The Caucasus

Ikalto, 30.07.2019 The Caucasus mountains divide Europe from Asia between the Black and Caspian seas. Driving back I wanted to check out the mountain range. Unfortunately manmade borders and political issues put up a few restrictions. There is only one border between Russia and Georgia open at the moment, as the two countries are in …

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Flying parts

Tashkent, 17.07.2019 The only official BMW dealer in Uzbekistan was unlike the other ones I had found in other countries. There are about 2000 BMWs in the country, 1300 of these "new". The overwhelming majority drive around in Tashkent. I didn't see a single Mini around here. But a lot of the BMWs I had …

In Asia

Nur-Sultan, 20.06.2019 The moment the Mini rolled out of the mountainous Urals the change in Landscape became immediately noticeable. The flat plains were a lot drier, the trees started to disappear. The heat in the sunshine helped probably, but the memories of my time in Central Asia in 2013 came up fast. The faces on …

Searching for Varikino – part two

Kurgan, 18.06.2019 After yesterday's afternoon events at the checkpoint my first thought was to get out of Russia fast and drive into Kazakhstan the next day. The next morning I thought about this again. I had made a mistake, it was solved. I wouldn't have a few policemen derail my plan of places to see …

Off limits

Chelyabinsk, 16.06.2019 Leaving Yekaterinburg to the South, after an hour I left the main highway to drive towards what Wikipedia and Google maps in terrain view had promised as a more mountain-like landscape than the previous day. I had also found out during my research that nearby was a "closed city" by the name of …

Searching for Varikino – part one

Yekaterinburg, 15.06.2019 Since the first time I saw David Lean's cinema epic based on Pasternak's novel, the images of the fictitious Varikino estate in the Urals fascinated me. The Urals of the movie were filmed in Spain though. I had always wanted to find out how the real Urals looked like, the land border between …

Gulag

Perm-36, 15.06.2019 About 120km north-east of Perm, in a hilly landscape on a slope of the river Chisovaya, a few minutes off the northernmost tarred road crossing the Ural, lied Perm 36. This former Gulag lager got converted into a memorial for the victims of political repression. It's the only camp I found available to …