46,000 kilometers, 152 days, 21 countries, this is the long self-driving journey I took my mom and dad through in 2018. We drove all the way from China to France, driving through two continents in Asia and Europe, from the summer departure to the winter return home, we went through ups and downs and had unforgettable experiences. I am glad that during the long journey, my parents' physical condition stood the test, our "big black" Explorer 1.5T stood the test, and I also stood the test of driving alone the whole time. Looking back on this trip after three years, I will share in chronological order what we experienced during our 152-day journey, and how we drove from China into France day by day. Mileage in this episode: Chita, Russia - Ulan-Ude - Irkutsk - Lake Baikal
Preview of this episode
Before we leave for Ulan-Ude today, we plan to visit a small forest outside of Chita, where we heard there is a beautiful cabin and a sparkling spring, and people still drink straight water, it is said to have the effect of maintaining the gastrointestinal tract. This place I did not know by checking a honeycomb strategy, but from the Manzhouli port of exit, the warm and handsome customs brother told me haha.
As for the specific navigation address, I can't provide it, because it was Anij and Aly who took us there in Aly's two-box vintage car, and I didn't even drive my own car. Here by the way to answer many people concerned about how to navigate abroad by car: the main thing is to use Google Maps, go to the APP store to download it directly, but in the country can not be used, have to go to the border to do, you know. Google Maps navigation is generally more accurate, in foreign countries basically everyone use this, but it has a problem is that you must have network, offline state is not navigable. So I downloaded an app called "Tantu offline map", I will use it when there is no network, I suggest you can also use it with.
Off we go, heading for the small forest of Bubbling Springs. Anyone else like me, especially like the feeling of this small Russian secret forest along the way?
Careful friends may notice that I am sitting in the front left seat of the car, that is to say, the car is right-hand drive. You will find a strange phenomenon on the road in Russia - some cars are left-hand drive, some are right-hand drive, but all cars drive on the right side, the same as in China.
On the way, we found a quiet roadside where we stopped for a break.
This place also seems to be a small forest park, but a uniformed Russian guard, we also did not go in.
A selfie, at that time my hair was still quite short, I did not expect the next haircut was 4 months later, when it was so long that it had to be cut.
Along the way, I saw many people running along the road, and Anizhi said that Russians love to be close to nature. In fact, later in the journey, I found that Europeans are very fond of outdoor sports, especially Scandinavians, cycling, hiking and boating.
To the place, there are still a lot of people who come to play, basically to pick up the water.
The bubbling spring is located in this hut on the far side, and there is a constant stream of people coming to catch the spring.
We walked through a small patch of forest and came to the cabin.
There were a lot of people picking up water, and I waited in line for a while.
This is a large bottle we picked up, there are really bubbles Oh!
Cold and refreshing, and a little uncomfortable to drink it hard.
At that moment, a wisp of smoke in the woods attracted us
It turned out to be the sale of baked potatoes and grilled meat, I immediately bought 2 boxes to try.
Is it very greedy to see? Russian taste is not bad oh
After eating a small barbecue, we were ready to go back to the city.
Russia has a lot of these vintage cars, very retro, and it feels like the locals are keen to drive around slowly in these seemingly ramshackle little cars.
On the way, we passed a small estate where you can pick blueberries.
Just in time to meet a couple who had just finished picking blueberries
They picked all morning and harvested more than ten pounds of these wild blueberries.
We bought a pound from them for 300 rubles, which is more than 30 yuan. It tasted sweet and sour, very good.
Back in Chita, we had a dinner with a few friends we had just met in the last few days to thank them for their help. Thanks to them, we were able to get a replacement car insurance in Chita. The young man on the left is Alya's brother, a Buryat, and the gold Toyota on the right is his car, which he bought for less than 300,000 RMB, as there are many big SUVs like this in Russia.
After the city of Chita, is this big highway, basically into Russia, until later from Vyborg out into northern Europe, all this kind of a road according to the rhythm of driving in the dark.
It was about 150 km from Ulan-Ude in the evening when Google Maps suddenly told us to drive into a fork in the road. I thought it was a bit strange, why did the navigation give us a small road instead of a big, clear road? But if we kept driving along the original road, I wasn't sure if we could reach Ulan-Ude, so I decided to listen to the navigation and got off the side road.
However, after entering the trail, the road conditions began to take a sharp turn for the worse - the oil road is gone, all dirt roads, and shell craters, scrub roads began to more and more. The more I drove, the more sweaty my palms became. Although I had heard that the roads in Russia were not particularly good, I did not expect to encounter such bad roads so soon. How bad is it? Let's say, if it rains at this time, this section of the road is basically comparable to our domestic rainy season of Sichuan-Tibet line ah!
