Last updated: Olgii, western Mongolia
Fly our route with Google Earth
If you have broadband you can download Google Earth and fly over our route by opening our GPS (Global Positioning System) track log in Google Earth. The Google website explains how to do this if you aren't sure. Google Earth is incredible!
The route runs from London to Olgii, just inside the border with Mongolia, but with a gap between Austria and Bulgaria. Waypoints are marked to show interesting spots. Most are self explanatory. Night stops are marked by waypoints as N0823 i.e. Night stop Aug-23. If a date is missing it is because we have stayed at the previous spot for more than one night. A couple of times we didn't stop at all: Romania and NE Turkey.
London - Fieberbrunn (Austria)
Distance: ~ 1200km
The easy start! Straight on to the ferry at Dover and from Calais we drove to Luxembourg were we slept on our first night in a layby next to the autobahn. Having left London late, it was pointless to go to Prague as everybody else had already left, so we headed straight to Andrea's hotel in Fieberbrunn, Austria.
Fieberbrunn, Austria - Constanta, Romania
In Hungary we left the Autobahn and had our first taste of A-roads. After 3 hours crossing into Romania we experienced our first extreme driving with pot holed roads, dangerous driving and outrageous overtaking. We drove through the Carpathian mountains overnight and arrived in Constanta early morning in order to spend a day on the Black Sea in Efforie Nord.
Constanta, Romania - Istanbul
The lack of distance on this leg was countered by the terrible road conditions and the lack of signs in major towns (and those that were there were in Cyrillic). Our average speed dropped and we made the Turkish border at 1am. Into Turkey the roads improved dramatically back to European style motorways.
Istanbul - Tbilisi, Georgia
From Istanbul and the Bosphorus we crossed into Asia and headed East along excellent motorway to North East Turkey. The roads soon deteriorated becoming steep and winding through the mountains. From Posof to Borjomi the pot holes were large enough to swallow the car. We even saw a huge crane that had toppled over. Once onto the main roads, the surface improved but the reckless driving illustrated why the roadside was littered with the crosses of road victims.
Tbilisi - Baku, Azerbaijan
From Tblisi it was a short drive but a 4 hour delay at the border into Azerbaijan. In Azerbaijan the roads were poor but we made it to the capital, Baku within a day to take a ferry across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan.
Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan - Ashgabat, Capital of Turkmenistan
From Turkmenbashi we headed South West towards Ashgabat along a road running parallel to the Iranian border, at times only 7km away. Crossing the edge of the Karakum desert, the temperature at lunchtime hit 47 degrees celsius. Our journey was hampered by constant Police checkpoints. The landscape was barren with only the odd settlement with camels in between.
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan - Samarkand, Uzbekistan
With our visas extended we left Ashgabat and drove on a road cutting through sand dunes and savannah-like landscape. From the border town of Turkmenabat we crossed a pontoon bridge over the mighty Amu Darya river to reach the border and our escape to Uzbekistan.
Samarkand - Ulan Bator
Distance: ~3500 miles
The longest leg of the journey takes us through Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and a dog leg into Russia to enable us to get across the Mongolian border. Recent violence in the eastern parts of Uzbekistan will mean that we will have to monitor the situation in this area. However, we do not expect to be driving through this area until mid-late September. Furthermore, delays in obtaining visas may prevent us from crossing into Kyrgyzstan.
Through Mongolia, we will be using GPS (Ger Positioning System!) to navigate through the largely roadless landscape to our final destination of Ulan Bator.
On arrival, the car will be donated to a charity for disabled children.