Things have changed quite a bit since last post.
First the good news, we have our Uzbek and Tajik visas (including the GBAO permit that allows us to ride the famous Pamir Highway and Wakhan corridor, in Tajikistan).
We are now waiting for the Kazakh visas, for the second time. First time round, the agency turned down our application, as, for overland travellers, Kazakhstan demands visas for countries we will be in and out, and we did not have the Uzbek one!
With the situation in Ukraine deteriorating, we have decided to change our plans and avoid it, as we cannot be sure the borders will be open, even if the situation is calm. Normally, change of itinerary does not happen until we start our trips! It can happen due to weather or road conditions (snow for example), timing, protests/ politics…. I feel very sorry for what is happening in Ukraine and hope for a peaceful resolution.
For our trip, it means we have the option to either go north via Latvia, or South via Turkey.
The Latvia option is not great as we will come back that way, and it will be cold late April. So we have decided to ride south to Italy, pick up a ferry to Greece, then a ferry to Turkey. From there, we will ride toward the Black sea and follow the coast into Georgia. No visa required there!
Then cross Georgia and into Russia, making our way to Astrakhan. Then back to our initial route into Kazakhstan. Of course we hope the border will still be open between Georgia and Russia, by then.... Things are a bit tense....
It is a bit of a detour, and I am very aware that the timing will be tight. Remember, we are travelling on a couple of 125cc bikes, we will struggle to keep an average of 250km daily. We will need to stop for repairs, source parts, weather & road conditions etc… Mongolia is a long way, and we have to come back too.
We have not changed our fixed entry dates for the Stans:
We need now to pack everything and see how we are going to fit everything is our saddles bags…. That will be interesting!
That’s all for now. Starting to feel a bit apprehensive. It is going to be a big adventure! The Stans and Mongolia will not be a walk in the park! I hope I am not biting more than I can chew! Time will tell!
4 weeks to go!