paths will cross again sometime soon!
03/08/19. Passu, Pakistan: Day one on the Karakoram Highway and the photos don’t even come close to doing the beauty of these mountains justice. The trials and tribulations of China were completely worth it just to drive along this magnificent road.
02/08/19. Khunjerab pass, Pakistan: Leaving China took another 9 and a half hours of security checks, passport checks and waiting. As we crossed the Khunjerab pass (at nearly 5000 metres) entering into Pakistan there were crowds of Pakistani people excited to take photos with us – this is the only picture we managed to get that wasn’t full of people. We happily posed and then got into the car, now once again on the correct (left) side of the road, and enjoyed an absolutely breathtaking journey down the mountains to the customs office. This border crossing was in every way the opposite to our Chinese experience. We were taken into the office, offered tea and cold mango juice, and had a long chat with the customs officer whilst we waited for our paperwork to be completed. Welcome to Pakistan!
01/08/19. Somewhere between Kashgar and Tashkurgan, China: Despite paying for a five day driving tour through China, today is the only day we actually get to drive through China. At 4pm, 4000 metres (13,000 ft) above sea level, disaster struck and Kitty got a flat tyre. With oxygen levels down to 60%, there’s not a lot of brain capacity left to learn new skills. We quickly got to work fixing it, all with a different role: Kitty – Change the tyre Chris – Spanner monkey Charlie – Photographer Mathieu – Sing our problems away Our tour guide (who we are paying a lot of money to see us safely through this country) – Take selfies
31/07/19. Kashgar, China: Today we were treated to a day off from border crossings, police checkpoints and being shouted at by our tour guide. We spent the afternoon in Kashgar’s old city. Once through the barbed wire barricade gates, and past the numerous armed police, we discovered that there is a nice side to Kashgar (and maybe even China) after all. We also discovered that being Western European here is synonymous with being a celebrity – and had our photos taken more times than we could count.
30/07/19. Somewhere in China: If yesterday’s 10 hour border crossing wasn’t enough to test our patience, today Charlie waited in the hotel whilst Chris, Kitty and Mathieu (aka the drivers) went to sort out the essential paperwork. After waiting for over 8 hours, it turned out they didn’t need us or our paperwork and we drove our vehicles to the hotel. The smiles were just for the photo, we were absolutely not smiling on the inside.
29/07/19. Kashgar, China: We arrived at the Kyrgyzstan/China border at 10am this morning. Over 10 hours later, with nothing done other than waiting, having our passports repeatedly checked and driving, we arrived at our hotel for the night in Kashgar. The cars had to be left behind at the customs building to be collected tomorrow once the paperwork is sorted. We don’t have a better photo as we were repeatedly told by our guide “NO PHOTOS”. He also knew other friendly English phrases such as “GO GO GO”, “HURRY UP YOU ARE TOO SLOW”, “DRIVE FASTER” and “PASSPORTS NOW”. Safe to say that we have not had the best introduction to China. Maybe tomorrow…?
28/07/19. Torugart, Kyrgyzstan: It is not possible to travel through China with your own vehicle unless you have a tour guide. To make our five day guided drive cheaper (from £1800 to £1200) we are joining forces with two other overlanders (found on Facebook) who happened to be doing the same route at the same time that we wanted to. Whilst we took a few photos in our pre-arranged meeting point, we didn’t realise that the white spec in the background was actually the French plated Mercedes 207D belonging to Mathieu who would be joining us (along with Kitty and her Honda CRF250) for the next part of our adventure.
27/07/19. Song-Kul, Kyrgyzstan: Quick pit stop on the way down the mountain from Song-Kul lake. Don’t be completely deceived by the photo, just after we stopped and took this photo, about 4 minibuses full of tourists came and parked next to us.
25/07/19. Kochkor, Kyrgyzstan: Most of the time we use iOverlander to find wild camping spots. This evening we followed our noses and stumbled upon this beautiful spot by the river. It’s probably one of the best of the trip so far. Parked up right by the river side, the weather was just right, and the flowing river meant no mosquitoes – perfection!
24/07/19. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: We really enjoyed our time staying at the ‘Overland Hostel’ with Karin and Coen from @landcruising.adventure with other overlanders dropping in too. Today we said our goodbyes and headed to the mountains to see some more of Kyrgyzstan, and hopefully find some cooler weather!
23/07/19. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Today we went to the car bazaar (market) with Coen in search of some relays for their Land Cruiser. Each shop operates from a shipping container: some simply open the doors and pile up their products inside, while in other shops it’s hard to believe that you are inside a container!
22/07/19. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: During our short time in Bishkek we have been lucky enough to meet and stay with Karin and Coen from @landcruising.adventure who have been on the road in their yellow Land Cruiser since 2003! As always it is great to meet other overlanders, but this time even more so as Karin and Coen have just so many fascinating stories to tell.
21/07/19. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Another day, another border crossing (Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan). Today we crossed in only 40 minutes! Our passports that were pretty much brand new at the start of the trip are getting fuller and more battered by the day.
20/07/19. Arkyrtas, Kazakhstan: Back to what we love most – a beautiful wild camping spot all to ourselves in the middle of nowhere.
