11/26/2021: We made it back to Argentina! After 313 days of separation from our LandCruiser, we landed well and without any problems in Buenos Aires/Argentina on Sunday, November 21st, at midnight after almost 22 hours of flying from Cape Town via Addis Ababa/Ethiopia and São Paulo/Brazil. Although we were able to spend the short nights in hotels in Addis Ababa and São Paulo, the three jam-packed planes were tiring. Between our departure on January 14th and our return on November 20th, 2021, there were beautiful trips and stays – unfortunately without our car – in São Tomé, Portugal, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt and South Africa. And, as in almost all of the aforementioned countries, we were able to leave South Africa in time to avoid the Corona pandemic that continues to run rampant.
 
We are not yet united with our faithful LandCruiser that stays in Ricardo Rojas, 25 miles [40km] out of Buenos Aires, but the anticipation is huge. First the customs office (-34.58249 -58.37044) has to lift its interdiction and issue us a new temporary import permit (TIP). This should take at least 1 - 2 weeks, we were told on Wednesday at the customs. We ourselves can stay in the country for three months.
11/19/2021: Boeing 787-8 of
Ethiopian Airlines from Cape Town
via Addis Ababa to São Paulo
11/19/2021: Start from Cape Town
over the townships of
Khayelitsha and Mitchell Plains
  
11/22/2021: The 234½ft. [71½m] tall
Obelisk, landmark of Buenos Aires
in the centre of the town
  
11/22/2021: Emil and his
"deserved" original Brazilian
Brahma beer in Argentina
  
 
11/16/2021: After our nostalgic tour to the Cedar Mountains near Clanwilliam, we were again traveling through uncharted territory. Route: Lambert's Bay - Clanwilliam - Citrusdal - Middelberg Pass (3'514ft. [1'071m]) - Ceres - Tulbagh - Worcester - Franschhoek - Stellenbosch - Brackenfell/Cape Town. In sunny, warm spring weather and on good roads with little traffic, we drove along miles of golden wheat fields and through the Western Cape wine region with its fresh green vineyards and orchards. Meadows full of wild flowers, the evergreen "Fynbos" vegetation zones and the feeling of space accompanied us constantly. Our most beautiful experience was the visit to Lambert's Bay, the nesting and breeding place of thousands of Cape Gannets (Morus capensis). We enjoyed the refreshing chatter and the hustle and bustle of the about 17'000 birds. We also enjoyed the rural village of Tulbagh, surrounded by three mountain ranges, with its white-roofed stately homes in the famous Cape architecture. The overnight stays in guest houses varied greatly, but they were all expensive. You can hardly get anything for less than US$70 [€60]. The two nights at the 'Summerhill Guest Farm' near Worcester – a little paradise in the middle of tall trees, blossoming flowers and many chirping bird species – was a nice end to our short rental car tour through the Western Cape. Then Cape Town had us back, where we returned our Hyundai at the airport on November 14th. Now we have our eyes on our most important goal: The return to our LandCruiser in Argentina, now that our Janssen-Corona vaccination is recognized as of today!
11/7/2021: Spring blooms between
Clanwilliam and Lambert's Bay
 
11/7/2021: Cape gannets
(Morus capensis) on Bird
Island in Lambert's Bay
  
11/11/2021: Today this typical Cape
Dutch house is the 'Golden Valley
Lodge' in Worcester along the N1
  
11/11/2021: Harvested cornfields
near Tulbagh in the Witzenberg
community
  
 
11/9/2021: We are on a little nostalgia tour in Western Cape with our Hyundai rental car. Not only around Cape Town, where we spent a lovely afternoon with overlanders Diana and Brian in Newlands, but we were drawn again to the region of the Cederberg Mountains near Clanwilliam, about 150ms [240km] north of Cape Town. Under a steel blue sky we zoomed up to the 2'969ft. [905m] high Pakhuis Pass and refreshed memories from our visit with our LandCruiser in 2015 – good and bad ones! The good ones include the beauty of the vast "Cederberg Wilderness Area" with its jagged sandstone rock formations that glow especially attractive in the warm evening light. The bad memory is losing a wheel (our 5th) in January 2015 due to a broken axle just 2'311ms [3'720km] after the same problem happened in Angola on the eve of our 30th Travel Anniversary on 10/15/2014 and the hours of hard repair in the middle of the road. Despite driving very slowly, we couldn't make out the deep groove in the asphalt caused at that time.
 
11/2/2021: We are in South Africa! It was a "last-minute" decision: On October 23rd, 2021, we changed with our 6th and most expensive PCR-Test (US$120 p.p.) with Ethiopian Airlines from Cairo via Addis Ababa to Cape Town. The destination South Africa particularly inspired us for three reasons: It's spring time, rental cars are easy to get, and a faint hope for a Corona vaccination was also included, so we could fly back to Argentina to our LandCruiser. Everything came true: The warm spring weather where everything is in full bloom, renting a small Hyundai G-i10 for three weeks (US$585), and today a free one-time Johnson & Johnson vaccination! What failed in São Tomé, Portugal, Morocco, Turkey and Egypt being tourist, was made possible by our hosts Vicky and Hans from the Northern Vine Guesthouse in Brackenfell, about 20 miles [32km] from Cape Town. Finally a reunion with our LandCruiser in South America is approaching – we hope! We are overjoyed! By the way: Since we left the African continent in Capetown to Australia on November 2nd, 1992 after a crossing of four years and 61'440 miles [99'000km] from North to South, South Africa has made us happy already ten times during 12'194 miles [19'624km].
10/30/2021: Sunset Beach: View to Cape
Town's Table Mount. (left, 3'563ft.[1'086m]
and Lion's Head (right, 2'195ft.[669m])
11/4/2021: Nice afternoon with
overlanders Diana & Brian in
Newlands near Cape Town
 
11/6/2021: Emil and the rented
Hyundai G-i10 on the Pakhuis
Pass east of Clanwilliams
 
11/6/2021: Typical rocky
landscape of the Cederberg area
on the 2'969ft. high Pakhuis Pass
 
 
10/30/2021: What started with frustration in Egypt, ended with happiness! We finally experienced what we wished for: A train ride through the wide Nile Valley and thus an insight into the rural life along the Nile: How was our journey from Aswan to Cairo? Liliana's diary entry from October 20th, 2021: "It is still pitch dark when at 4.30am on October 20th, 2021, the guesthouse owner Taha ferries us with his boat at the first call of the muezzin to the other bank of the Nile and accompanies us to our train compartment. With a 3 minute delay, at 5.33am the air-conditioned express train in Aswan starts moving. Slowly it dawns. On the other river side a green ribbon of vegetation reflects in the mirror-smooth water. Fishermen with small boats and feluccas are gliding past silently. Farmers with old-fashioned donkey carts are working on their fields, with flocks of white egrets following them. Tall palm trees lining the river are part of the exotic charm. The train rattles past sugar cane, banana plantations and corn and vegetable fields. Sometimes we pass crumbling dwellings with colorful clothes fluttering in the wind. In contrast, many magnificent mosques with high slender minarets appear. Most of the houses are built of earth-colored bricks, and most of them are unfinished – cement pillars with its concrete iron still rising from the roofs. Unfortunately, the railway ride doesn't follow often the mighty Nile, but along its irrigation canals. But it is still beautiful, except of the many garbage dumps along the track. Really negative is the freezing temperature of the aircon in the train. We each put all three T-shirts we have taken with us beneath the warm sweaters and even cover ourselves with our thin linen sleeping bags in order not to catch a cold. With about 2¼ hours delay we arrive in Cairo after 10pm and are "greeted" by a real chaos of people and vehicles at the railway station – a totally opposite world, which we left only 16 hours ago. We will often remember our idyllic place directly on the Nile, where we were able to experience five unforgettable days. We are at peace with Egypt again!"
10/20/2021: Coptic Orthodox Cathedral
of St. Michael the Archangel, 400 yards
[350m] north of Luxor railroad station
10/20/2021: The donkey cart, a
typical means of traffic and mode
of transport in the upper Nile Valley
 
