We hadn’t seen another Mongol Rally vehicle since the Czech Out party just across the border of the Czech Republic. Since we had spent and extra day there to go on a Segway Tour in Prague, we were sure that most people were at least a day ahead of us.

Take a couple of route changes, some long days of driving in bad weather, rough roads and some detours to visit friends, and we were positive that everyone else was half way to Mongolia while we had barely scratched the surface of our route.

Welcome To Kiev

 

Kiev_Ukraine_mongol_rally

The beautiful city of Kiev, Ukraine

We were in Kiev for two nights to sort out the details of getting our car ownership papers sent to us from England. They had arrived the day earlier at Danny’s (our English contact who bought the car for us through AllWays Rentals in New Zealand – Long Story) We were originally going to have it FedExed to our hotel in Kiev but Danny told us that the fastest delivery would be 5 days. That was way too long for us to wait around, so we had him scan a copy of our papers and send the documents through email.

Hope it is enough to get through the Russian border. We’ll know soon enough.

When we woke up the next morning we were packing our car to move apartments to a fabulous flat provided by roomorama. If only we had our act together enough the day before we could have had this dream pad for our entire stay in Kiev. It was a massive and elegant 2 bedroom apartment with kitchen, living room, gorgeous bathroom and laundry. I would have loved to stay there for a week.

apartment-interior-kiev-ukraine

Lucky we did move though because we found a note on our car from the team Busted Compass.

Note from Busted Compass: “Guys you are a sight for sore Irish eyes. We are staying beside O’Briens.”

We made plans through facebook to meet up at the pub that night and that is when we found out that we aren’t alone at the back of the pack. As a matter a fact, we’re doing quite well.

There were five teams meeting up in Kiev.

Busted Compass, Anthony’s Adventure, Teams Otschir, The Social Media Syndicate (that’s us) and the Fighting Trousers. What are the odds that everyone would find each other in the middle of the Ukraine.

Poor team Busted Compass had been in Kiev for a few days and had a few more to go while they waited for a part to come for their ambulance. Adventurous Andrew had some motorbike problems so he hitched a ride with his fellow countrymen and the 3 of them had a grand old time partying like the Irish do in Kiev.

It was fantastic to talk about the triumphs, trials and tribulations of the rally. Many teams are having problems and it was here that we learned that foregoing the ambulance was probably a good idea. People driving them have had nothing but troubles.

mongol-rally-team-meet-up-kiev

Other teams have had break downs and many have taken wrong turns. We found out that people are still stuck in Belgium and Germany, Czech Republic and Romania. One team was in a head on collision with a driver driving down the wrong way on a one-way street and totally wrote their car off. Luckily they were ok and no serious injuries.

We also found out that other teams are going fast and strong and are already entering Mongolia and Kazakhstan. So we are holding steady at somewhere in the middle of the pack.

It is comforting to see other people that are travelling the same route as you and taking part in the same adventure.

We learned that we aren’t losers, (or at least the only losers)

Remember when I told you about our 6-hour Odessa Hotel Odyssey?  Other teams too have taken hours to find hotels. Some have given up trying when entering a city and ended up staying in a 5 star hotel just to get it over with. Everyone seems to be having the same frustrations too.

As exciting as this adventure is, it is a very long time in the car each day. When we asked one team if they were having fun, they had the same reaction that we always do. Take a deep breath and think about it…. “It’s been a challenge.”

mongol rally kiev

Everyone has taken hours at border crossings, having difficulty finding campsites, taking wrong turns onto challenging roads, had car problems, have had to pay bribes and have had speeding tickets.  One team told us that the Ukrainian police told them that they went from 60 km to 144 km in just a few seconds. Not bad for a 1.4 litre loaded down Nissan Micra. So yes, corruption is a problem too.

We’re all not as far along as we’d like to be, but we all agree equally that we wouldn’t change a thing. This is a very cool journey not only to experience, but to write about. We all have had the same question directed at us as well…

“Why are you doing the Mongol Rally?”

“Because we can! And because it is an awesome adventure to see 1/3 of the world in one long shot!

 

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9 Comments

  1. Gray

    This probably dates me, but this sounds like the Cannonball Run. :-) You all are going to have so many great stories to tell when all is said and done. Those guys in the head-on were quite lucky to walk away from that.

  2. Debbie Beardsley

    I too am loving following you as you cross all those countries! As hard as we might try to not compare ourselves with others, we do and it is comforting to know where you stand. Keep ‘em coming.

  3. Lois

    Well I’m like the rest of the followers – enjoying it immensely. It’s great to see that you have made it to Kiev – WELL DONE! I can’t wait to talk to you both via Skype when you get a chance – Kieve looks beautiful – Dave take lots of pictures – you seem to be making great time – do you know what your approx. ETA in Mongolia is (barring any major problems)? Love you both (say Hi to Rick & Sherry )be safe and talk to you soon – Love Mom

  4. Marie S.

    Just found this blog- great post! The pictures of the flat in Kiev looks great. Did you have any problems staying with Roomorama?

  5. George

    I always wondering why all ex-pats are so crazy about o’Briens. In my opinion there are many other very good restaurants with great atmosphere in Kiev.
    But talking to anybody first you hear is obriens:) Maybe I didn’t visit for a long time?

    1. davendeb

      Hi George, it’s funny. Maybe because it is easy to get to and so central. We just got the note to meet at O’briens. This team was from Ireland, so that is probably why they picked it:-)

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