19/07/19. Shymkent, Kazakhstan: A bit of déjà vu today – we have returned to Kazakhstan as it’s much quicker and easier to get to Kyrgyzstan from Kazakhstan than Uzbekistan (so many Stans). We originally planned to wild camp but crossing the border, getting car insurance, getting diesel, and trying to fix our temperamental air conditioning all took longer than expected. After all that we didn’t have enough time to drive to the cooler mountains before dark, so we decided to treat ourselves to another stay in one of our favourite hostels.
18/07/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Before we left the UK we stuck down some non-slip matting to the shelf in the back. This worked for all of 2-3 days until the mat started peeling, half the double sided tape dried up, and the other half became super sticky. Whilst home, Charlie picked up some sticky stuff remover and yesterday evening we started what we thought would be a quick half hour job. After 3 hours we were nowhere near finished so this morning we were up early doing more work before the sun got too hot. Finally this evening, after another 5 hours of painstakingly slow scraping and peeling, most of it is off and we are good to go again!
17/07/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Helping Peter with a few problems on his Honda Dominator was a good way to pass the time whilst it was too hot to work on Natalie. The bike was able to slip into the shade whereas the car was in the 45°C sun. After cleaning up the electrical system to get it charging again, we then drained the old fuel from the tank from when the bike had been standing for the last couple of months, whilst Peter was at home in Austria. Fresh fuel in and she (Daisy) fired right up!
16/07/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Today we said goodbye to Chris’ parents, and tomorrow we will be getting everything ready for the next part of our trip. Charlie had a brilliant couple of weeks at home, but we are very happy to be back together and ready to get on the road again. China here we come!
15/07/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Charlie’s back and we had takeaway pizza to celebrate! It was a lovely evening catching up on what we had all been doing over the last couple of weeks.
14/07/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: We have returned to Tashkent, ready to collect Charlie from the airport tomorrow. Boy is it hot! 45 degrees (113 Fahrenheit) today and the locals reckon it could soon get up to 50 degrees. Air conditioning is our saviour.
13/07/19. Burchmulla, Uzbekistan: Back to the trip, and this evening I am giving my parents a taste of wild camping in the mountains. We came here hoping it would be a bit cooler than the cities as it’s getting seriously hot. Even up high the temperature is still in the high 30s, but we found a spot right next to a river which has been great to have a cool down in.
12/07/19. Toft Monks, England: I wouldn’t have missed my best friend’s wedding for the world, and being mid way through an overland trip to Australia was not going to stop me. Here we are, bride and maid of honour, with the biggest grins on our faces because we had the best day ever.
11/07/19. Toft Monks, England: Even if the caption didn’t give it away, you might be able to guess that this photo is of gloriously green England rather than hotter, drier and sandier Uzbekistan. It’s Charlie here, taking over photo responsibilities for the next couple of days. I came back home for the wedding of @grace.lane.739 and now it is finally upon us! Today is all about getting the venue ready for the big day tomorrow. I took a sneaky break to get this beautiful shot of the grounds.
10/07/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Metres from the well trodden tourist path in Samarkand is the juxtaposition of real life. On one side of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque is the well manicured lawns bordering the pedestrian walkways, and on the back side is real life occurring with all of its electrical cables, gas pipes, deliveries of building materials, and people going about their everyday business.
09/07/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: The last unrestored historic building in Bukhara (according to the guide book), but it won’t be for long! The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted that they are simply building the new bricks up in front of the old wall-that’s one way of doing it!
08/07/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: Twice we have been to the most expensive roof top restaurant in Khiva (mains are about £3), which is a must to watch the sunset over the city walls (according to the guide book), and twice the clouds have rolled in at the crucial moment. These are some of the only clouds we’ve seen in Uzbekistan during the month we’ve been here.
07/07/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: Welcome to Disney Land Khiva! Many people have compared the Silk Road cities in Uzbekistan to visiting Disney Land, with Khiva having turnstile entrances in and out. Almost all of the main buildings have been completely reconstructed in the last 30 years, and become entirely geared towards tourists. Some of the charm of visiting an old city is lost, but it perhaps gives you a glimpse of what they may have been like in their prime.
06/07/19. Somewhere in the desert, Uzbekistan: Today we took the train from Bukhara to Khiva, which mainly runs through the desert.
05/07/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: Today we met Josh and his Triumph Tiger. This is the first British vehicle we’ve seen for over three months, the last being on the coast of Croatia. Josh’s inspiration for his trip was watching the Long Way series many years ago, and ever since he has been dreaming of his own adventure. I told him of my own inspiration, First Overland, and he replied that that would have made his preparations easier as he wouldn’t have needed to learn to ride a bike (which he did especially for his trip)! Josh is following a very similar route to us, but at a slightly faster pace, so hopefully he can feed back his experiences to us.
04/07/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: After seeing this pair of lions guarding the palace doorway, Mum is keen to get a pair for their house on the Suffolk coast. I’m sure they’ll fit right in!
03/07/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan. A bit of morning sightseeing with Mum and Dad in Samarkand before scouring the city for some diesel.
02/07/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Sunset on the Silk Road.
01/07/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Sight-seeing from the shade. This is the internal courtyard of one of the biggest mosques in the world when it was constructed, about 500 years ago. This was a good shady place to read our books for a couple of hours!