 
10/20/2021: Liliana with Egypt map
of the Nile Valley in the first class
coach of the VIP-Express 981
 
 
10/20/2021: Village along the
Sahara el-Sharquiya near
Sohag/Al Bayana
 
 
 
10/18/2021: Today, October 18th, 2021, we are celebrating our 37th travel anniversary on the Nile in Aswan, whose departure 13'516 days ago we missed by a fraction! The place could not be more beautiful: From our Nubian Maghrabi Guesthouse with its stately mango trees located directly on the Nile, we enjoy the view of feluccas with their hoisted sails drifting up and down the river, of camels passing by and of water birds fishing on the shore. At night, from the eastern side of the Nile, where the actual city center is located, the twinkling lights reflecting in the water convey a bit of festivity to our special celebration!
10/18/2021: Two dromedaries (Camelus dromedarius), also called one-humped camel, on the Nile in Aswan
10/16/21: Maghrabi's Guesthouse
in Aswan, opposite Tolip Hotel
 on the western side of the Nile
10/19/2021: Typical small
"Gardens" of the Nubians
along the Nile in Aswan
10/16/21: Some of the many
parked cruise ships that ply
beween Luxor and Aswan
 
10/17/2021: Emil's tireless research has borne fruit: On Friday, October 15th, 2021, we flew with Air Arabia at a bargain price of US$59 p.p. (Egypt Air charges US$160 p.p.!) to Aswan. Inspired by our beautiful train trip with Dogu Epress in Turkey, a Nile Valley train ride was on our wish list from the very beginning. On our way back to Cairo on October 20th, it will happen. Then our wish will come true: A 14-hour railway day trip along the Nile Valley with an air-conditioned express train. (by the way, the twice charged fare Cairo-Aswan surprisingly was credited again!). We are now really looking forward to a little glimpse of Egyptian country life along the fertile Nile Valley with feluccas, camels and farmers working the fields. In Aswan we are staying at the Nubian Maghrabi's guesthouse on the west side of the Nile ($50/night with breakfast and very beautiful river view). Will this spontaneous side trip before our departure on October 23rd, help us to become a little reconciled with Egypt again?
 
10/7/2021: With our intention to rent a car for three weeks to travel self driving around the country, we are left in the dark. According to the tourist police at the airport, we are not allowed to leave the city of Cairo without a local driver, but the Avis car rental company claims the opposite. What's true now? Our inquired consulate refrains from helping, the tourist information booth at the airport as well as the manager of our accommodation are on the side of the police. Interregional buses run almost exclusively at night, the Nile Valley trains during daytime are practically fully booked and the nightly sleeper trains make no sense to us, since we want to see the countryside! When finally two day seats were given free and we booked them, the amount was debited twice, but the ticket was canceled at the same time! What however shocks us in Egypt above all are the hotel prices. Be it in Hurghada or Sharm El-Sheikh, in Aswan or Luxor, and even along the Mediterranean to the Libyan border, all those accommodation that look somewhat acceptable to us are well over US$150/night, although not many tourists are seen. We are now considering whether or not to stay here until our visa expires on October 23rd, 2021.
The Nazlet el-Seman tombs at the
bus parking near the entrance to
the pyramids complex

 

Great Mosque of Muhammad
Ali Pasha within the Citadel of
Sultan Saladin al-Ayyuby

 

10/15/2021  Liliana on the Nile in Aswan
 
 

 

10/16/2021 Friday- (Jameh-)
Mosque in Qism/Aswan
 
10/5/2021: "We are already on our feet at 6:30 am. From the open window of our room we look at a flock of ducks on the opposite roof top, at neighing horses down in the courtyard waiting for the warming sun and at tethered camels already decorated for the tourists. Roosters crow from the roofs of houses where also goats live, dogs bark and the clopping of horses' hooves can be heard. In between, the muezzin calls to prayer. The air is drenched with camel and horse dung." This is Liliana's diary entry from December 3rd, 2018, when we stayed 7 days at the Pyramid Village-Inn in Giza for US$60/night and where shortly afterwards two terrorist attacks took place with deaths and injuries. Today, almost three years later, the reviews (Booking.com) of the hotels in Giza have become so heavily bad what probably caused the prices to drop (e.g. the same above mentioned place is now down to US$18/night!). Thus we preferred a clean, comfortable and still affordable studio near the airport (Ocean Blue Apartments, US$70/night). Still fascinating of course is the timeless imposing backdrop of the pyramids, the grandiose structures of the empire of the ancient Egyptians. Otherwise, however, it is no longer "our" Egypt, as we remember it (December 2018, September 1989 and Emil even as early as 1965). Many construction ruins, closed restaurants, malls with 90% shut down stores, and everywhere else much more garbage, trash and rubbish is our impression.
 
9/26/2021: We are now in Egypt! Turkey has seen us off with a beautiful sunset glow! With three flights in three different continents – Van-Ankara (Asia), Ankara-Istanbul (Europe), Istanbul-Cairo (Africa) – we landed late in the evening of 9/24/2021 in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, where we celebrated Liliana's 80th birthday yesterday, 9/25/2021. Btw: The 50th took place in Lilongwe/Malawi, the 60th in Sidney/Iowa/USA and the 70th in Tamatave/Madagascar - always with our LandCruiser. This is our third trip to Egypt. In autumn 1989 we explored the country with our car during 6 weeks (4'232mi [6'810km]), and in December 2018 we lodged on our nostalgia trip during 7 days at the pyramids in Giza, while our LandCruiser was on its way in a container from Sarawak/Malaysia to Chile. We received like 3 years ago a one-month visa on arrival for US$25/p.p.
9/24/2021 On the flight from Istanbul
to Cairo with Turkish Airlines in a
13-year-old Airbus A321
 
Right the Pyramid of Khafre
and left the one of Menkaure;
in between the Great Sphinx
 
On the way to daily work at the pyramids
(= showing tourists around). The official rate
in Giza is EGP50 [>US$3.20]/½h -
the rest is bargaining
 
Emil having lunch at El Hadaba
restaurant not far from the
pyramid entrance
 
 
9/12/2021: Van: Resting day with many beautiful memories of our 20-day round trip. There is also some melancholy, because it is already over! Tomorrow, 9/13/2021, we will return our Renault Clio, which never gave us any worries, at the airport of Van 20 days and 1'497½mi [2'410km] "older". To us, the invested US$568 were more than worth.
 
