The TransSiberian Highway in winter.
Much mileage, few pictures (sorry).
6.250 km in 5 days.
Drove mostly in the dark as sunrise in Siberia is usually at 10 a.m. and sunset at 5 p.m.
December temperatures varied between - 10 and - 40 C.
A spiritual car journey into the cold ...
Trip restart from Kazan where our car had been waiting for two months - unharmed - at the airport
Initially driving along the Kama river (a Volga tributary - longer than the "real" Volga itself - that was considered the proper Volga by the Tatars/Turks) passing 1000-year-old Sheytan Kalesi (Devil's Castle, source: Wikipedia) near Alabuga
Through Izhevsk where Mikhail Kalashnikov (monument foto: Wikipedia) still lives and produces Russia's biggest ever export good, the AK-47.
Well, now the biggest export is energy ... here a burning gas torch at one of the many LUK-Oil and Gazprom fields between Tatarstan, Bashkiria and Perm
Relatively well maintained roads all the way, but sometimes on snow and ice
Often driving parallel to the TransSiberian train
Crossing the Ural from Europe into Asia at the border monument in Pervouralsk, 40 km before Ekaterinburg (Source: Wikitravel)
The Hyatt Regency Hotel in Ekaterinburg is among the best and most expensive in Russia
The monument for the fallen soldiers of the Afghan War in Ekaterinburg
The mafia cemetery in Ekaterinburg (Source: Wikitravel)
The run-down Soviet style hotel in Ishim competes with our car for the dirtiest place of the year award
Driving through the German Rayon of Asowo near the Kazakh border. There are still over 1 mio of ethnic Germans in the region, whose families were deported there by Stalin from their Volga-settlements during WW II.
At the Doubletree Hilton Novosibirsk
"Uncle Kolya" - Monument to the Russian Traffic Policeman in Tomsk
Krasnoyarsk is a relatively beautiful, (plutonium-) rich and cultivated city deep in Siberia at the banks of Yenisei River (Source: Wikipedia). In cold winter temperatures the running river produces so much vapour that it's not possible to take a foto.
Arriving at the Krasnoyarsk Hotel ...
... next door to their fantastic restaurant and entertainment complex.
Krasnoyarsk is famous for an abundance of beautiful girls, here at the relatively classy Amsterdam Club
Back in the car and cold: this tough guy (left side) walked in the middle of nowhere at - 30 C
Pretty average temperatures :-)
These Siberian horses are used to freezing. We also saw wild dogs, cattle, a fox and a wolf at the roadside.
Like ice in the sunshine ...
Coming from Novosibirsk, going to Chita.
Long distance driving, sometimes throughout the night ...
... means the occasional power nap in the car
But we have a special wake-up call for sleepy drivers
First glimpse of Lake Baikal after staying at the Courtyard Marriott in Irkutsk
Dried fish is available all over Russia, but the best known is "Omul" from Lake Baikal
Roads getting more icy...
Car broke down right in the middle of nowhere between Ulan Ude and Chita (see above) ... after midnight ... and at - 32 C (!) ... then got it restarted after 2 hours of waiting for help on the deserted road. It had just gone into "emergency mode" because of the cold. Solution: motor area needs to be wrapped in isolating material (carpet / blanket).
Barely made it - without sleep - to our morning flight. Car now parked at Chita airport. 10 hours (9 timezones) back to Europe. Sunrise take-off with S7 Airlines at 10 a.m.
To be continued (Road of Bones) ...