30/06/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Mum was keen to stay in a hotel as close to the sights in the centre as possible. This is the parking between our hotel and the largest mosque, happy Mum?
29/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: I was nearly as excited to see my parents, as all the gifts they brought! There’s a prize for anyone who can name them all (the presents, not my parents).
28/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: On a spare day between Charlie leaving and my parents arriving I decided to investigate the strange noise coming from our fridge. After spending a while taking the back off and peering around inside where everything seemed to be ok, I noticed that one of the feet was very loose! Hopefully this has fixed the problem, time will tell.
27/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Airports don’t feature very often in overland travel, but they are useful when you need them. Charlie is flying home for a couple of weeks for the hen party and wedding of @grace.lane.739 After the relatively slow pace of life on the road, it’s odd to think that a journey that’s taken us 100 days is the equivalent of just a 10 hour flight.
26/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Forget the Silk Road cities, ancient architecture and local culture, top of the bucket list for Uzbekistan should actually be Tashkent’s Potter Mania cafe. We sat in the Room of Requirement and had a dinner of Wolfsbane Potion, Hufflepuff burgers and a Golden Snitch for desert. Not only was the decoration perfectly over the top, the food was the best we’ve had here too! A perfect date night before Charlie flies home tomorrow.
25/06/19. Kazygurt, Kazakhstan: Today we had to do a visa run back into Kazakhstan and reset our 30 days Uzbekistan visa. We wild camped overlooking this river and cliff, which caught the sun as it was setting and glowed red. No pictures of our camp set up, as just as we were about to put the tent up @dodiemo85 turned up and we chatted until well past dark! We’re hoping we can meet up with them in another country soon as they were such good company.
24/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Charlie is flying home in a few days to fulfil maid of honour duties so today we emptied everything from Natalie into our hostel room and went through all of the bits that we haven’t used, no longer need, or want to swap. We ended up with nearly 10 kg to take back home! So much for only packing the essentials…
23/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: We carried these breathalysers through Europe (because we legally had to), but now they’ve expired we gave them a go. Turns out that neither of us were too drunk to drive a car at 11am.
22/06/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: Today we were reunited with Natalie, and a couple of Toyotas. I hope they haven’t been giving her ideas.
21/06/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: Yesterday we went to the station to check on our return train, and it turned out it had been cancelled due to ‘technical difficulties’. We’re glad we went to check as we’re now used to the way things (don’t) work in Uzbekistan. Luckily there was an alternative train later, which was a bit slower and cheaper but we didn’t think anything of it.
Arriving at the station today, the train (right photo) didn’t look quite as new from the outside as the one that brought us here (left photo). And it wasn’t quite as new inside either. Fast train economy means individual seats and air conditioning (our outbound journey), slow train economy means bench seats with no back rest and no air con (out return journey). At least we had window seats: but unfortunately the view out was almost completely obscured by the black diesel smoke from the locomotive. Looking forward to car travel again!
20/06/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: Today’s photo comes in the form of a quiz: guess (without google) how much money Charlie has in her purse! A grand prize of bragging rights for the person with the closest guess. The answer: £7.27!
19/06/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: A day of Museum, Mausoleum, Mosque and Madrassah hopping in Khiva.
18/06/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: After having a chilled out day mainly spent in and around the hostel, we walked the great distance of 100 metres to the fourth best restaurant in Khiva, where we had dinner for two for £5. We snapped this on our short walk back to the hostel.
17/06/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: We’ve gone on an adventure within our adventure! After hearing from several other overlanders that the road to Khiva is in bad condition and that finding diesel is impossible, we decided to travel by train instead. What would have been a two day drive is only a five hour train. This way we get an extra two days of exploring, Natalie gets a break from the terrible roads and we won’t run the risk of running out of fuel! So for the next four days it’s just us and our rucksacks.
16/06/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: Today we went on the hunt for somewhere in Bukhara not filled with tourists and souvenir stalls. Our hunt was successful and we found a Russian Summer Palace, as well as the Chor-Bakr Necropolis (pictured), also called the city of the dead. Not another tourist or tat stall in sight – perfect!
15/06/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: Our favourite building so far in Bukhara has been the Mir-I-Arab Madrasa (Islamic educational institution). Most of the historic Islamic sites are now purely tourist attractions, however this 16th century beauty is still a working Madrasa today. Plus it has teal domes and teal is my favourite colour.
14/06/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: We mostly chilled today but we ventured out for a little walk around the city before dinner to get a taste of what’s in store for our sightseeing day tomorrow.
13/06/2019. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: We’ve come to the point in our journey where there is beginning to be the occasional vehicle travelling towards us on the (wrong side of the) dual carriageways. It started with the occasional bicycle, then a tractor or two and now cars. It’s ok though: as you come around the blind corners towards them they have their hazard lights on.
12/06/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Another day exploring the beautiful sights that Samarkand has to offer us. This was described as a “surprisingly modest” mausoleum in our guide book… not sure it’s quite what we would call modest!
11/06/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Today we went to what lonely planet claimed to be “the most awesome single site in Central Asia”. Registan (translated to sandy square) has three medressas, the oldest dating back to the 15th century. Whilst the buildings themselves were beautifully impressive, we felt it was ruined slightly by the sheer volume of souvenir vendors and tourists. We went back this evening to watch the light show projected onto the buildings – think Disneyland meets 15th century Muslim medressa. A strange, surreal and unforgettable experience to say the least!