Because of the many bad roads in the country, so I was in a calm mood, but Mom and Dad were a little uncomfortable. For them, this is the first time to see such a scene, I can only drive while reassuring them: this is not much in the bad roads I have driven, bumpy is a bit, but completely in our car's ability to pass range.
So the whole way upside down, after I do not know how many times the bottom, we arrived in Ulan-Ude, the last 150 kilometers of bad road, we actually drove a full 4 hours! We stayed at a bed and breakfast for the night, which Aly's brother in Ulan-Ude helped us find. By the time we arrived in Ulan-Ude, we were very close to Lake Baikal. In fact, people visiting Lake Baikal usually have 2 transit cities to choose from - Ulan-Ude and Irkutsk, where we will arrive tomorrow.
Ulan-Ude - Irkutsk
Today's route is basically along the southern shore of Lake Baikal, so there are several opportunities to get a first glimpse of Lake Baikal along the way. However, the road is not particularly close to the shore, so you will have to wait until you get to Irkutsk to experience the blue romance of Lake Baikal up close.
This is today's driving route, and you can clearly see the relative geographic locations of Beijing, Lake Baikal and Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.
No difference in scenery along the way, basically, Siberia, well, she actually just because the legend seems mysterious.
Today's road conditions are good, at least much better than last night's 150 km of big bad roads, along the way such large trucks of freight is also common.
At noon we stopped at a motel for lunch. Any place with a knife and fork sign on the side of the road in Russia must be a motel, or at least a place to eat.
My body was also much soiled due to running that bad road last night.
The menu, of course, is the "traditional and classic" Russian set menu: daleba, black tea, mashed potatoes, roast beef, red soup ......
When driving in the morning always feel the undercarriage noise, after lunch I lie under the car to see, the original is to add the engine guard is broken, must be last night near Ulan-Ude that section of the big bad road to knock! A small cover on the engine guard has broken off and drooped down, has been dragging on the ground, the car will of course generate noise when running.
The toolbox is pressed into the bottom of the trunk, I'm not going to get it, I'm going to drill the bottom of the car myself to remove that small piece of cover with my bare hands.
Worked for ten minutes, the most important is to fix the wire is not very good to unscrew with bare hands, and then the face often stick to the chassis, get a face of dirt.
I am also really drunk, now these engine guards are what quality ah, I just entered Russia ah lost part of the engine guard cover, but the good thing is that the road conditions have been very good, basically did not encounter any bad roads. Especially the road conditions in Europe, basically can be summarized as, want to find bad roads are not easy.
During the afternoon journey, Lake Baikal started to flash a corner along the road frequently.
The blue of Lake Baikal can really kill you at first sight.
In the evening, when we were about to enter the Irkutsk city, we encountered the legendary Russian police for the first time since we entered the country, although I had already met the Russian police many times before, but this was the first time we were stopped by them. I was not driving fast when I saw a fat policeman whistling at me and waving a black and white baton in his hand, and I understood - there was no avoiding what was coming.
After they stopped me, they first said I had to pay a fine of 1000 rubles for the window film problem, and sure enough, huh? We both nagged for up to 10 minutes, I was soft with him anyway, asking for money no, but with a good attitude! Finally, he may not be able to help himself, smiling at my translation software said the following words. I can still say what, no problem! Hurry up to take out 2 bottles in the domestic prepared Niulanshan two pot head to offer, people than 4 fingers, no no no we have 4 brothers!
So I was blackmailed 4 bottles of "Chinese whiskey" after they were satisfied to let me go, then take my drink when the police also know to hide under the trunk lid of my car, apparently to avoid being photographed by the roadside surveillance cameras. I would like to suggest to all car enthusiasts that if they encounter "robbery" Russian police in the future, there is no need to panic, it is normal, they just want to knock you some money. You can not give you try not to give, otherwise it is easy to these police to spoil, so they think that the Chinese money is more cheating. But your attitude must be good, not and the police hard, really can not give some pot of rice, wind oil and other Chinese souvenirs, they are still willing to want.
After "dealing" with the Russian police, we went into town and used Google Maps to find a restaurant for dinner, reading the description clearly said that this restaurant has Chinese flavors ......
I found out later that the bun should be what they call Chinese flavor, and of course, the pile of chili sauce in the middle was my own Old God's Mother.
Irkutsk is a famous tourist city in Russia, there are many hotels and hostels, tonight I used Booking to choose a hotel, more than 2000 rubles for a triple room, the price is not bad. The car was parked in the backyard parking lot of the hotel, but the next morning when I warmed up the car, I met a Buryat singing and dancing at me, and asked for cigarettes and cash ...... Well, that's all for this update. If you want to know what kind of beauty and magic we experienced during our 152-day, 46,000-kilometer journey, please look forward to this serial series.