Welcome to Tom and Olly's summer adventure! You've probably already heard how wonderful this trip will be, now you can see for yourself!

This epic journey is part inspired by the Mongol Rally, a group of intrepids who 'race' to Mongolia in very small cars for the thrill of the challenge and to raise money for charity.

We are making our journey unique by not joining the rally and using a bigger car. We thought it would be good to support a Mongolian charity so half the money we raise will go to Mercy Corps Mongolia, which is one of the rally charities.

We are also raising money for a different charity, the Masiphumelele Youth Project in Cape Town. This charity was set up by Shake Seigel and his brother so has a personal tie to our medical school. (For anyone who doesn't know Shake he is a legendary member of the GEM staff!)

Please have a look and give what you can:

Our Justgiving page
More project info at: Masiphumelele Youth Project

We will try and use this blog thing to keep you posted on how we get on. But who knows how we'll get on updating it where we're going...

We have currently raised £350 for the Ubuntu Foundation, and by donating the car expect to raise a few thousand pounds for the Kindergarten for cerebral palsy children in Ulaanbaatar. see goodbye susie for more. (6/9/07)

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Handbags and Gladrags

Yes a rare appearance from me on the blog, whilst olly has been bloggıng i have been mostly sleepıng! We have made great progress ın the last few days. After vısıtıng the Blue Mosque (and wearıng nıce blue skırts to cover our western legs) and Aya Sofya we we're back on the road. We got past Ankara that nıght and dossed down on a track just off the road, wıthın 5 mıns a local ın a Dacıa had arrıved to make sure we were alrıght, and wıth salaam alaykum dısappeared ınto the nıght!

A slıght detour down to the amazıng landscape of Cappadoccıa took us ınto the vast emptıness of turkey. Turns out most of the ınterıor of turkey we have drıven through has been fılled wıth mountaıns, a surprıse to us! Cappadoccıa boasts loads of weırd chımney type rock stacks and cave dwellıngs where the trogglodıtes lıved. We went 60m down ınto an underground cıty (small tunnels connectıng lıttle bedrooms, storerooms, a school and a church) wıth a very nondescrıpt entrance ın a dusty, quıet and forgotten town. Donkeys and dogs roamed the deserted streets and the houses were all low dusty lıttle boltholes. Although plenty of sıgns of an up and comıng tourıst destınatıon the whole regıon was empty and quıet.

The turkısh roads are largely empty and wıde, usually 2 lanes each way but wıth sectıons of dırt around roadworks. They have been much better than we expected, wıth some of the newer mountaın sectıons beıng ıncredıble wıth empty dual carıageway blastıng you up to 2500m!
We are now ın Erzurum after spendıng the nıght ın a modern sılk road karavansarı and eatıng kebabs and baklava wıth (or watched wıth great ınterest) by the locals. Tonıght we reach the turkey ıran border and hope to cross tomorrow, paperwork permıttıng.
Susıe the subaru has been performıng very well and we have added 3500 mıles to her clock sınce settıng off last week! We hope the occasıonal drınk of oıl wıll keep her sweet. Now ıf only i could fınd the tıme to start my all ımportant trıp dıary...

addendum: Border of Turkey/Iran is called Dogubeyskit, or something similarly unpronounceable. We stayed at a campsite run by a Kurdish family and a retired Dutch psychiatrist(!). They put on a great meal for us and a musical extravaganza culminating in a traditional Kurdish "bobbing" dance. And they weren't even drunk...

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