10/06/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: The roads in Uzbekistan aren’t brilliant and our 195 mile journey from Tashkent to Samarkand took us around 6 hours. With a case of treacherous travellers tummy it was not the most enjoyable of days. This is the view from the bedroom in our guesthouse for the next few days. As soon as we arrived we went to our room, skipped dinner, and straight to bed.
09/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Once again we have been blown away by the kindness of strangers. We met @halilovoybekargentina when we checked into our hostel on our first day in Tashkent and he offered to show us around his city. Oybek took us to Hast Imam Square where the oldest Quran in the world is kept and then took us for a traditional Uzbek meal of plov which was absolutely delicious. He showered us with kindness and we couldn’t say enough thank yous, so here is one more: thank you Oybek!
08/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: As we were walking down a street in Tashkent we couldn’t help but notice this meat delivery to a restaurant. Not quite visible in the photo is the lack of refrigeration in the car and the small puddle of blood dripping out from the back.
07/06/2019. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: ‘Welcome to Kazakhstan’ said the border guard, with a huge smile on his face, as he handed back our passports. How have we managed that? We’re supposed to be leaving Kazakhstan and entering Uzbekistan, but somehow we’ve managed to re-enter Kazakhstan? I knew the border looked confusing, but we didn’t have time to dwell on it as we were ushered towards the Uzbekistan entry desk. And sure enough, our passports had been marked up correctly with a Kazakh vehicle exit stamp dated 07.06.1950. Excellent.
06/06/19. Kularyk, Kazakhstan: Today we left Shymkent, and drove towards the Uzbekistan border. Whilst looking for somewhere to wild camp we came to a dead end and a man in a Lada pulled up next to us. We attempted to explain that we were looking for somewhere to camp, and he said we could camp in (what we think is) his field. Next thing we knew our new friend Raha, who spoke absolutely no English at all, had taken us into his house and cooked us a traditional Kazakhstan meal of horse meat, pasta and fermented cows milk as a sauce. Thankfully he also bought out ketchup! He then made us delicious sweet tea and introduced us to his three children and his parents (pictured). After dinner Raha’s children and their friends swarmed the car all wanting to look inside the roof tent. Luckily we distracted them with many games of mini bowling before Raha told them it was time for bed.
05/06/2019. Shymkent, Kazakhstan: With temperatures reaching 38C (100F) it was decided that we probably should have a look at our non-functioning air-con today. Starting at the closest garage, a Subaru specialist, we enquired about a re-gas (as that’s surely all it needs?!). A price was agreed at £30 which seemed reasonable based on UK costs, but when the gauge was connected the price dropped to £4 as we apparently only needed a little bit of gas. After we were topped up and posed for photos with the owner, our money was refused-that was all the payment they needed! Hopefully this form of remuneration continues for awhile…
04/06/2019. Shymkent, Kazakhstan: After getting some jobs done over the last couple of days, we allowed ourselves a sight seeing day. Our favourite place was the Stella Monument which was dedicated to all of those who gave their lives in WWII, with their names listed along a walkway several hundred metres long.
03/06/2019. Shymkent, Kazakhstan: We’ve been staying in a pretty cool hostel in Shymkent whilst we tick off a few housekeeping jobs, but we should be able to fit in a bit of sightseeing tomorrow!
02/06/19. Shymkent, Kazakhstan: On Thursday Chris gave Natalie a service and today he got her all foamy… (couldn’t let that opportunity pass). In what Chris has decided to be the best self service car wash he has ever been to, we had a surprisingly enjoyable hour or so cleaning our very grubby car! We couldn’t help but laugh at the strange looks we got from the locals whilst putting up the roof tent so we could hoover inside. Three of them were so impressed they came over and shook Chris’ hand!
01/06/19. Turkistan, Kazakhstan: Thought I would take a picture of our lovely morning view, but somebody decided to poke their head out of the tent and ruin my photo!
31/05/19. Sauran, Kazakhstan: Today’s drive took us past Sauran, the ruins of a fourteenth and fifteenth city which was apparently home to Kazakhstan’s most magnificent castle. 2300m of the city walls still stand. A pretty amazing sight which was made even better by the fact that it was not packed with tourists, and had no entrance fee.
30/05/19. Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan: Today has been a very busy day! Chris got up at 7 to service Natalie before it got too hot. At 10 he finished, just as it hit 27 degrees. We got in the car seeking cool air but unfortunately the air conditioning does not seem to be working (unrelated to the service). We drove to Kyzylorda, did a food shop, topped up on fuel, gave way to oncoming traffic whilst on the roundabouts and had a bit of a nosy around the city. Now we are cooking dinner, with the solar shower on the roof soaking up the last rays of sun so we can have showers before bed!
29/05/19. Lake Kamyslybas, Kazakhstan: After weeks of cold and rain the sun is finally shining down on us. This morning we woke up next to this beautiful and breezy lake. 10:00 and already 25 degrees. Things are hotting up in Kazakhstan!
28/05/19. Aral, Kazakhstan: It turns out that in Kazakhstan, camels are like buses. Not a single camel during our first 800 miles through the country, and we got so excited this morning when we saw the first group. Then suddenly every few miles were more camels.
