Vladivostok (Russia), 28.09.2013
This morning Yuri, my agent, picked me up at the hotel. We drove through grey Vladivostok, there was no sun like on the previous days. We reached a backyard with plenty of containers around and there he was, the brown one with the car inside. Yuri cut the seals open, we untied the car, I connected the battery. The Evoque started right away and slowly I rolled out of the container into the daylight. Finally, we’re back!
For a moment I thought about starting off right away, but there were so many more things to do. At the next gas station I filled the two spare tanks and the car. Then I went in search of a car accessories center Svetlana had told me about. Today I saw a different side of Vladivostok, now that I could drive through it – the high rise residential area, the pre-Soviet center over the harbour, the outskirts. Somehow I found my way to the place, and bought two extra strong towing ropes to replace the ones that broke in India and some other stuff. Next stop was the supermarket, where I got two carts full of survival delicacies for the many days driving through nowhere and plenty of drinks. They even had some red wine from Europe and Armenian Cognac, for the cold nights. The car was in bitter need of a wash, especially from the inside. A thin brown layer of dust was all over every piece of interior, the luggage etc. I went to a car wash Yuri had shown me on the way, we unloaded the entire car and the Evoque got a shampoo and blow dry plus special interior care. While I waited, one of the guys from the car wash came speaking to me in broken English. We introduced each other, I explained him the route back to Spain. He told me to tell Iker Casillas, Real Madrid’s keeper, that “Kyrill from Vladivostok says hello!”
In the evening I went for a farewell dinner. A Georgian restaurant I had found was full, one of the many weddings in town on this Saturday had booked it completely. But next door was a rustic local restaurant that on first sight seemed more like a beer cellar. The marinated herring with onions came in a thick jar and with crispy rye bread with a touch of garlic. Deer and Toscana red wine closed the dinner, and happy (guess what!) I went back to the hotel to close this day. The next morning thousands of km of wilderness were waiting and I wanted to hit the road early.
Tomorrow morning when I’ll hit the road hopefully in the early morning, the last big chapter of this journey will start: the way back. 20-25.000 km across some 10 countries lie ahead, many of them through complete wilderness (Russia) or deserts (Mongolia, Kazakhstan). I’m very excited about every single part of it and hope the weather won’t treat me too bad. I heard about snow on many places ahead that has already fallen. Having to drive without sat phone (Indian customs stole if some weeks ago) is a bit worrying, but the iPad got a GPS navigation app installed and I’ve been downloading maps for weeks now, as much as the Internet connections on the road allowed for. In a way it feels a bit sad, like this adventure and experience is coming to an end. There have been many days that I wished to wake up in a place called home and not having to worry about checkout, flight or the road. But now I want this trip to never stop. The grass is always greener on the other side.