What an interesting night! It must have been about 4am when there were noises outside the vehicle. I thought, the cows have worked their way over to us. It sounded like a cow was nibbling the side of the wagon. But no cow noises? Oh well, better get up and see whats going on. No cows Anywhere! back into bed and opened the back door to be met by a bat, flying around in a frenzy. When we got up much later, there was no sign of it. I thought, it’s found its way out, as it had, in. Packing the Caranex up and out it flew.
Well, we are in Siberia, Jen tells me. Could have fooled me. I thought Siberia was covered in snow, ice, and full of political prisoners. Gulags and a few tigers. This part of Siberia seems to have none of those, though you cant always tell. It is the most productive part of Russia we have seen to date. You could have imagined yourself in France. Crops of all descriptions. huge well tended fields of them. The roads are great and the cars, modern, even if a good percentage of them originate as second hand from Japan. Right hand drive. It’s a beautiful day of 30deg C. My vision of Russia was, the further east you go, the more primitive. How wrong can you be.
We are headed for Mongolia. There is a tempting shortcut that would cut several hundred k’s off the trip but there are several roads on the map that don’t quite connect. Close, but not connecting. Should we risk it? You will know my answer to that by now. Jen has much more common sense and this time, she wins…:) So we are now in Barnaul (Barnowl, Barnall?). Population 600,000+. On the river Ob. It’s a very modern looking city. My first impressions when driving over the river and seeing the riverside development, Vancouver. With ultra modern tower blocks. Below, people enjoying a swim in the river and walking on the wide promenades.
We have topped up with diesel and Jen is doing a larder restock in a supermarket. Clocks have gone forward another hour but because of the great roads, we have done 202 miles and it’s time to stop for the night. This time we have chosen a grassy area amongst a thicket of silver birch. There is time to set up camp and read for a bit, before meal time. This is a transitionary part of the trip. Once in Mongolia there will be time for exploration. we are looking forward to that.