27/05/2019. Irgiz, Kazakhstan: Thanks to @kiwis_in_africa for the Desert Camp spot suggestion. It was a very relaxing place, well it was until it got dark and the scorpions came out!
26/05/2019. Karabutak, Kazakhstan: We had tonight’s dinner at the truck stop, not from the trucker’s cafe but cooked by ourselves in the dusty carpark. We are staying in a hotel (nothing fancy, £8.50 a night) but couldn’t cook inside and it was a lovely evening: not too windy, or too many insects, but just right! Most of the trucks here are old European ones, often still with their previous company’s sign writing still visible, but occasionally there is an old Kamaz which looks like a lot of hard work for the driver.
25/05/19. Akzhar, Kazakhstan: We had a shorter drive today and found this beautiful field to camp in. Spending the afternoon sitting in the sun, reading, blog writing, and checking over Natalie was pure bliss.
24/05/19. Ersary, Kazakhstan: In terms of latitude, this is the half way point of our trip. Not in terms of miles, or as the crow flys or even accounting for the fact that we will be travelling through much wider latitudes as we venture south. But purely in latitude numbers, this is half way.
23/05/19. Uralsk, Kazakhstan: We started our day with a traditional Kazakhstan breakfast of Nesquik and Coop long life milk.
22/03/2019. Uralsk, Kazakhstan: For our first few days in Kazakhstan we’ve been staying in a hostel. As far as we can tell it’s in the upstairs of what used to be a family home and it has ‘interesting’ design and decor. There are beams at odd angles, fake brick, real brick, recesses in the walls and a man almost continually asleep on a bed behind the reception desk. Our room (which has a double bed and two bunk beds) is mainly cream artex walls with gold window surrounds and coving, but with a feature wall of mint green and 80s pink recesses. Each to their own…
21/05/2019. Semiglavi, Kazakhstan: After we crossed the border we bought car insurance through the rear side window of a Lada, from a man who had set up a mobile office complete with laptop and printer. We then continued east along a perfectly smooth, new road. Every 10 miles or so there was an inspection ramp in each lay-by, so we picked one that didn’t have a broken down car on it and peered underneath-all seems to be well (for the moment)!
20/05/19. Yershov, Russia: For the majority of our long drive across Russia this was our view. Big skies and big fields.
19/05/19. Saratov, Russia: We visited the landing site of the first Cosmonaut-Yuri Gagarin. There was a fairly small monument considering that this is the place where a human being first walked after being the one and only to leave our atmosphere. And they got the rocket wrong.
18/05/19. Sinenkiye, Russia: This is the first and only bad road that we have come across in Russia so far. It is pretty bad though, lots of time spent in 1st gear. At what point do they stop patching it up, and just resurface the whole road…?
17/05/19. Listopadovka, Russia: Despite us crossing Russia at one of the narrowest points – it’s still massive. We’re driving 1000 miles and apart from a few cities and towns it’s pretty much a straight line. The forests and fields are huge, and tractors ploughing away across the horizon disappear from view. Most nights we’ve camped far away from anyone else, without a man made object in sight.
16/05/19. Voronezh, Russia: After a day of driving on excellent roads, and covering the most distance since our first day in France, we checked into the Geek Hostel in Voronezh. We chose to stay in the Iron Man Room where one wall had this image, one had his heart light thingy and another was covered in clippings from a Russian Iron Man comic strip. Charlie was not happy that the Harry Potter room was already taken!
15/05/19. Troyebortnoye, Russia: Almost all of Today was spent crossing the border into Russia. Everyone was friendly, but the process took five and a half hours for no reason at all! We didn’t mind too much as we only have to do it once, but we felt very sorry for the people who have to do it regularly. Passports, visas, immigration cards, customs declarations, vehicle importing and car insurance.
14/05/19. Kiev, Ukraine: This morning we went to Kiev Pechersk Lavra (aka the monastery of the caves) where dead monks are laid in glass topped coffins in underground passageways. After that we walked to see the Motherland Monument – at 102 metres tall she towers over the city. It was then time to leave Kiev and start making our way towards the Russian border.
13/05/19. Chernobyl, Ukraine: Yes @erny_p we did go to Chernobyl, but don’t tell our mums! The budget took a bit of a hit today, but we couldn’t not visit.
12/05/19. Kiev, Ukraine: Today we were very hungry and missing Italy so we cooked all the Italian foods. Actually we only ate one (large) plate of pasta each for dinner, and the rest was for our trip tomorrow…
11/05/19. Shibenoye, Ukraine: There was no room for us at the hostel (inn) tonight, and I found an airline ticket in my passport where my name was just written as ‘Christ’, so we stayed in the forest. Turns out that we were only about 20 miles from Chernobyl, but Natalie was the only thing that wasn’t a tree to photograph.
10/05/19. Kiev, Ukraine: This bike belongs to Martin who we met at the hostel. He is riding from The Netherlands to Mongolia in 3 months, with no phone or sat-nav. He’s looking forward to meeting people on flashy BMWs, swapping stories and then reminding them that he has done the same mountain passes on his 24 year old Honda TransAlp that cost him €650. We liked Martin.
09/05/19. Cherepashyntsi, Ukraine: This is the field that we woke up in this morning (luckily, it was the same one that we went to bed in the night before too). We had to make an early start before the cows came back out for the day, so we headed to Kiev.
