December 4th 2011: Khiva, Uzbekistan – Konye-Urgench, Turkmenistan 

Driven distance on December 4th 2011: 230km (140 miles)

Driven distance total: 24’050km (14’940 miles)

And for the change of it, we had another border crossing. Around 10AM we already arrived at the border. The exit out of Uzbekistan went without any problem and we could even skip the long cue of waiting locals. After one hour we were out of Uzbekistan but of course not yet into Turkmenistan. The entry took an unbelievable 3 hours, this without any long cues or car search! Although the battle with all the necessary documents for the car was really annoying!! All the information was entered in several books and PCs and everyone there wanted to take another glimpse on the documents and again somebody wrote down the stuff somewhere. Of course all the documents needed to get stamped and signed by several persons. Incredible bureaucracy!!

Finally around 2PM we were including the Landrover in Turkmenistan, then drove for another 2 hours to a city called Konye-Urgench. We then stayed in Konye-Urgench, since we were absolutely not anymore in the mood to continue driving.


December 5th 2011: Konye-Urgench – Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 

Driven distance on December 5th 2011: 600km (370 miles)

Driven distance total: 24’650km (15’320 miles)

This night we slept for 25 USD on a couch... :-) But we didn’t have a choice, since there are in Konye-Urgench only two hotels, and the other one was more expensive and even in worse shape! In the morning we started to drive into the Karakum desert. On the way we of course have seen camels! We made a short side trip from the main road to some gas crater, which is the result from some accident during Soviet-age explorations in the 50’s. Since the way to this crater is not really described, we tried to just take one of the streets entering the desert. After a short time it ended, and out of nowhere there was a young guy on a motorcycle, probably 14 years old, who finally showed us for a little tip the way to the crater. Well, probably we weren’t the only tourists that were lost in the desert thereJ. The gas crater is also called “gate to hell” and it definitely deserves the nameJ. A big crater with flames everywhere inside in the middle of the desert. Really not the average sight! Later on driving back through the desert in direction Ashgabat.


December 6th 2011: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 

Driven distance on December 6th 2011: 0km (0 miles)

Driven distance total: 24’650km (15’320 miles)

After a cold night (-1°C; 30°F) in the Landrover we tried without success to get a hotel room at 9AM! So we started the day exploring Ashgabat. This city is one of the craziest, strangest city there is. Many big marble buildings which are just way too shiny and enormous. Finally the presidential palace is the craziest of the monuments! In the capital everything needs to be perfect and in the country side there is not really wealth! We used the day for some general impression of the crazy city!


December 7th 2011: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 

Driven distance on December 7th 2011: 230km (140 miles)

Driven distance total: 24’880km (15’460 miles)

Approx. 1 hour away from Ashgabat there is an underground lake called Köw-ata. After a 65m descent in a cave you reach the lake where you can swim, which has year round a temperature of 36°C (100°F) and is a bit sulphurous. Stefan didn’t miss the chance and took with some other local guys a little wellness-SessionJ. At the parking, one of the persons mentioned to us, that it would be a good idea to wash the car a little bitJ. On the way back we have seen a little creek with also warm water, so the Landrover also got a small wellness sessionJ.