The updates have been a little thin up till now, due to lack of internets and general ‘I’m sleeping in a tent and tired’ syndrome, but now we have made it! The Mongol Rally is all over for the Khangaroos.
Not entirely a smooth ending though. Our faithful Suzuki Carry bit the proverbial dust around 100 kilometres outside of Khovd, Mongolia. Broken suspension two days in a row and engine mounts almost non-existent. Our convoy continued on without us while we loaded onto the back of a large truck and began a 20km/h crawl back to town. While we would have preferred to make it all the way to the end, at least we made it into the final country. One night later, a short flight with Mongolian Air, and we were in Ulaanbaatar.
So for now we are shacked up in a small hotel room, with our classy cardboard Mongol Rally certificates, waiting for the rest of our convoy to arrive. Hopefully before we fly out to Thailand. While Ulaanbaatar does have a certain charm to it, we can understand why most teams only spend a couple of days here.
While I won’t say that the rally has been a life-changing experience, it has provided a definite level of growth for us all. We met some awesome people that we will continue to keep in contact with, done many things we may regret in the future, and done many more things that we would have regretted had we not done them.
To the teams we have travelled with, you have all been amazing. Though above all, The Mad Hatters, who had been with us since the train to France, you have made our rally truly amazing. Only at the end when you could not turn back did we part. Hopefully we see you soon.
We have now travelled to countries that we never even imagined flying over, done things we never though possible, and met some of the greatest people from around the world. For all of you out there, I highly suggest taking part in the Mongol Rally. At times you will hate it, but most of the time you will love everything about it. When it’s all over you will be happy, but also saddened that it could not go on longer or wish that you could have done something differently.
No matter though, there is always next year.
We, kinda more from the appendix. After a long, long couple of weeks we are finally back. In the time that has passed we have been through Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and now Russia. None of them we really what we were expecting.
Iran was a beautiful country with amazing people. Right from the minute we arrived and began to set up camp, the locals started coming up to talk to us, offer us food and invited us to meet their families. The first night we camped at a park in Tabriz (which was devastated by an earthquake just the other day). Other than the lightning storm at 3am it was quite a nice experience. All slept well after a hearty meal and fresh fruit given to us by some of the families having dinner in the park. Of all things the locals are interested to know what we think of their country, though very reluctant to say what they think of their government.
Next stop was Tehran. Just another big city really, though with about 500 cars trying to drive in a gap of only 5 metres. It makes the carnival bumper cars seem a lot tamer.
Well, we are running out of time, so I promise to finish this update in the next day or so. Till next time.
Straight to you from the heart of Sivas, Turkey. Yeah, we didn’t know where it was either till we came here.
After exploring Istanbul for a couple of days we made our way with fellow ralliers The Mongol Rally Roos, down to Gallipoli and ANZAC cove to make the pilgrimage that most Aussies & Kiwis make in their lifetime. It was a suprisingly moving experience, especially once you have seen it with your own eyes.
Later on we followed it up with a quick dip in the ocean before catching a ferry down the Dardanelles to continue our trip further east through Turkey. Not a bad way to spend a day, swimming in the mediterranean and then drinking apple tea while watching the world go by. Though not beign fully satisfied with our progress, we decided to push on through the night and make it as far as we could to cover lost time. We hope it’s a once off thing…
When morning came we enjoyed a cup of coffee while watching the sun rise over the landscape, then drove on ahead to Cappadocia. Not a bad place to check out if you get the chance. Last night we finally arrived in Sivas and spent the night here. It’s becoming quitte obvious that we soon need to make the change to long pants and shoes. Our shorts and thongs and starting to get a few strange looks.
Till, next time. Most likely from the border of Iran.
It’s been another few long days once again, but we are slowly getting used to it.
After making it to Romania we decided not to drive over the Transfagara-whatever road, and instead drive over the Transalpina. It was a good choice. Quite easily the most spectacular road in the world to drive on, right up in the mountains it is amazingly picturesque. Though it was not without it’s downfalls. The Leamongols clutch decided to stop working half way up the steepest hill, but it only took a few minutes, some fencing wire, and 7 people to push start the thing up hill.