08/05/19. Babyn, Ukraine: What a difference a new day makes. It was very windy in the night, which meant the tent dried out for the first time in several days and the campsite only cost us £2.90! We still can’t understand anyone though…
07/05/19. Babyn, Ukraine: After returning to the border this morning to buy car insurance (we tried yesterday as we crossed, but had no cash and the closest ATM was a 45 mile round trip…), we explored a little further into (The?) Ukraine. Maybe it’s just the 48 hours of drizzle we’ve had so far, but it does seem a little grey here. And we don’t understand anyone…
06/05/19. Chernivtsi, Ukraine: Today was all about CHEXIT – Charlie & Chris exiting the EU. First stop Ukraine. Unlike in every other country we have been to so far, not a single person yet can speak English. We drove to what google maps told us was a campsite and when we spotted 4 lions in front of us we realised we were in a zoo. We think they’re letting us camp here tonight for free, but maybe we have accidentally signed ourselves up to be tomorrow’s breakfast.
05/05/19. Suceava, Romania: After we stocked up with water on our shopping trip, and since we had been wild camping for several days, we thought it was about time we braved the Solar Shower. We filled it with cold water and laid it in the sun on the roof for three hours and… it was hotter than quite a few showers on our trip so far, and more powerful too! We used 15 litres of water for two showers, including washing our hair-not bad for a first go!
04/05/19. Suceava, Romania: Taking advantage of European shops like Lidl and Carrefour for what might be the last time on our trip. Fully stocked, we have gone back to our wild camping spot to have a relaxed weekend before we venture across the border to Ukraine on Monday.
03/04/19. Suceava, Romania: My brand new @thenorthface trainers bought especially for the trip lasted a whole four weeks on the road. Luckily Chris was able to pick up a replacement pair from the friendly people at @ellisbrigham on his return home. We just need to send off the old pair now to get our money back. Thanks Des!
02/05/19. Suceava, Romania: Today Natalie was due her 36k mile service, which includes four oil changes, four filter changes, brake pad thickness measurements, tyre rotations, greasing of everything and a 76 point check. Only took two days to complete in the middle of a Romanian forest, new PB.
01/05/19. Suceava, Romania: The plan was to give Natalie a service today and we had found a perfect wild camping spot to do it in. It chucked it down with rain all day long, so instead we stayed in bed, watched downloaded BBC iPlayer, napped, and played cards. Maybe tomorrow the rain will stop!
30/04/19. Suceava, Romania: Chris has returned and to celebrate we tried out cooking pizza in a frying pan. It was a success! Our diet will be going rapidly downhill from this point onwards…
29/04/19. Suceava, Romania: Today I ventured out of the hotel to find a laundrette so we could give our bedding and towels a well needed clean. Unfortunately I did not find a laundrette. I did find a fortress though!
28/04/19. Suceava, Romania: It’s Easter Sunday in Romania today and the hotel has lots of little rabbits hiding in slightly odd pottery egg halves. After making my way through three courses of the (complimentary) all you can eat breakfast, I spent the day doing washing, catching up on non-travel life admin, and watching Netflix – all of which are even less interesting to photograph than this rabbit/egg combo. Happy Romanian Easter!
27/04/19. Suceava, Romania. After blowing more than a week’s budget on somewhere for me to stay for the next 3 days, there’s no chance I can afford to eat at the hotel restaurant. Instead, I have smuggled the stove in and cooked my dinner in the bathroom (as it’s close to the extractor fan and far away from the smoke detector). The maid is going to get a bit of a surprise when they come to clean in the morning!
26/04/19. Suceava, Romania: We had our most difficult day of the trip yet. We had to be in Suceava as Chris was catching a flight home for a few days, and Charlie was due to be left behind to stay at a friend’s house nearby. Unfortunately the friend was taken into hospital which is awful, and also left us with nowhere to stay over the Easter weekend. We spent all day looking for reasonably priced accommodation, but in the end we had to throw money at the problem in the form of a four star hotel for three nights. We were a bit preoccupied all day, and this is the only picture I took – a photo of a flower that I thought my mum would like.
25/04/19. Hangu, Romania: After a long drive north we wild-camped for the evening on the shore of this lake (which was actually man-made by a dam). It’s a lovely spot, but unfortunately there was a lot of rubbish like so many of our other wild camping sites – on a beach of about 300m we found the only clear section big enough to camp.
24/04/19. Lepsa, Romania: This wasn’t our first choice camping spot for tonight, that wildcamp had to be abandoned because of bears! But we found this campsite next to the river with lovely owners and hot showers. Apparently (if we translated properly) we’re the first ever English people to stay here…
23/04/19. Lake Balea, Romania: Once again we have been stopped in our tracks by snow, today on route to Lake Balea. Whilst reading the Wiki page about the road and when it would open higher up, we found out that it had been voted as Top Gear’s best driver’s road in the world! I know a bad workman blames his tools, but I don’t think we quite had the car for the job! I gave it my best shot but had to call time when the brakes overheated and Charlie said she felt sick.
22/04/19. Sibiu, Romania: We didn’t do anything today because it was a Bank Holiday, and being British you must always observe them, so here is a video of us putting the tent up yesterday (bonnet is only up as that’s where the electrical hook up is).