9/11: Hakkâri - Traverteni ("Mini-Pamukkale") - Van = 184mi [296km]. It is 9.30am when we leave the mountain world of Hakkâri and return to the main road to continue our journey to Van. After we exchanged the D400 (it ends after 46mi [74km] at the Iran border) at Tatlı/Yüksekova with the D975 to Van, we make very fast progress on the mostly four-lane highway, so fast that we miss the turnoff to "Traverteni" - the "Minipamukkale" - by 17mi [28km], because our Nüvi GPS lost the turnoff data (37.82322, 44.08497). Was it worth driving back? A hundredfold! It goes on a gravel road deep across the mountains. The narrow piste is cut into a steep slope, to the left of it the little streamlet Karasu ripples in a green valley strip through the gorge. After each tight curve, another rugged backdrop opens up. Towards the end, after about 11mi [18km], the road leads through the village of Dereiçi, where horses, foals, goats and sheep graze and haystacks and pyramids with dried cow patties are stored in front of stone huts as heating material for the winter. Pure rural idyll! Arrived at the destination, we see immediately that due to my walking problems for me the steep rock descent to the Sinter Terraces is not feasible, and Emil renounces for time reasons. But it is still beautiful here. Below us a flock of sheep grazes in small groups. They are white shiny dots in the mountain landscape. We enjoy our little special detour to the fullest and then roll on the fast four-lane highway further towards Van. It is not new territory for us. Nevertheless, we again enjoy the varied landscape we pass. The city traffic in Van is catastrophic today Saturday. Only stop and go traffic, whereby stop predominates. Finally we reach "our" hotel Dosco, from which we started on August 26th, without any dents. We are "home" again!
9/11/2021 Sümbül - a lower situated
neighborhood of the provincial
capital of Hakkari
9/11/21 Behind the rocks are sinter
terraces like in Pamukkale, only
much smaller and no tourists
9/11/2021 The Hoşap Castle in Güzelsu,
built 1643, on the way to the town of
Van on lake Van, 36mi [58km] away
9/11/2021 Crops along
the Dönemeç River between
Ortaköy and Çavuştepe
 
9/10/2021: Cizre - Hakkâri = 126mi [203km]. After a sumptuous breakfast buffet on the terrace with a view to Syria, at 8.30 am we are already on the road again, because the most beautiful section of the D400 now awaits us. Up to the neighboring town of Şırnak, the landscape remains rather disappointing. But from there to Hakkâri and further, the wilderness and beauty of the mountain scenery is simply stunningly spectacular and majestic. On the 125mi [200km] drive on good asphalt road, which winds in many bends over 7'500ft. [2'300m] high passes and then down into green valleys again, we stop countless times to enjoy and take-in the breathtaking views. High plateaus, deep wild gorges, green encircled valleys, but above all impressive mountain scenery opened up at every corner. Some road works in progress, occasionally littered corners, sand and rubble hills and the not very attractive Kurdish villages along the road cannot overshadow our enthusiasm. The increased numbers watchtowers and military controls posted here along the Iraqi border do not for a moment make us feel unsafe. We are always treated friendly and courteously. Conclusion: This five-hour top experience will undoubtedly be a crowning culmination of our 20-day tour of Anatolia, which is coming to an end. Hakkâri, framed by mountains, where we were already with our LandCruiser in 2013, welcomes us today with chaotic, crowded and gridlocked car traffic. What a difference to back then! Without a reservation, we check into the same hotel in the city center as in 2013 - the Şenler Otel.
9/10/2021 Descent to Yemişli
on the Iraqi border
 
 
 
9/10/2021 Karakol Pass (6'873ft.
[2'095m]) between Ortaköy and Çığlı
 
 
 
9/10/2021 Kurdish village on the
Great Zab River north of the D400-
Junction in Köprülü to Çukurca
 
 
9/10/2021 Another gorge is
announced about 30mi [50km]
on the way to way to Hakari
 
9/9/2021: Mardin - Cizre on the D380 = 200km. For this stretch we choose the scenic D380 mountain route instead of continuing on the still boring D400 through the Mesopotamian plain. But except for some desert hills shortly after Mardin the drive is also rather monotonous. There is hardly any traffic. At 2 p.m. we arrive in Cizre, where until 2016 there were still clashes with the Kurds, with many buildings being destroyed. Today the place is fully restored again. The Hotel Divan is the only one in town - a four-star luxury hotel located next to the Tigris River. Across the river, about 200m away, is Syria. This is probably why there are certain security precautions. The parking lot is closed off by a high rail that can only be opened by the parking attendant. And the elevator works only with the room card. The sun has just set as we both leave the room and enjoy the atmosphere from the restaurant terrace across the river to Syria and the lights of the city of Cizre flaring up until the mosquitoes from the green riverbank drive us away. The three-country triangle Turkey-Syria-Iraq is only 26¾km away from here.

9/8: Visiting day in Mardin. Perched on rocky hills north of the flat Mesopotamia (now Iraq), sits the old city of Mardin with its ancient historical buildings. Mid-morning we are on a sightseeing tour with our rental car up- and downhills of the narrow streets of the old town. They are already full of life with crowds of Turkish tourists walking along the many stores. The through traffic is already completely clogged with cars, which are even parking in second line, leaving little or no space for the moving traffic. Finding a parking space is completely hopeless. We drive through to the end of the old town without stopping, the main road being now our destination. From there we enjoy the best view of the old stone houses of Mardin, which stretch along the whole steep slope up to the citadel. Especially beautiful is the view from the terrace of a store, whose owner invites us to his terrace. The master baker next door waves - he wants to show us his bakery and offer us a cup of tea. These are the beautiful moments away from the mass tourism!
9/8/2021 Mardin - almost 100'000 inh.
on an altidude of  3'553ft. [1'083m] at
northern end of the Mesopotamia lowland
9/8/21 Bakery along the main
by-pass road
Yeni Yol Cd
9/8/2021 Historic city of Mardin
with the outstanding
"Grand" Mosque
9/9/2021 Tigris (Dicle) River at Divan
Otel in Cizre, which forms the
border between Turkey and Syria
 
9/7/2021: Şanlıurfa - Mardin = 174km. On the four-lane highway - again on the D400, which we already drove on 5.9, - we shift to Mardin - one of the most authentic and unique cities in Turkey. Like the Nemrut Dağı, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also on this stretch, the D400 is not very attractive. We stay at the Mardin Airport Hotel, which so far is the only accommodation that still strictly sticks to the Corona rules. When we are lead to our room, the first thing is spraying disinfectant around the beds, and at the breakfast buffet, plastic gloves are a must.The room is new, everything is shiny and super-clean - it conveys a sense of luxury.

9/6: Visit of the "Sacred Fish Ponds" (Ayn Zeliha Parkı) in Şanlıurfa, which have become a place of pilgrimage. Legend has it that when King Nimrod had Prophet Abraham - condemned to death - thrown on a burning pyre, Allah intervened and turned the fire into water and the wood into fish = carps (Cyprinus carpio). For the faithful, the fish swimming in the pond by the thousands are sacred. They are fed by them (fish food can be bought on the spot). Families with children and people of all ages visit and take selfies. The atmosphere already has an oiental touch. Some ladies wear floor-length skirts infused with glitter and equally glittery headscarves. In stark contrast are the women totally wrapped in black, often covering their faces with a "niqab". They are said to be refugees from Syria. The park is large, very beautiful and well-kept, and with its many benches under shady trees and restaurants, a place to linger.
9/6/2021 The Halil-Ür Rahmân Lake,
also called the Pool of Abraham
with the Rizvaniye Mosque
9/6/2021 The sacred fish in Halil-Ür
Rahmân Lake of the Ayn Zeliha-Park in Balıklıgöl/Şanlıurfa
9/6/2021 For the holy place of
pilgrimage, the Abraham's pool with the
fishes, these visitors dressed specially
9/6/2021 Western view of the
Halil-Ür Rahmân Lake in the
Ayn Zeliha Park in Şanlıurfa
 
9/5/2021: Halfeti - Şanlıurfa = 76mi [120km]. About 12½mi [20km] east of Birecik along the dammed Euphrates River we meet the scenically highly praised road D400, but until Şanlıurfa it leads unspectacularly through a plain with pistachio plantations. Our booked room in Şanlıurfa at the "Asis Otel" in the city center is difficult to access by car. But in the early afternoon, we manage to get one of the three parking lots in front of the hotel entrance. To leave again would mean to loose the parking space.

