Our plan is to leave Nijmegen and get out of Europe as fast as we can crossing 9 countries in about 48 hours. After this, the real adventure begins!
Our quest through Persia will first go through eastern Turkey before we hit Georgia, Armenia and Azarbaijan. We then wanted to pass under the Caspian Sea through Iran, however, a carnet de passage (visa for Boris) is necessary costing us a leg and a half. Which is not a option. Tom drolely said "I don’t particularily have to see Iran. Do you?"
Our next possibility is to go to Baku and take the ferry to Turkenbasy (Turkenistan) which is suposidly awesome with sunsets to die for. However, after some research it seems to be impossible to book the ferry beforehand, to know how many ferries are supposed to leave the port, if any, how many places there are on a single ferry, when they are supposed to leave, how long the journey takes (it varies exeedlingly) and what the price is.
All in all it seemed like a great gamble we weren’t particularily wanting to take, so now the plan is to drive Northbound round the Caspian Sea. It’s a bit of a detour but Boris will probably feel right at home in the old USSR.
Passing through Russia, Kazachstan and Uzbekistan we absolutely have to make another detour through Turkmenistan to Derweze, where we shall go to The Door of Hell (tum tum TUUUUMMMM).
"The Derweze area is rich in natural gas. While drilling in 1971, Soviet geologists tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of 70 metres. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided the best solution was to burn it off. Geologists had hoped the fire would use all the fuel in a matter of days, but the gas is still burning today. Locals have dubbed the cavern "The Door to Hell"."
After this quick firy encouter (where another team is planning on having a mad-hatter-tea-party by the way), it’s back to Uzbekistan for us! And onward ho!
Next stop, Tajikistan, just to get another stamp and visa before hitting Uzbekistan yet again. We just can’t get enough of Uzi. Kyrgyzstan is next and apparently doesn’t have very good roads, but the scenary makes up for the ratteling of your entire body. We then push on through a small bit of Kazachstan before we dive into CHINA! It seems that all other teams are avoiding our huge red brother, but not we! We are going to push Boris all the way to the Great Wall before heading north to Mongolia for our last leg.
Ulan Ude: H E R E W E C O M E