Next time I think we’ll just fly over them.
Once we got down the mountains and after a few (many) wrong turns, we made it to the Romanian beach party, organised by the Fire Faires. It was a long, long night. Only ending once the sun came up and the bars all closed. Most stories from that night are not suitable to the put in writing…
Mid-afternoon, we and fellow Mongol Rally team, the Mad Hatters, set off for the long haul to Istanbul. A somewhat long wait at the Romanian-Bulgarian and we were on our way. Bulgaria was quite nice with lots of sea-side towns designed for tourists.
Through Bulgaria we met up with another team, the Mongol Rally Roos, who joined our littly convoy. Somehow we managed to find the longest, most we-might-get-murdered road to Turkey. Customs and border control was easy, but a very long process, which was quite tiring at around midnight. Once over the border, we finally found our way to Istanbul and our hotels at around 3am. Thank god for 24 hour check-in.
Today we are having a personal day around Istanbul, doing a little sight-seeing and relaxing before we once again head east, and into the real blood, sweat and tears portion of the rally. Turkey is a very nice country and the people are friendly. We may have to come back here once again when we have more time to explore.
Till, next time… or when we next gain web access. Happy rallying!
The rally for us is now well underway. In the last few days we have passed through a good part of Europe, coming from the UK launch, to the Czech out party, and now we are currently about 15 minutes over the border in Romania.
We had our first run in with police today in Hungary, though thankfully they were friendly and knew about the Mongol Rally and it was not long till we were once again on our way. But it is true that we would be a little furher along now if it was not for the long night we had in the Czech Republic. So much cheap beer and our feet still hurt from dancing.
A slight hiccup in Budapest when the hotel that we had already paid for was given away to some other guests! To say the least we were not impressed. Though on the bright side, we were upgraded to a slightly nicer hotel at no extra cost.
Just a short update this time as were are currently in the family home of some friends-of-friends. More stories and better details will come soon. We promise!
Hopefully in Turkey before too long and some decent driving in the desert.
After a hectic few days with final preparations, we have made it! We endured the rain-filled night of camping in Goodwood, attended the Festival of Slow, and are now waiting in the station for the Euro Tunnel train.
The pre-festival camping was a test of our willingness to camp. Muddy, cold and very wet. The rain persisted throughout most of the night, with a few of the teams tents giving in and filling with water. Proudly though, our little pop up job made it through the night. Morning was a little painful, waking at 6:30am. But soon we packed up and drove over to Goodwood race track for the beginning of the Mongol Rally.
At the festival we were surprised to see so many more teams than were at the camping the night before. But with the rain and mud, even we considered getting a cheap hotel for the night. Getting registered was a breeze and we went on to watch some Mongolian wrestling and mingle with the other teams. Before too long we were off from the race track and on our way to the Euro Tunnel and France.
For some reason we decided to follow another team we had talked to instead of following our GPS. Rookie mistake. We got somewhat side tracked around an hour, finally turning around and taking directions from the wonderful little computer.
So now we sit and wait. The train has been delayed an hour or so, but at least we didn’t choose to do the ferry.
For the times we don’t have internet access in Europe and further, you can follow our progress and updates here.
Till next time… from somewhere in Europe!
Two weeks in the Queen’s country and we now like to think we are fairly familiar with the place now. From Inverness to Bournemouth and Cardiff, we’ve done a good bit of pre-rally driving around. Quitely confident now that the car is all in order, other than a dodgy back door that sometimes refuses to open, we have almost everything sorted out. Just have to make a few stops for sleeping bags and some basic camping supplies.
We didn’t see the fabled monster at Loch Ness, but we got our first taste of haggis up in the Scottish highlands. For some reason I expected something spectacular, but it was really just more like a spicy sausage or mince. Also learnt that a Scottish breakfash, an English breakfast, and a Welsh breakfast are all pretty much the same. Though we are both now quite addicted to Irn-Bru. It’s a magical caffinated delight, comparable to liquid gold.
Now we are firmly looking down the barrel, only 6 days left till the launch of the Mongol Rally, and only 5 days till the pre-launch camping and drinking with our fellow teams.