9/4: Excursion to the sunken village of Halfeti = 31mi [50km]. When we are getting up at our "Şitamrat Otel" in New Halfeti, the first rays of sunlight are just catching the top ridge framing the reservoir. Flocks of birds fly past, otherwise nothing is moving yet. The atmosphere is just beautiful. Today we are searching our own way to the sunken village of Halfeti. Through pistachio plantations, their pink fruits hanging like grapes from bunches, we drive towards our destination. Thanks to Emil's traced coordinates, we find it without any problems. The last mile, i.e. the descent on a gravel road to the lake described as 4x4, is quite steep indeed, but also doable with a passenger car. This proves "our" Renault Clio. After we have overcome the few stony passages at the lake shore, we stand in front of THE sight: A minaret rising out of the water. We sit down on the bench under the weeping willow and watch for a while the pretty busy tourist boats arriving with loud music. The passengers quickly twitch their cell phones before the boat immediately turns around and returns without stopping. We consider ourselves very lucky that we are able to discover everything on our own and being able to escape this mass hype.
9/4/2021 The minaret of Old Halfeti, which
was flooded at the end of 1999.
Clever businessmen knew how to exploit this
9/4/2021 Full tourist boat arrives
at Old Halfeti; without a stop
but with a lot of music
9/4/2021 Pistachios (Pistacia vera)
from the Gaziantep region. Turkey is the
third largest producer in the world
9/5/2021 Yeşilözen, 7½mi
[12km] east of New-Halfeti,
on the way to Şanlıurfa
 
9/3/2021: Khata - Adıyaman - Halfeti = 122mi [196km]. From our Nemrut Dağı pension we continue through a plain with huge pistachio plantations to the "Halfeti villages": the old sunken, almost extinct Halfeti (a neighboring village of Savaşan), and the new "tourist Halfeti" built on the reservoir (from which the boats to the sunken Halfeti leave). Due to the construction of the Birecik reservoir, most of the "original" Halfeti was submerged, and the minaret of the mosque, which still partially rises from the Euphrates, has become a popular tourist attraction. From Halfeti, one crowded excursion boat after the other chugs daily for 45 minutes to the sunken village (a horror scenario for us individualists). But there is a possibility to reach the sunken village by car on a so-called 4x4 track. We plan to do that tomorrow 9/4. The sunset mood from our "Şitamrat-Otel" in the touristy Halfeti on the mirror-smooth lake and the flaring of the first lights in the small village below us is simply magical.
Unfortunately after 10 days and 815mi [1'311km] it's already half time here. As of now we are on our way back to Van. We are now curious to see if we can share the enthusiasm of other travelers about the upcoming D400 route. Can it be any more beautiful than what we have already experienced?
 
9/2: Nemrut Dağı N.P., which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its huge statues of gods at 7'001ft. [2'134m] altitude, built by King Antiochus, is another impressive highlight of our round trip. We have the "summit" completely to ourselves in the early morning after a strenuous 646 yards [600m] long and steep ascent. At our destination, about a dozen well-preserved, impressive heads of gods such as Zeus, Apollo and Hercules, each carved differently, await us. They are lined up at the foot of the still intact thrones with the seated (decapitated) statues. A guard with a cane and handcuffs (!) makes sure that the barriers are not crossed by selfie-crazy people. We lingered for a long time, admiring these marvels of the past on both the east and west terraces of the mountaintop. (To avoid misunderstandings it should be mentioned that the two mountains with the same name, which are 196mi [315km] bee-line apart from each other, and which we visited on 8/27 and today, have nothing in common).
9/2/21 The steep westward ascent from
the parking to the Nemrut Dağı summit
with its statues from the 1st cent.BC
9/2/2021 Thrones and heads
on the east terrace
 
 
 
9/2/2021 West terrace:
Head of the Persian eagle god
 
 
 
9/3/2021 New Halfeti - a tourist
center at the Birecik reservoir
of the dammed Euphrates River
 
 
 
9/1/2021: Elâzığ - Malatya - Adıyaman - Karadut near Kahta = totally 180mi [290km]. In Malatya we turn off to Adıyaman, which gives us a very nice drive southward through a wild mountainous area. The good asphalt road runs up hill, down hill. Sometimes the mountains are spectacular, sometimes a small lake, sometimes villages clinging to slopes, sometimes small and large lush green fields, either on tiny terraces or in the vastness of a plain, sometimes tobacco plants in full bloom – whole fields of them. In Kahta we turn off to our Nemrut Dağı pension in Karadut and lodge in the middle of the mountains.
 
8/31: Round trip around Elâzığ, which includes two ferries across the Keban reservoir (totally 90mi [145km]). After visiting the castle of Elâzığ on the hill, we drive the approx. 30mi [50km] to the first Meseli/Elâzığ ferry. For US$1.89 [€1.60], car included, the first ferry takes us across the lovely turquoise Keban Lake, nestled in a barren desert landscape, to Pertek at the other shore. Particularly beautiful about it: In the middle of the lake, perched on a rock, rises the imposing Pertek Castle. On the northern side of Lake Keban near Pertek, we continue for about 30mi [50km] through a hilly landscape to Yemişdere/Çemişgezek, where the second ferry takes us to Muratcık for US$1.77 [€1.50] and thus back to Elâzığ – a lively town with a special charm.
 
8/30: Sightseeing of the city of Elâzığ (310'000+ inhabitants).
8/30/21 İzzet Paşa Mosque ottoman style
with 1 main dom (Ø65½ft. [20m]) and
25 smaller doms, in the center of Elâzığ
8/30/21 At the southern ferry
landing for Pertek. In the center
the island of the Pertek citadel
 
 
9/1/2021 The Çat reservoir near Çelikhan
along the beautiful, 54mi [87km] long
road from Malatya to Adıyaman
 
 
9/1/21 Flowering tobacco plants
(Nicotiana tabacum) near Doğanlı
 15mi [25km] before Adıyaman
 
 
 
8/29/2021: Muş - Elâzığ = 155mi [250km]. Starting from Muş, the landscape reminds us a bit of Patagonia. Between the bare, desert-like hills, the green of clusters of trees with a farmhouse keeps sticking out. The landscape alternates between plains and hills; after Bingöl – an unremarkable town – deep ravines open up. Just before Elâzığ, the Murat River Valley with its patchwork of fields offers great views again. The mirror-smooth dammed Keban Lake at Elâzığ shimmers in the midday heat as we arrive. We stay at the Şirin Otel in the city center.
 
8/28: Resting day in Muş.
 
8/27: 12½mi [20km] detour from Bitlis to the crater lakes of Mount Nemrut on an altitude of 7'372ft. [2'247m], which are beautifully embedded within the high crater wall. Already the ascent with the many hairpin bends to the narrow ridge inspires us. The views from the top of the pass to the huge Lake Van, the beautiful moods in the crater, but especially the untouched nature are highlights. In the afternoon we continue to Muş, totally 90mi [144km]. Through a wide valley with a lot of agriculture, where farmers along the road offer honey and watermelons, we continue on the well-built four-lane road.
 
