It occurred to me that followers of the blog who join along the way won't know what we are doing (and for those friends who didn't pay attention when I was endlessly going on) thought we would just go over the route and what we hope to achieve in leg one
Once the decision had been made to commit to this adventure we had to pin down a route to go around the world– now if you look at a map of the world it looks very easy to pick your route across the countries you would like to visit to get from A to B in reality it is not easy at all!
You have to consider visas, borders, countries to avoid due to political unrest, borders, the time of year you will be in the particular country and borders ! Yes borders are a bit pain in the proverbial some are not open to international travellers, and they are invariably never where you want them to be.
Our route has changed more times than I care to remember, originally we were going to drive to Vladivostok (hankering back to our original idea of taking the Trans Siberian express) however this would mean we would end up shipping over to America and arriving in the States during their winter, this isn’t what we wanted to do, so plan B leaps into action and is what we have finally decided on:
Leg one is the most detailed part of the journey so far, as it’s too difficult too plan so far in advance for the other parts of the journey so we will plan Legs two and three en route – all routes are proposed and who knows how closely we will stick to them! If all goes to plan we leave the UK on 19th April
Leg one – France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, will be fairly rushed through Croatia and Montenegro we would like to linger a little. Then onwards through Albania, Greece and arrive in Turkey where we will spend a few days in Istanbul before we meander down to Kas where we have a lovely friend who has a lovely villa with an infinity pool but more importantly a washing machine and toilet!!
We will then head off in search of Troglodytes in Cappadocia for a few days before picking up James (number two son) in Ankara. James isn’t the only thing we will be picking up as we have to get our Uzbek visas here as well. We then strike north and will travel along the black sea coast and into Georgia, I haven’t research too much about it but understand it is supposed to be stunning and produces very good wine apparently, you can count on more of that being reported on!
Azerbaijan on the other hand only seems to be famous for the European Song Contest and grumpy and corrupt police however we will have to make up our own minds on that one. The most important thing about Azerbaijan is that it has the ferry where we will cross into Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan looks to be exciting as we have to be escorted through the country by an official government guide– The guide will be with us in the car for the whole time other than when we are in the capital where are deemed to be allowed to roam free! We are here for 5 day before we cross the border to Uzbekistan.
In Uzbekistan we hope to visit the ever shrinking Aral sea, before our culture bombardment in Khiva, Bukhara and Samkarand – this is the heart of the silk route and if the guide books are anything to go by a bit of a showstopper.
After Uzbekistan we will move to the mountains and lakes of Kyrgyzstan – which gets me every time with the spelling and will therefore now be referred to as KY!!! Hopefully here we can get in a few days horse riding, along with some hiking and general outdoorsy stuff as we will be mostly wild camping. The great thing about KY is that it is a 60day visa free zone! So we are not as restricted as here as other places. Next stop Kazakhstan where we will say goodbye to James and he flys back to the UK ?
Kazakhstan we have to get through quickly as we only 15days visa free days. On to Russia or more precisely Siberia only here for a few days before we enter into Genghis Khan Territory and Mongolia.
We will have a month in Mongolia where we hope mostly - not to get lost! Tarmac and road signs are in short supply. We have to get our visas for China in Ulaanbaatar before meeting up with the group we are travelling through China with. Again we have to have a guide to take us through but we are travelling with 3 other vehicles so it may well be party time!
We exit China into Laos and transit into Thailand where we intend to find a small apartment and have a well earned rest for a couple of months. Hopefully Emily (daughter) and Matthew (number one son) will join us for Christmas.
A number of friends have also expressed an interest in visiting us while we are stationary and in living in a place that doesn’t have wheels, - I don’t know why they don’t want to make use of our “Guest Tent” when we are in the van – there is no pleasing some folk!
Here endeth leg one - if we have any money left and are still talking leg two will consist of travelling the pan american highway from north to south America
Let Three will be travelling up through Africa - however that is a long way off!