‘Footloose’ in the ‘Lands of Stuck’

  At home, our home, we wonder. ‘How do we hold onto a journey that is too big to hold?’ Will it help if we give it a name? We’ll get to hug a thing with a name! I dig deep for a little name that alludes to hugeness. I get it. The name of…

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The Director is on the Roof

We need to crate our bikes and fly them out of Mongolia, back to Germany. My Harry will always find, home and away, the small business man with the fledgling business that provides excellent service at a good rate! These photos tell of this ‘lekker’ experience …                …

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Please meet Sibylle

Sibylle arrives in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia in 1995, 17 years ago.  She is a German nursery school teacher, in her mid-twenties. She responds to a plea by the President of Mongolia for international help. The unraveling of the Soviet Union, and the political liberation of Mongolia, is a disaster for Mongolia. Heavy Soviet subsidies disappear….

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A Tale of Four Cities

We keep piki-piki-ing along the Silk Road. Behind us; we have trade routes through wide deserts and high mountains. Before us; we have a trade route of Siberian furs and Chinese tea. And we sense an end. There is a fork in our road. We need to make a call; east to Vladivostok or south…

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The Secret Object

  Before we embarked on this trip we were often warned of Russian xenophobia and endless red tape. All as a result of the Soviet legacy. This was ” after all” historically  a closed country in which people could not leave or come freely. Suspicion of people from abroad, coming to Russia and doing something in Russia…

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Lake Baikal, south-eastern Siberia

Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake, curves like a crooked finger for nearly 600km through south-eastern Siberia, north of the Mongolian border. Surrounded by mile-high snowcapped mountains, Lake Baikal  offers vistas of unspoilt beauty.  The mountains are still a haven for wild animals, while the few small remote villages are still outposts…

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! Off to Siberia with You !

Siberia conjures up an image. ! a Land of Banishment ! a Prison of a Country ! a Hell on Earth ! Here Exiles and Troublemakers and Inmates fall off the face of the Earth. Here in Labour Colonies and Concentration Camps and Psychiatric Hospitals they expire. Here in the World’s Worst Weather they chop wood,…

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The Tuva Republic: Russia’s Tibet

The Republic of  Tuva is at  the very center of the Asian continent. Situated at the southern edge of Siberia, just north of Mongolia it is one of three autonomous regions within the Russian Federation. We decide at  the last moment to visit Tuva as the Naadym festival is taking place. It is here that we hope…

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A few photos from Kazakhstan

Here are a few more photos from Kazakhstan …                                                                                

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Stronger than Death

What is ‘stronger than death’? … hope, love, birth, belief … Today, I say Kazakhs! The word Kazakh means ‘free-warrior’ and ‘steppe roamer’. Imagine these descendants of Genghis Khan; proud hordes of nomadic animal herders on horseback. The world’s last nomadic empire! Until … the communist take-over in 1920 … They are pushed one step…

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