Trabant Trek - Crossing the World in a Plastic Car

Trabant Trek - Crossing the World in a Plastic Car

Dan Murdoch

Language: English

Pages: 320


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Cambodia is a long way from Germany - thousands of miles, as it turns out. And in between are some of the world’s highest mountains, most inhospitable deserts and least welcoming countries. Trying to make the journey overland was always going to be difficult. But one group of twenty-somethings, bored with the predictable wanderings of the backpacker generation, thought they’d spice things up a little. They would go by car. The worst car in the world. The infamous Soviet-era Trabant. This would be no whimsical meander across the globe, but a mission with a cause—to raise money for the Cambodian children they had met on previous visits to the country. From their base in Central Europe, east through Turkey and the gateway to Asia, then into the Caucasus, the five men and three women ferried across the Caspian Sea and into the forgotten world of Central Asia, the police state of Turkmenistan, the beautiful Silk Road cities of Uzbekistan, the stunning mountain passes of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and the endless flat of the Kazakh steppe. They took on Russia’s freezing Siberian winter and Mongolia’s icy plains, crossed booming China before hitting the sun-speckled hills of Laos and the jungles of Cambodia. This book, based on the explosive blog from award-winning travel writer and journalist Dan Murdoch, tells the inside story of the Trabant Trek, and how a group of near strangers coped with the challenge of their lives. Ten percent of the royalties will be donated to the Trabant Trek charities.

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sun set I stumbled back to the campsite waving a large reed at passers-by and muttering piecemeal Russian. The rest of the gang had slept off their excesses and were gearing up to go out and meet George again, so I made an about-turn and headed back onto the beach front for a full dinner with more vodka and then VIP seating at a strobe-lit club with a seemingly limitless bar tab. We drank cocktails and went dancing, but something went wrong with George. Maybe Marlena or Zsofi rejected his

his way out of trouble, but like George had told me the previous night, the police wanted to encourage tourists and protect them. The guy was a pathetic sight, sitting awkwardly on the ground, hands cuffed behind him, breathing heavily though a broken nose, puffy eyed and split-lipped, his giant gut hanging over his shorts. None of the cops spoke English, but after half an hour they brought out a young lad who worked at a local hostel to interpret for us. By 6am things seemed to have reached

spiritual academy and became what he called an “air monk”. He had lived in a cave for the past four years, just as St David did. Padre Antimoz showed us around the main church by candlelight. The grave of St David lay in a cavern near a fresco dedicated to the 6,000 slaughtered monks. I was stunned when he explained that one painting depicted St George slaying the dragon. The dragon wasn’t the winged, tailed beast of English legend, but an armoured man of Asian descent. According to Padre

We were sitting there in a totalitarian, isolationist, pariah state, hidden away in Central Asia, impervious to all Western influences but one - the all-pervading power of euro-cheese. Even there, on the Turkmen-Uzbek border, they played Steps. Could the agony get any worse? We were all hot, thirsty and frustrated, so Tony and Zsofi headed up the road in Dante to find water. But the hours ticked by and they didn’t return. They had been arrested in town for not having any papers. It’s quite

yurt life. Something involving nomads wandering the steppe, and pitching camp where the prey died, cooking tough mutton over the fire inside a hide covered shelter. In the morning they would wrap up and stroll down to an icy stream to fill a skin with water, then stoke the fire for a brew. But our yurt had been set up in a back garden in one of Bishkek’s less desirable neighbourhoods. It was not a large garden, it was very obvious we were in an enclosed space, and there was a dormitory next

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