Two old idiots driving a 15 year old Bentley from Hamburg through Europe and Asia to Siberia.

20.000km across some 14 countries in 2 months arriving in Vladivostok (with a bit of luck)

The ROAD to VLADIVOSTOK


The ROAD to VLADIVOSTOK (Where ?): From Hamburg via the Balkans, Turkey, over the Caspian Sea through a few Stans, Mongolia and Russia.

Departure date : POSTPONED til 17 JULY 2021 Return : Perhaps ! but should be end of September by plane either in a seat or a coffin.

Where are we going to go ? This we do not really know, but our initial planning is to start from Hamburg with every one else cos that’s where they give out the roadbook and various other bits of information including most importantly the whereabouts of the parties along the road. We will then go down through Germany (obviously), Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria (We are banking on the « Leaving Europe » party being in Bulgaria overlooking the Black Sea). Then over the Bosphorus by ferry, no bridges for us, then Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and then another ferry across the Caspian Sea from Baku to Turkmenbashi. Apparently it is impossible to know when and where the ferry leaves or even how long it takes, so that is a big unknown, amongst others.

We are not going through Iran as they will not let us in with a luxury car and also we have a 6 litre engine and they put a limit of 2.5 litres. And they don’t like former Britons too much. This is extremely unsporting of them.

If our ferry manages to get across the Caspian Sea we should arrive in Turkmenistan and onward through Uzbekistan (Tashkent and Samarkand), Kazakstan, Russia, Mongolia and Russia (Siberia) again. These last few countries actually represent the longest part of the trip and will really test the Bentley’s suspension but no doubt there will be some likely lad around who will know what to do about it.

We will probably buy a tent and some of the necessities of camping, but our intention is to use hotels along the way. This should then be the the subject of a separate report or possibly series of complaints !

The whole trip should take about 2 months or less. It is not a race but we are supposed to arrive before the end of September. If we are having too much of a good time we may take longer.

WHO ARE THE BENTLEY BOYS ?


Who are we ? We are 2 friends who have known each other for something like 35 years. We met in Paris, where we were both living and working at the time.

DAVID LAIRD : David is from Glasgow in Scotland (in case you don’t know where Glasgow is) and has lived in England, Switzerland, France and Germany. He now lives half the year in Freiburg in Germany and half the year in the Far East between Langkawi in Malaysia and Khao Lak in Thailand. He has spent the last 3 years confirming that work was actually never really his thing. And finally he resigned himself to a German passport - Brexit gave him no choice.

GERHARD WINDORFER : Gerhard is from Munich (which I believe is in Austria) and has lived in France, but now lives again in Munich and spends a lot of time in Leogang in Austria. Gerhard does claim to work but there is no substantive proof of this. At the time of writing he is on his way to New Zealand, to take his youngest son to university there and then goes on to tour the Marquesas Islands on a sort of cargo/cruise ship.

Originally we wanted to take the Trans Siberian Express from Peking to Europe, but then we found out about the Atlantic Pacific Overland Drive and decided that it would be much more fun to drive from Hamburg to Vladivostok. We started looking at Land Rovers and Toyota Landcruisers but that seemed to be too banal for us. Somehow we decided on a Bentley Continental. This is clearly the wrong type of car for this trip : it is expensive to buy ; it is very expensive to run (15-20 l/100km) and it is very expensive to repair (Not that a Bentley ever breaks down ! )
As Gerhard and I have no idea about repairs, we will have to rely on Mohamed and Igor and Ivan et al, along the way to do the repairs. The boot is too small for all the kit (and I may not be allowed to take my golf clubs), However the Bentley does have 4 wheel drive, certainly enough power to go up and down the Altai mountains, it has features allowing it to raise and lower and stiffen or soften the suspension - but above all : IT IS REALLY COMFORTABLE. Our old bones need to travel in comfort.

HELP US GIVE SOME MONEY TO CHARITY


Two old Idiots driving to Vladivostok in a Bentley

Obviously it would be more sensible to go in a Land Rover or a Landcruiser, but that would be rather banal and everybody does it that way. We are far too old and used to comfort to go slumming it in an old 4 wheel drive so we have got ourselves a Bentley Continental. Our trip is part of the Atlantic Pacific Overland Drive : a rally starting in Hamburg and ending in Vladivostok. There should be around 200 teams starting.

The rally regulations are :
The car must be at least 15 years old - Our beautiful Bentley is exactly 15 years old.
No GPS: The Bentley has a stone age GPS, which does not really work very well, even here in Germany, so it certainly would struggle in Turkmenistan.
No motorways: Or at least very few - So no cruising the Bentley at 300km/h Snif ! Snif ! But just what constitutes a motorway in Uzbekistan must be very debatable.

Our plan is to visit interesting and unusual places along the way, meet interesting people from each country, and as we both enjoy eating and drinking, we will try out the national dishes and drinks in each country. This should definitely be something for us to bore people with for years to come.

Whilst we are financing the trip ourselves, part of the rules are that we must raise some money for charity. We have chosen the following charity :
SAFE CHILD THAILAND
https://www.safechildthailand.org/donate/
Or :
IBAN : GB86 BOFS 8011 0006 0381 92 BIC : BOFSGB21012 Bank of Scotland
Please let us know how much you have donated so that we can thank you and mention you here.
Anyone, any firm, or any other organisation who wishes to sponsor our trip will in fact be giving to this charity:
Please contact us at :
d.laird@yahoo.com
g.windorfer@gwkom.eu

If anyone has a particular present or product that they would like us to take with us to give away or test, please let us know.

If you choose to sponsor you will get a mention here : X marks the spot.
Thanks to Alida Filippi for her donation

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