21/04/19. Alba Iulia, Romania: More recommendations of where to visit led us to two citadels today, this being our second. There were many squares, a church, a university and this cathedral in the centre. Maybe tomorrow’s picture won’t be of a building…
20/04/19. Hunedoara, Romania: We’ve lucked out with more local knowledge on tap from a friend of mine, who’s given us a long list of places to visit. First up was Corvin Castle which claims to be the inspiration for the setting of Dracula, but further reading suggests that all castles in Romania make this claim! We couldn’t afford the entrance fee, so we just sat on a bench with this view and watched a YouTube tour instead…
19/04/19. Timişoara, Romania: Today we visited the town of Timişoara which is right on the western edge of Romania. Luckily we had some local insider knowledge from a friend of a friend so we knew all the best places to go. There were lots of lovely squares and characterful buildings. Thanks Corina!
18/04/19. Sag, Romania: Just having a little rest at our wildcamping spot on the riverbank after spending most of the day stocking up on supplies, at Carrefour, for the bank holiday weekend.
17/04/19. Cebza, Romania: Its our first night in Romania tonight and we are wildcamping by a river. We cooked a yummy meal of chips (sort of), burgers and fried eggs to celebrate this new country!
16/04/19. Novi Sad, Serbia: we spent the day #exploring #NoviSad in northern #Serbia which we actually much preferred to Belgrade. This was the #church in the main square which had a #multicoloured #spire and roof.
15/04/19. Fruska Gora, Serbia. We found a perfect #wildcamping spot in the #forest near #NoviSad and then cooked ourselves #curry on the #ColmansStove
14/04/19. Belgrade, Serbia: After so long of only having one other person to have extended English conversations with, it’s nice to #chat and #playcards with some other #EnglishSpeakers at the #hostel in #Belgrade
13/04/19. Belgrade, Serbia: Tonight we’re staying in a very cool #industrial style #hostel called @fair.and.square.hostel and Natalie has her own parking space too! Tomorrow we’ll be doing some #city #sightseeing in #Belgrade
12/04/19. Rudnik, Serbia: Again we were struggling to find somewhere to #camp so we pulled over and spoke to some #friendly #locals who asked us which direction we were going. Our reply: #Singapore via #Belgrade They told us we should try down this road as it was #TheMainRoadToBelgrade #Hmmm
11/04/19. Nr Bijela, Bosnia: Today we really struggled to find somewhere to pitch the #Eeziawn and #wildcamp after trying down every track. We were about to settle for a small pull off on a dirt road when we turned the corner and found this #memorial shelter to a #Bosnian hunter. It had cover from the #rain and a water tap, tables, chairs and even a BBQ! The few locals who passed gave us big #waves and #smiles
10/04/19. (not quite) Lukomir, Bosnia & Herzegovina: Today we attempted to #drive to the most #isolated #village in #Bosnia called #Lukomir which, according to the guidebook, is only accessible in summer. After an #earlystart and driving for hours along #roughtracks without seeing #anotherlivingsoul we came to a compacted #waistdeep #snowdrift which hadn’t been crossed since last autumn. Turns out that Bosnia’s most remote village can only be accessed in summer.
09/04/19. Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina: Today we have been #city #sightseeing in #Mostar (translates as ‘Bridge Keeper’). #Crazy #locals #dive 25m off the #OldBridge into the 6 degree C river below. This photo was taken from the ‘Lucky Bridge’. We walked over both, but dived from neither. Yes
08/04/19. Blagaj, Bosnia & Herzegovina: In between #rainshowers we #hiked up to the #hidden #monastery in #Blagaj (can only be found by following the line of tat sellers and surrounding restaurants 😂), where the #river emerges from the #cave mouth. Then we got #soaked walking home.
07/04/19. Blagaj, Bosnia & Herzegovina: From now on our #internet will be a bit patchy, so you lot might not get a #photoeveryday but we’ll always take a photo everyday and post them up when we can. Today it #rained a lot and we had #nointernet so the only thing to do was put up the #awning and #playcards all day!
06/04/19. Ploche, Croatia: After two and a half weeks on the road we have found our first #signpost to #Sydney and it turns out we are #goingtherightway after all! Last night #travelling through #Croatia then next stop #Bosnia (and Herzegovina)
05/04/19. Split, Croatia: #BigSkies and #BigSeas in #Split #Croatia today. We #climbed to the top of the hill #overlooking the #city #harbour and #RomanTown and then back down again!
