‘Footloose’ in the ‘Lands of Stuck’

By |2022-09-07T15:58:08+02:00November 24, 2012|Germany to Vladivostok|

  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 our journey is ‘Footloose in the Lands of Stuck’. FOOTLOOSE …   This is what you are on a motorbike. I pick up my feet to place them on [...]

The Director is on the Roof

By |2022-09-07T15:58:19+02:00November 20, 2012|Germany to Vladivostok|

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 …   Harry finds Tserendug. Tserendug has recently returned to Mongolia (after working in England & Russia for a few years) to start his own freight forwarding company.   Harry and Tserendug agree that [...]

Please meet Sibylle

By |2022-09-07T15:58:31+02:00November 12, 2012|Germany to Vladivostok|

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. An electricity blackout lasts for years. Food supplies stop. The economy withers then collapses. Temperatures drop to minus 30 degrees Celsius in the coldest capital in the world, [...]

A Tale of Four Cities

By |2022-09-07T15:58:47+02:00November 9, 2012|Germany to Vladivostok|

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 to Mongolia. And just like the Silk roaders before us … we let Politics, Economics, and Weather decide. There is an Asian Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) in Vladivostok. [...]

The Secret Object

By |2022-09-07T15:59:02+02:00November 7, 2012|Germany to Vladivostok|

  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 would supposedly be the norm. Our experience to date has been anything but. Wherever we go people have been friendly, cheerful, giving and genuinely interested, regardless of the language [...]

Lake Baikal, south-eastern Siberia

By |2022-09-07T15:59:14+02:00November 2, 2012|Germany to Vladivostok|

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 of tranquility untouched by tourism. Its age and isolation have produced one of the world's richest and most unusual freshwater faunas For us it was a must see [...]

! Off to Siberia with You !

By |2022-09-07T15:59:28+02:00October 21, 2012|Germany to Vladivostok|

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, lay railway tracks, work in mines and build factories. Yet all we see Here is a Land of Plenty ! Plenty of Wheat ! Plenty of Sunflowers ! [...]

The Tuva Republic: Russia’s Tibet

By |2022-09-07T15:59:43+02:00October 16, 2012|Germany to Vladivostok|

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 to see  throat singing, or khoomei .   This entails producing two notes at the same time, one a vibrating hum the other a quaver, all from the throat. [...]

A few photos from Kazakhstan

By |2022-09-07T15:59:55+02:00October 8, 2012|Germany to Vladivostok|

Here are a few more photos from Kazakhstan ... Kazakhstan is the world's 9th biggest country. Most of it is made up of 'steppes' like this.   ...   So when you see a guy like this on the road ... you stop to chat.   He sells fish he caught in a small lake nearby. He has also smoked the fish.   ...   Kazakhstan's two big cities stand in strong [...]

Stronger than Death

By |2022-09-07T16:07:57+02:00October 3, 2012|Germany to Vladivostok|

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 up the Marxist evolutionary ladder to become ‘settled farmers in new collectives’. But they slaughter their herds rather than hand them over to state control. And unused to [...]

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