8/26/2021: Start of our 20-day rental car round trip in East- and Southeast-Anatolia, where a Kurdish majority lives. With hot weather but bright blue skies throughout, we saw and experienced many beautiful things every day. Contrary to some travel advisories for Anatolia, we always felt safe and welcome, and the police and military checks always waved us through in a friendly manner or wanted just to see the passport. Some short excerpts from Liliana's diary are following. Route: Van - Tatvan - Bitlis = 106 miles [171km]. To the left of the four-lane road bare desert mountains are glaring, to the right the blue Van Lake. Kurdish villages with their typical glittering tin roofs nestle at the foot of the hills.
8/26/2021 Akdamar Island (0.27sq.mi
[0.7km²]) with Armenian Holy Cross
Cathedral, in the South of Van Lake
8/26/2021 Holy Cross Cathedral
from 1st millennium; renov. 2005
Ferry Pier: 38.30906° 43.03976°
8/27/21 Nemrut Lake (4.77sq.mi [12.36km²])
 alt.7'372ft. [2'247m] in Nemrut Crater,
ca.14mi [22km] from Tatvan (tar road)
8/29/2021 Dammed Murat-
River before Keban reservoir,
ca. 31mi [50km] east of Elâzığ
 
8/25/2021: Other region – other city – new planning: Van with the peaceful Van Lake, whose surroundings we already know from our 2013 Turkey trip with our LandCruiser, brought us luck. On 8/24/2021 we could finally rent a small reasonably priced (USD568) Renault Clio car for 20 days without any problems at Van's airport. To be mobile again by ourselves is a lovely gift! We still stick to our plan to travel the scenic route D400 along the Syrian-Iraqi border (see Google map below). However, due to the current heat of more than 104°F [40°C] in southeastern Turkey, we will do the loop the other way round (counterclockwise), i.e. first we will travel through the cooler eastern Anatolian mountain regions. During the few days we spent in Van at an altitude of 5'663ft. [1'726m], we especially enjoyed the beautiful view of the imposing 'Hazrat Omar Mosque' from the breakfast terrace of our Hotel Dosco on the 7th floor right up to the high mountains in the East (Mt. Erek, 10'663ft. [[3'250m]) and to the 1'450sq mi [3'755km²] large Van Lake (Lake Constance "only" 207 sq mi [536km²]). Worth seeing was also the small, modest, but therefore "tourist-free" bazaar very close by. The most beautiful experience for Liliana however was the visit of the special white Van cats with their two different colored eyes (blue and amber), which are only found here at Van Lake. It brought back nostalgic memories of the cat families she lovingly cared for during our 11 months Corona lockdown in Posadas/Argentina (see pics further down from May 2020).
8/23/2021 Hazrat Omar Mosque
in Van (Beşyol)
8/25/21 Van citadel/castle (Kalesi)
from the 7th to 9th century
8/25/2021 Van cat (Felis catus)
with a yellow and a blue eye
8/25/2021 Map of our planned
20-day-trip through SE Turkey
 
8/21/2021: Until Tuesday, 8/17/2021, we spent a week in Erzurum, a nice city in eastern Turkey with a beautiful castle, mosques and madrassas. We felt very welcome and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and the low priced food in the many restaurants. Unfortunately, our plan A to rent a car in Erzurum didn't work out because of the long school vacations: The car rental market was completely dried-up. Now plan B came into play: We boarded a bus that took us in 6¼ hrs. the 267 miles [430km] from Erzurum to Van, which lies 50ms [80km] short of the Iranian border. It was a 40-seat Mercedes-Travego of the bus company Kâmil Koç, which is also marketed for "non-Turks" by european Flixbus. The journey of the not even half-full bus took us through the Turkish continuation of the Armenian Highlands, crossing two mountain ranges: Aras Dağlan between Horasan and Ağri (very beautiful) and Ala Dağlan between Ağri and Lake Van (pretty beautiful). With the exception of the first mountain range crossing, the road was practically four-lane. The traffic was rather light until entering the city of Van, so that we arrived earlier than scheduled.
8/13/2021 Erzurum citadel/castle
(Kalesi) from the 5th century
8/13/2021 Young, independent
turkish ladies in Erzurum
8/17/2021 Bus company Kâmil Koç
in bus terminal Erzurum
8/17/2021 On the single track
route between Horasan - Ağri
 
8/8/2021: Train station Istanbul Pendik: At the ticket check, we have first to queue due to the following luggage screening. The Turkish YHT - a kind of German ICE, French TGV or Taiwanese THSR - to Ankara arrives on time from Istanbul. On our comfortable seats we are taken in 4¼ hrs at a maximum speed of 155ms/h [250h/km] to our first destination Ankara. Once the huge, about 60+ miles [100km] long metropolitan area of Istanbul is behind us, there are some nice views along the eastern Sea of Marmara, then we pass briefly through forested mountains. Otherwise, the route leads through an unattractive plain with many industrial plants and cultivated areas. After 310ms [498km] Ankara welcomes us with a sultry tropical climate. We change from the new modern YHT station over the bridge to the old station and after three hours of waiting time, we board the "traditional" promising Doğu-Express (see 2 pictures further down).
 
To say it right away: We were not disappointed: The journey with the Doğu-Express from Ankara to Erzurum was a highlight and by far exceeded our expectations. As soon as we left the agglomeration of Ankara, beautiful landscapes and pure nature opened up to us. A colorful patchwork of harvested fields was followed by wild river valleys with rushing streams, rugged mountains, bizarre rock formations, narrow gorges, bare desert hills dotted with green bushes, lovely reservoirs with wonderful reflections and lonely farms and small villages. Also the lazily flowing brown Euphrates accompanied us for a while. And again and again we went through tunnels, which tempted Emil to start counting. There were 139! The 170 photos that unfortunately we had to shoot through the window, which could neither be opened nor was clean, are proof of our enthusiasm. Benefiting our "sightseeing" were also the many stops at stations and the relatively slow driving due to track conditions. The only negative experience was the night. Although on fresh sheets, wrapped in plastic directly from the laundry, sleeping on the coach was uncomfortable. It was too much shaking so that sometimes we thought the train will derail. In addition, the blinds were so transparent that we were constantly floodlighted on the 44 train stations from outside. But when at dawn we looked out of the window again and a coffee from the restaurant revived our spirits, the exhausting night was already forgotten. On August 9th, 2021, 5:17pm, we reached Erzurum after 23h 22m with about 2¼ hours delay after 714ms [1'149km].
8/9/2021 Emil admires from the
window of the Doğu-Express
the landscape rushing by
8/9/2021 Tunnels again
and again - totally 139;
here near Divriği/Sivas
8/9/2021 Narrow gorges again
and again through the mountains
between Sivas and Erzincan
8/9/2021 The dammed
Euphrates river about ¾ hours
before Erzincan
 
8/6/2021: We have now again a fixed date and thus a perspective! Next Sunday, August 8th, 2021, we will once again travel by train (last time January 2017 in Myanmar): At 10:51am with the high speed train from Istanbul/Pendik in 4¾ hrs. to Ankara, where we will change into a sleeper of the "Doğu-Express" to Erzurum. We should arrive there at 3pm on Monday. It is said to be a scenic ride, not necessarily until Ankara, but afterwards eastwards. From Ankara, we reserved a whole four-person sleeper compartment for the two of us, and with 50% retirement discount, the whole trip from Istanbul comes to just US$52.70 [€44.50] for both of us. Simply unbelievable the low prices in Turkey. Erzurum is also a cheaper destination for rental cars than Istanbul. Whether a car rental company will still rent us a car being short of 80 years old, is another question. Either way, we are excited to experience something new! The only downer are the skyrocketing corona- and 7 days incidence numbers since about two weeks - exactly since we entered Turkey - which at some point could trigger a new lockdown or a ban on entry in future countries.
 