More photos to come soon when we can be bothered to upload a few, but till then, hold tight and stories of adventure are soon to come.
Well, it’s the end of another few very long days. Having now driven almost the entire length of Brittan from Wales all the way up to Scotland. With our car and gear slowly getting sorted out, we realise the rally is now only 10 days away, which isn’t too bad really.
We had a nice little stop over in the well known seaside town of Blackpool. Along the beach front, it appears as though you have almost stepped back in time. The entire place looks like it is straight out of the early 1900′s, which is not a bad thing. Probably comparable to Cony Island in the USA, it is geared towards families and young couples. Though we only saw the beach front area by day, it’s easy to picture how amazing it would look on a good night. Be sure to visit in the summer.
A resort town through and through, hotels and restaurants line almost every street. Ourselves choosing to eat at Truffles Restaurant and Steakhouse. We discovered quickly after arriving here that it’s hard to find a good steak in England, but the good folks there sorted us out quickly with some damn good food, and were also extra friendly and up for a good chat. Be sure to drop by and say hello if you are ever in the area.
Actually just realised we went through Wales before arriving in Blackpool. Not a bad place at all. Though it was quite rainy when we went through, and just did a drive-by tour of Cardiff.
Currently we are residing at Inverness up in Scotland. A friendly town full of little B&B’s. Hopefully tomorrow we have time to wrestle down the loch-ness monster and convince it to come along with us to fight a Mongolian death worm.
We’ll let you know how it turns out…
Well, a few good days into our English escape before the beginning of the rally and already we have done so much, with so much more to do.
First of all, we picked up our trusty steed and mobile home for the next few months. Just like any faithful companion, she has curves in all the right places and is sure to keep it all together if we get into a bind. Though… the lighter outlet currently doesn’t get any power. Minor detail though which will soon be fixed. It is with great pride though, we have christened her ‘Africa’. Through a couple of late nights and plenty of deep thought, we came up with the name because it was strangely written on one of the key tags. Works for us.
Currently, we are residing at the bittersweet, yet nice seaside town of Bournemouth. Strangely full of people on stag and hen’s nights, even a few dressed as oompa loompas. Our hotel seems to somewhat resemble Fawlty Towers, from the classicly old (but beautiful) building, to befuddled old residents, and even a bartender/porter called Manuel. Seriously.
In the past few days, we have explored London and it’s sights, which are all that is to be expected. But we have been most impressed at what the rest of the country has to offer. From the picturesque country side, to Stonehenge, and our happy discovery of Salisbury and the catherdral there in which resides the Magna Carta. The Salisbury Cathedral is by far the most impressive church that we have ever encountered, by all meanings of the word. We even spent a few minutes in a local park inhabited by happy (possibly diseased) squirrels.
Back to looking after our now dear Africa though, we began construction of the roof rack and basket which we purchased for a bargain on eBay of all places. As we proceeded with the task of putting the roof rack together in the hotels’ garden, we found out quickly that the included alan key was not quite up to the task that it was intended for. Luckily though, we rememberd that our new favourite English shop ASDA, not only stocked alan keys for cheap, it was open 24 hours. Quickly making our way there, a large sign alerted us that Sunday is the only day it closes at night.
So, we have one dodgy car power source for our electronics, an old hotel full of old Englishmen joking about the war and Nazi soldiers with Manuel… and a partially built roof rack. Looks like the Mongol Rally effect is already underway, our adventure has begun with just under two weeks till the rally launch.
See you all soon!
Well, it took some effort, but we are finally here. Day 3 and our first update since arriving. After travelling for around 30 hours, including flights and stop-overs we basically slept and stumbled through London for the first day or so. But now we have the grasp of things, drinking in Irish pubs and eating at French restaurants… well, all the other English people seem to do it too.
The last day and a half have been a whirlwind tour of London, because tomorrow we are off to collect our car and take it on a nice little drive through the country side, and maybe over to Amsterdam. Not a bad test run before the rally begins.
Two weeks now till we see all of you in Goodwood. Hopefully we have all the kinks worked out, but even if we don’t it will just make things a little more interesting.