Preparations for the journey with our car
Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) to The Netherlands, May 2013

It was in the beginning of May when we flew with Pegasus Airlines from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, via Istanbul, to Düsseldorf in Germany. It didn't take very long for us to make the decision to give traveling by private car another chance. Central Asia is the prefect region for this, and we said several times to each other that it would be fantastic to travel by jeep in this region. The area is spectacular, but many of the regions are difficult to visit by public transport. While being in Kyrgyzstan, we made some preparations for a jeep tour in Tajikistan, but concluded quickly that it was going to be a very expensive tour if we wanted to see some of the areas that are a little bit further away from the Pamir Highway. That was the first moment that we said to each other that it would be great to travel in the region by private car. And when we met a French couple with their Land Cruiser and great stories in Bishkek, we knew it for sure. We are going to give it another try.

When we arrived back in the Netherlands, the first thing we did was to take out our Toyota Land Cruiser from the garage at Edwin's parents' place. We parked it their more than a year ago when we decided to travel with the backpack again, after our first car experience in south-eastern Europe. Now we rollback the decision. The backpacks are going to the closet, and the car will be our new means of transport for the time being. We didn't have to do a lot on the car, because we did all necessary preparations before we left last time. There were some small reparations to make. We invested in a new exhaust pipe because the old one was showing some form of decay. We also replaced two seals at the driving shaft (axe) because they were leaking a little bit. And finally, we replaced the four shock absorbers because they weren't functioning well anymore.
Some last improvements ...
 

Regarding the adaptations, we decided to install an extra diesel-filter with water separator. The diesel quality outside Europe is often bad, which means that an extra filter is handy. We also decided to reinstall roof rack, which was already present on the car when we bought it in France. We will use the roof rack for some light weight luggage, like for example spare jerry cans, a tent, camping chairs and some car spare parts. To keep things dry, we invested in a second hand ski box. We also use the roof rack to take some mountain bikes with us. We bought two cheap one on the internet. Last time when we travelled by car, we didn't like the fact that we had to take the car for all small trips around the camp site. Two bicycles will make us much more mobile.

Another task we had to fulfill in The Netherlands was buying a new laptop. Our 7 year old Asus laptop was walking on his last legs. We had some hard disk errors and the performance wasn't acceptable anymore. We eventually decided to buy a Lenovo laptop, but that one stopped working after approximately two weeks. It didn't start-up anymore. The computer shop wanted to give us a replacement, but when they couldn't deliver one in the short term, we decided to switch to Asus again. We have very good experiences with this brand, so we have all the confidence that this new laptop model will satisfy us in the same way as our previous Asus did.
... like the replacement of the seals of the driving shaft
 
Our planning for the coming months is to stay in Europe. We eventually want to go back to Central Asia, but we decided to do that next year in 2014. The optimal travel season in Central Asia is very short due to the extreme climate (April to September). And if we want to make to most out of this period, we have to be there in April. It is now already June and it would take at least two to three weeks to get there, so we prefer to go there next year. We will use the remainder of this year to travel through Europe. We will drive via the northern part of Germany and Poland to the Baltic States. After that, we travel south through Eastern Europe. We will spend the winter months in Greece and Turkey and we plan to travel via the Caucasus countries (Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia) to Central Asia in the spring of next year. At least, that's the planning is so far; but as is often the case a planning is there to be changed. We will see!
Installation of the roof rack
A second diesel filter with water seperator
The ski box on the roof rack
Ivonne and her 2nd hand mountain bike
A simple car tent in case of rainy weather

 

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