7/26/2021: We are in Turkey! To escape the announced lockdown in Morocco on 7/23/2021 starting 11pm, everything went again in a jiff! Complete a rapid antigen test and book a cheap flight on 7/21/2021 with Air Arabia from Casablanca to Istanbul. But before we rent a car here, we first follow the development of the somewhat unstable Turkish Covid-19 situation. Do the Corona case numbers/incidents increase here as well, we risk not only being caught in another lockdown, but loosing also the prepaid car rental costs and perhaps a denial of entry in further countries. We want to avoid that at all costs. Africa would be again or still our intention. In the meantime, we enjoy the great variety of tasty Turkish food in the small cozy restaurants and cafes around our rented apartment in Yenişehir/Pendik on the Asian side of Istanbul. Life is good: The food is incredibly cheap, (around US$8 for 2 people), the 2-room apartment with cooking facility costs US$42/day and the weather is sunny with pleasant temperatures (about 77°F [25°C]). This is the sixth visit to Turkey, but the first without our LandCruiser.
7/24/2021 The Great Mosque of
Yenişehir 2½ms [4km] north of the
Sabiha Gökçen airport of Istanbul
7/26/2021 In a Turkish restaurant in Yenişehir/Istanbul in the Asian
part of Turkey
 
 
8/8/2021 YHT trains (high speed
trains) in Ankara YHT Train Station
("ours" is on the left)
 
 
 
8/8/2021 The "traditional"
Doğu-Express near Kayaş on
its way to the East (Kırıkkale)
 
 
 
 
7/21/2021: Our four-week rental car tour in Morocco is over after 1'775ms [2'856km]. The route of our last week was Agadir - Essaouira - Safi - Oualidia - Berrechid (Casablanca). It was new territory for us and led us on a varied and interesting drive along the Atlantic coast. Bays with long sandy beaches, lined with gnarled trees bent by the wind, offered a beautiful picture. Then a world of dunes welcomed us, and in the touristy surfer paradise of Essaouira, the camels in the dunes waiting for tourists conveyed a touch of desert feeling. As a change, from time to time the road ran inland, past colorful markets, where rows of ancient donkey and horse carts were on their way home. Not much seems to have changed there yet. Shortly before Safi, we crossed a huge industrial area from which phosphate is mined and exported. On the last stretch from Safi to Oualidia we followed an imposing cliff coast where in the plain the dry desert soil was now and then studded with green shining corn plantations. In Oualidia we then left the coastal road and turned onto the highway in the direction of Casablanca, where we delivered our small Kia Picanto rental car at the airport on July 18th, 2021. To be "on the road" again was the most beautiful experience for us, because it gave us back a small part of our former travel life – but only a small part, because the constant accommodation reservations were exhausting. Where to next, away from the heat and away from rising Corona case numbers? That's the question we're grappling with right now!
7/15/2021 "Camel Parking" near
the Ocean Vagabond Restaurant
at Tagharte Beach in Essaouira
7/15/21 Coast road R301 2½ms
[4km] north of Souira Kedima
near Dar Aicha Guesthouse
7/15/2021 Horse carts are in the
countryside still in use everywhere
 
7/16/2021 Back on the coastal
road R301 between
Safi and Oualidia
 
7/11/2021: The itinerary of our third week in Morocco, from Taroudant - Tafraoute - Mirleft - Sidi Ifni to Agadir was dictated by the onset of an extreme heat wave. Nevertheless, we ventured from Taroudant still the detour over the interesting Tafraoute in the Anti Atlas Mountains, where the "hell climate" bothered us so much that we had only one wish: Off to the cooler Atlantic coast. There we aimed first at Mirleft and then at Sidi Ifni further south, which welcomed us with persistent fog. Sidi Ifni, like Western Sahara, which is even further south, was still Spanish West Africa almost 50 years ago. Then we went to Agadir, the tourist center in the south of Morocco on the Atlantic coast, where we stopped at the garden oasis of the "Maison Marocaine". In Morocco, the privately run, relatively small accommodations are quite numerous, are often good value and comfortable, but are always called differently: Maison d'hôtes, Riads, Auberges, Boutique Hotels, Bed & Breakfast, Villas, Bivouacs (tent), etc. Interesting is also the climate on the relatively cool Atlantic coast, to be compared with western South Africa and Namibia: While the narrow (foggy!) coastal strip has about 68°F [20°C], the about 12-50ms [20-50km] more easterly (sunny!) Inland can already be 68-86°F [20-30°C] hotter in summer.
7/5/2021 Mosque of Aday 2ms
[3½km] southwest of Tafraoute
along the route R104 to Tiznit
7/5/2021 Road signs in Tiznit
in Arabic, Berber (Amazigh)
and French
7/6/2021 Former Spanish Sidi Ifni
with its beach and the somewhat
higher situated city center
12/15/2018 Agadir and its beach
viewed from Kasbah of Agadir
Oufla in our trip to Chile Dec. 2018
 
7/3/2021: Also the second week in Morocco is already behind us. We drove the following route: Tinerhir - Dadès Valley - Ouarzazate - Marrakech - Ijoukak - Taroudant. Thereby we crossed the High Atlas twice, drove countless tight curves on masterpieces of mountain roads and enjoyed again beautiful views of Berber villages with its village life. New for us was the route Marrakech - Ijoukak - Taroudant, which also turned out to be the most scenic. The 76ms [122km] long and 6'867ft. [2'093m] high Tizi-n-Test pass was built in the 1930's by the then French colonial power and is practically paved throughout, alternating between a single and double lane road. An authentic Berber experience awaited us in Ijoukak at the "Auberge Tigmmi N'Tamazirte" at 4'003ft. [1'220m] altitude. The location of this simple Berber-style guesthouse is surrounded beautifully by mountains. From the terrace the sheds can be seen, where pottery is made for home use. Only the increasing heat drove us away from this idyllic place. At the moment we are at the "Maison d'Hôte Riad Asma" in Taroudant - also at almost 104°F [40°C] - and plan our further route. Should we move on to the cooler Atlantic region or to the more interesting but hot Tafraoute region in the Anti-Atlas mountains?
6/27/2021 Tisdrine serpentine road
bypassing the Dadès Gorges
6/27/2021 Gorges du Dadès
½hour north of Boumalne
 