04/04/19. Split, Croatia: We’re staying in the #cheap (read #dodgy) end of #Split this evening, so enjoy this last ever picture of #Natalie the #LandRover
03/04/19. Starigrad, Splitsko-Dalmatinska, Croatia: She did drive better today! All the way to the #seaside and this #campsite on the #beach where we had a #sunset #dinner
02/04/19. Rijeka, Croatia: No #beautifulviews today, unless you count the underside of our #LandRover #Discovery as one? #BrokeDown and bought a new #universaljoint this morning, and then fitted it this evening – a mere 5 hours! We’ll see if she drives better #tomorrow
01/04/19. Ljubljana, Slovenia: #Ljubljana should be on anyone’s #bucketlist for a slightly #offthewall #citybreak as the place was just #beautiful (and so clean)! Unfortunately we couldn’t find anywhere else to stay in Slovenia, so we’ve moved onto Croatia this evening. #ByeBye #Slovenia
31/03/19. Lake Bled, Slovenia: And then the view from the other side of #LakeBled the next morning, after a rather #steepclimb but the #view was #worthit because #NoFilter
30/03/19. Lake Bled, Slovenia: We crossed the border into #Slovenia today, the fourth country on our #overland trip. After a recommendation from my cousin we’ve come to visit the #laketown of #Bled where we have had to book into a #hostel as it’s a little #chilly for the #rooftent
29/03/19. Vencie, Italy: We’ve had a busy day today! Driving to #Venice and then being #tourists all day in the city. After the #hustleandbustle of the #GrandCanal it was good to come back to the #LandRover for a #sitdown
28/03/19. Lake Garda, Italy: We washed our #pants and #serviced the #LandRover #Discovery in the #poshest #campsite on the shores of #LakeGarda in #Italy
27/03/19. Gorges Du Verdon, France: 9am Wednesday morning: what’s your view? #nofilter
26/03/19. Gorges Du Verdon, France: We’re back #ontheroadagain after a slightly longer than expected stop over in #Montpellier due to some #insectbites but we have now found a lovely little #wildcamping spot next to a #river
25/03/19. Montpellier, France: If anyone is wondering what it looks like after you #accidentally set off your powder #FireExtinguisher in the back of your #overland car, then #imagine no more! Luckily we had access to a #Hoover and a #spareafternoon to clear it up…
24/03/19. Montpellier, France: Just when you think you’re already pretty far from #home in #Suffolk and your uncle produces his #last bottle of @adnamsburysteds @adnams #Broadside for you in #Montpellier in the #SouthOfFrance You can take #TheBoyOutOfSuffolk but not the #SuffolkOutOfTheBoy
23/03/19. Montpellier, France: And we have a winner! The #insectbites have come before the #starrynights and they are whoppers! The funny thing is that we are still in the South of France, not anywhere exotic yet… #WhatsYetToCome #gross
22/03/19. Montpellier, France: We’ve driven across a whole country, but really it’s like we’re still at home. #FamilyTime in #Montpellier with my #aunt and #uncle
21/03/19. Allaines, France: #Bonjour #France #BritsAbroad
20/03/19. Portsmouth, England: Day number one, rule number one broken: no #DrivingAfterDark On our way to the ferry, for the 11.30pm crossing from #Portsmouth
18/03/19. Walberswick, England: The ferry is booked and the adventure starts tomorrow. If you’re somewhere along the route, or fancy joining us for part of it then drop us a message.
17/03/19. Walberswick, England: We’ve been having a #holiday from our #holiday today and #chillingout a bit. Back to the #packing tomorrow though!
16/03/19. Walberswick, England: It’s hard to imagine (and hopefully will become reality) that this #LandRover sat on my #childhood driveway will carry us to the other side of the world! #LeavingSoon
15/03/19. Walberswick, England: I’m sure we will meet lots of animals on our travels, but none quite like our pets here. #NoWeHaventQuiteLeftYet
14/03/19. Walberswick, England: #Expedition #packing has been slightly slowed today after spotting @teddysphotos (Ed Sheeran) in #ThorpeNess and trying to get a #selfie with him. I failed.
13/03/19. Walberswick, England: Change of plan – probably just going to stay here in paradise. We’ve got the beach, the pub and home cooked meals! What more could we need! 😂
12/03/19. Walberswick, England: Packing, packing, packing. It’s not too bad as we’ve written and refined a list over our last few trips, but we need to find everything after our house move last week! #NearlyThere
11/03/19. Walberswick, England: There’s not much that I’ll miss when we’re away, but a pint of #Adnams Bitter and #FishandChips at The Bell is probably one of them (they only count as one thing).
10/03/19. Barnham, England: We’ve had a bit of a #lazySunday and not left the house, so here’s a picture of the #Discovery from our #CoastToCoast #adventure last September. Looking forward to being reunited with her tomorrow.
09/03/19. Barnham, England: Going away card with a fairly accurate representation of our car (minus the crossbow) 🏹
08/03/19. Reading, England: Picking up some last minute supplies from our main expedition sponsor @ikeauk #PleaseSponsorUsIkea
07/03/19. Stotfold, England: Today has been an #admin kind of day. Unfortunately it can’t all be panoramic vistas and tales around the campfire, but hopefully there’ll be some of those soon!
06/03/19. Stotfold, England: A spot of #restandrelaxation (and also some #pool) on our #waydownsouth All part of our #MiniAdventure
05/03/19. Lincoln, England: Making our way down south, via a climb of #SteepHill in #Lincoln All part of our #MiniAdventure
04/03/19. Newcastle Upon Tyne, England: Although this is technically the start of our trip, it’s not really the beginning. It’s taken years of dreaming and planning to get to this point, but today it’s finally here. Next stop: Sydney Harbour Bridge, just like this one but upside down!
03/03/19. Walberswick, England : We’re off! Not exactly how we’d planned it, but really the car is only a small part of the trip and we’ll be back to pick her up soon enough! For now, it’s time for a Mini adventure Morocco: 6.10.18 – 29.10.18