 
7/2/2021 Berber village on the
north side of Tizi-n-Test pass
 
 
7/3/2021 Orange seller in front
of the 3¾ms [6km] long Taroudant city wall
 
 
6/26/2021: The first week in Morocco is already behind us. We drove on new paths for us into the Atlas Mountains. Route: Berrechid (Casablanca) - Beni Mellal - Kasba Tadla and on the 107½ms [173km] new winding mountain road to Imilchil at 6'952ft. [2'119m] altitude, where we stayed overnight. On a less good tarred road we continued over the 8'678ft. [2'645m] Tizi Tigherrhouzine pass down to Tinerhir, where we now have >95°F [35°C+]. The drive was beautiful: Bizarre rock formations, fertile palm valleys, wild mountains in all shapes and colors, spectacular views, small villages in traditional adobe building style and green river oases alternated. In two villages it was market day and Berber women and old men on donkeys were part of the exotic picture. Shortly before our destination Tinerhir we passed through the impressive Todra Gorge - at the lowest point the rocks are 300m high. There were already signs of local Moroccan tourism, but foreigners are still missing. Currently we are at the Hotel Riad Dar Bab Todra in Tinerhir at 4'692ft. [1'430m] altitude on the edge of the palm oasis with a view of the green palm belt and the desert behind. Here we plan our next stage. Unfortunately a predicted heat wave of >113°F [45°C+] makes the decision difficult for us: Either back to the mountains, to the Atlantic or to the "hell" of Merzouga in the desert of Erg Chebbi.
6/25/2021 Liliana and our rented
Kia Picanto near Imilchil
 
 
6/25/2021 Lake Tislit 4ms
[6km] north if Imilchil
 
 
6/25/2021 Gorge du Todra 10ms
[16km] before Tinerhir
6/25/2021 Below us Ait Ojana
and in the back Tinerhir with the
palm belt and the Todra river
 
 
6/22/2021: We are on tour in Morocco! After we heard that Morocco has reopened its doors for tourism on June 15th, 2021, we acted immediately: PCR test, flight, hotel and rental car booking and off to the airport with Uber. On June 18th – exactly three hours before the start of the new weekend lockdown in Lisbon – we were in the air to Casablanca on an Air Maroc propeller plane. It was a super quick decision! The exotic we missed in Portugal is back; and according to our feeling at very reasonable prices! We rented a Kia small car from Avis for one month and are happy to be mobile again. Now we are back in the country – for the sixth time – where Emil "tested" Liliana for her willingness to travel in 1968 before we got married. At that time we were on our way with one of his old VW Beetle, which revealed its quirks several times.
6/18/2021 Welcome at Equi Palace in
Berrechid, 34ms [55km] south of Casablanca
 
 
6/22/21 Castle of Ain Asserdoun
near Béni Mellal
6/22/2021 Stork families on the
mosque of Oulad Embarek
6/22/2021 Reservoir of
Bin El Ouidane south of Beni Mellal
 
 
 
6/13/2021: The Inselspital (University Hospital) Bern supports us with medical e-emergency advice.
 
6/5/2021: The only news: A third extension of the temporary eight-month import permit (TIP) of our LandCruiser stationed outside Buenos Aires that expired on May 21st, 2021, was rejected by the Argentine customs. We now have to follow by email the procedure of its decommissioning. Yes, we miss our LandCruiser enormously, but we don't expect that Argentina will reopen for tourism again before the end of the year. Until then we have to plan our flights and accommodation very carefully and on short-term in order not to end up in a deadlock. So all options are still open.
 
5/25/2021: Lisbon is a very beautiful city; currently the jacaranda trees are in full bloom. Restored old nostalgic trams from the 1930's still circulate through the narrow alleys of the hilly old town. A ride on No. E28 – the so-called tourist tram – was a real treat on Pentecost under a steel-blue sky. The garden restaurants at the lookouts over the red roofs of the city were bustling with activity. Since Portugal reopened the gates to the English a week ago, 16 planes from England have landed in Lisbon in one day alone, not to mention those flying directly to Faro, Porto, Madeira and the Azores. Before the hype gets too big, it's time for us to move on. Besides the Comoros and Zanzibar also Malta, Cyprus and even Greenland are buzzing around in our heads. The decision itself is not easy, not to speak of all the restrictions and regulations!
5/25/2021 Largo Portas do Sol-
Viewpoint in Lisbon
5/25/2021 Bica Funicular at
Largo Calhariz, Lisbon
5/25/2021 Av. Dom Carlos I - from
the parliament southward, Lisbon
5/25/2021 Praça Martim Moniz
vs. Castelo de São Jorge, Lisbon
 
5/9/2021: The timing was perfect: Just as we were celebrating our 52nd wedding anniversary, relief arrived: Our health examinations at the CUF Clinic in Lisbon revealed no nasty surprises – just confirmations of what we already knew or suspected: Liliana's hip bone joint and Emil's spinal vertebrae, both caused by age-related osteoporosis. In the meantime we moved from a 183sq.ft. [17m²] small hotel room near the airport (Portela) to an apartment in the city center (Rego), where we enjoy all the amenities (incl. washing machine) – a small but nice substitute to our life on the road with our LandCruiser. Thanks to Schengen we don't have any visa stress, thus we don't rush with our onward journey. We are still not sure whether we should fly via Dubai (where the heat will soon become unbearable) or via Nairobi or Zanzibar to the Comoros. Who knows whether other possibilities might suddenly pop-up despite Covid-19.
 
5/1/2021: After the African island life on São Tomé, we experience a pulsating European city for the first time in a long time. The contrasts could not be starker. On the one hand, we miss the exotic and the "more carefree lifestyle"; on the other hand, it is also pleasant to get everything we need and our hearts desire, and "to feel safe on the pedestrian crossing". Life in Lisbon is almost back to normal. Masks are compulsory everywhere outside the "own four walls" and is strictly observed. But you can move freely again, stroll around, browse in the stores and also indulge yourself in a good restaurant indoors or outdoors. We also used our short stopover here for a long overdue visit to the doctor. The results are still pending. But of course we hope that they will be positive according to our age, and that our health will allow us to continue our beloved free travel life – at least what's within our current possibilities.
 
4/18/2021: With a nostalgic look to the colorful crowd waving goodbye to their loved ones at the airport in São Tomé, we boarded the Portuguese TAP plane to Lisbon on April 18th, 2021. A novelty for us was that we had for the first time wi-fi in the air, even for free. After six hours of a quiet flight over the Sahara in a brand new A321neoLR, we landed in Portugal on time, switching from the tropics to the European spring. But Lisbon and with it Europe will only be a stopover for us to do some shopping. What we cannot manage here, we would have to try in Dubai, before we return to Africa. Planned are still the Comoro Islands, but only after the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan on May 12th.
4/18/2021 Farewell at
the airport of São Tomé
4/18/2021 Landing approach of
the 2.5 mio. metropolis Lisbon
4/23/2021 Estação (station)
de Lisboa-Oriente
5/6/2021 District Rego
in the center of Lisbon
 
4/16/2021: Reports from Georgia (June to August 2013) caught up: Georgia (1)  /  Georgia (2)  /  Georgia (3)
 
4/11/2021: Our relaxing time in the still not too well known exotic African tropical country São Tomé & Príncipe is coming to an end after three months. Despite the Covid crisis (or should we say "thanks to it"), it was a wonderful time and a free life that we'll treasure. It won't be easy to change from a peaceful island life temporarily into the big city of Lisbon, where again everything is dictated with European pettiness by Corona. But the so-called pandemic says today what is possible and what isn't! As a farewell, for the time being, we attach four photos that remind us especially of this tropical island. We will miss many things: The lively hustle and bustle we have come to love as well as the simplicity of the people who go about their often arduous daily chores in the hot tropical sun with the greatest self-evidence. And last but not least, the special moments in the "Passante-Cafe" at the sea promenade, where we often let the day end with a cappuccino while "people watching". The only regret is that out of respect for the people, who often didn't want to be photographed, we cannot show much of the colorful everyday life. Did the "pre-pandemic tourist groups", which are missing today, contribute to it? Finally an apt quote from poet Jean Paul: "Memories are the only paradises where we cannot be expelled".
2/12/2021 Drying laundry along
the main road EN2 near Água Izé
2/26/21 Wooden home with fields near Porto Alegre in the South
3/8/2021 Little girl at Bombaim
in the center of the island
3/13/2021 "People watching" at Passante-Cafe in São Tomé
 
3/29/2021: And already everything is different again! After the announcement of the new flight schedules for the (northern) summer, our last preferred route via Gabon-Cameroon to Sharjah in the UAE can no longer be realized. In addition, airfares are rising massively everywhere. Once again, we had to rethink and act quickly. We just unexpectedly managed to get hold of a cheap flight with TAP Air Portugal to Lisbon and thus also cash-in their voucher for the recently cancelled stretch from São Tomé to Accra. We have now firmly booked for Sunday, April 18th, 2021, and hope that by then new Corona regulations in Portugal won't again cause an unpleasant surprise. But there is something good about it: Maybe it wouldn't have been a good idea to travel to an Islamic country during Ramadan, which takes place between April 12th and May 12th. We have not yet decided where to proceed now from Lisbon.

Happy Easter! - once more despite of Corona

3/20/2021: Since a few days the rainy season has started and turned the dirt roads in the jungle into mud tracks. This no longer affects us so far. We still drove them in dry weather and actually saw everything on the island that we wanted to see. Now we just concentrate on asphalt and gravel roads and the colorful city life of São Tomé and make ourselves homely in our comfortable bungalow at the Hotel Praia. Emil continues to research how we can get on from here as reasonable as possible, still focusing on our original destination of Dubai. We already have two airline vouchers - from TAP Air Portugal and Egyptair - and don't want to collect more. Two flight routes are in the forefront: Either with Afrijet to Libreville in Gabon and further with Air Senegal to Douala in Cameroon and change there to Egyptair (= cash-in of a voucher) to Dubai. Or with TAAG to Luanda in Angola and further with Emirates. A flight today depends not only on its fare and workability, but also on required visas and the feasibility of the obligatory PCR tests. However, we do not necessarily see all this as a disadvantage - at the most as an obstacle - but see it as a challenge that is rewarded by less tourism and consequently by a more cordial "welcome".
 
3/20/2021: The "35th Anniversary on 16.10.2019 in Guarapuava/Brazil" is now updated.
3/20/2021 Emil in front of the
Postoffice of São Tomé
2/28/21 Pond near Fernão Dias 10ms north of São Tomé
2/12/2021 Beach with fishing boats in Pantufo 2½ms south of São Tomé
2/12/2021 Roça Água-Izé
10½ms south of São Tomé
 
3/11/2021: Today is our 56th day on the tropical island of São Tomé. An "average" group tourist usually stays here only one week to visit the lush rainforest, the ruins of the former Portuguese cocoa and coffee plantations, called Roças, and to experience the typical African hustle and bustle in the small villages with their colorful washing days at the rivers. With our advantage of having time we can get a deeper insight into the country and its people and always discover something new – be it the arrival of fishermen with fresh catch, a waterfall or the orange glowing flame tree shining through the jungle's green, deserted white sandy beaches and dugout canoes floating in the Atlantic with their white simple sails. But we are also already planning our onward journey. Covid-19 and Ramadan (in the U.A.E. and the Comoros), which takes place from April 12th to May 12th, 2021, are messing up our original program. The plan was to go first to Dubai and then to the Comoros – another African island that we are not considering with our LandCruiser. Emil is now constantly on the look for a reasonable option. It is not easy to find common ground for all PCR tests, visas, fluctuating corona regulations and Ramadan obligations. B.t.w.: A nice article about our world record tour was published yesterday in the American online magazine "Autoevolution".
 
3/4/2021: "More about the 37-Year-Journey around the World" is now updated (last time 12/19/2019).
3/4/2021: "The Journey's Chronological Sequence" is now updated (last time 9/3/2017).
 
3/1/2021: On February 24th, 2021, – Emil's 79th birthday – a heavy tropical rain is pattering on our bungalow roof all day. Two days later, after a very long time finally the sun shone again, perfect for exploring the 46ms [74km] southern coastal route EN2 to Porto Alegre, at the end of the road. The density of the primary tropical vegetation left and right of the road were once again a feast for the eyes. Everything seemed to be covered with moss, everywhere it seemed to sprout. The slow driving through the hilly areas with its many tight curves allowed us to observe the normal daily life in the small simple settlements and to avoid running over the pigs, goats chicks and dogs that ran across the road. Every now and then there were beautiful views through the thicket to lovely palm bays and white, deserted sandy beaches. At km 51 [~32ms], the landmark of São Tomé came into view: The impressive 2'175ft. [663m] high Cão Grande, a volcanic vent rising vertically from the plain. Then came the shock: A huge palm oil plantation began (currently 5'190 acres, planned up to 12'150 acres), as we know them from Malaysia (pic.22+24) and Indonesia. Tractors with trailers crammed with palm oil fruits crossed us. At the gate of the main entrance to the Agripalma plantation near the Ôbo Nature Park (!), the good asphalt road suddenly stopped, and difficult stretches mixed with deep holes, broken asphalt and coarse gravel began. Porto Alegre, the small fishing village with 800 inhabitants at the end of the road EN2, where fish is carefully spread out to dry on grates and roofs, was then for us the epitome of an original island life, as it was centuries ago and still partly is.
2/26/2021  Praia Micondó 6ms [9km] east of São João dos Angolares
2/26/2021 Cão Grande view from the eastern descent to Rio Caué
2/12/2021  Creek for washing near the beach of Água Izé
2/28/2021  Kindergarden hour in
Fernão Dias
 
2/21/2021: We couldn't resist a second visa extension of 60 days (!). Thus, we would be allowed to stay in São Tomé until April 22nd, 2021. In the meantime we made some excursions again. The nature is everywhere still largely intact and strongly tropical. The 28ms [47km] of the EN1 along the wild west coast to Santa Catarina, where the road now stops 2½ms [4km] later (earlier a ring trail is said to have continued to EN2), surprised us with the turquoise shimmering "Lagoa Azul", a wild coast with small villages with simple stilt houses and self-carved nutshell fishing boats on the basalt beaches. The exotic charm was once again provided by palm trees bending towards the sea. Sao Tome is still real "laid-back" country – as we experienced it during our Africa crossing between 1989 and 1993. The road network offers a single mini-tunnel; there are no traffic lights, however sometimes quite a lot of potholes. The women still carry laundry and dishes on their heads to the river to wash them there, their babies hanging in the back cloth. Yesterday we changed the hotel. The new one offers a fully functioning kitchen in an own bungalow. Eating always out no longer satisfies us in the long run.
 
2/9/2021: Bad news: The Portuguese TAP Air Portugal stopped its flights to Accra/Ghana due to the Corona crisis in Portugal, among them is also our booked and paid flight on February 20th, 2021, with a connecting flight of Egyptair via Cairo to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (also booked and paid). What now? We need to find a solution because our visa extension in São Tomé expires on February 21st. Alternative: With the Angolan TAAG on February 18th, to Luanda in Angola and there five days later with Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa to Dubai (a rather expensive option). The Angolan embassy here would issue us a 5-day transit visa for Luanda (US$10/p. - to spend in quarantine). Nevertheless, we still inquired at the local immigration here about the possibility of a second extension of two weeks, since TAP apparently plans to resume their flights to Accra at the beginning of March. Big surprise: We would get our São Tomé visa extended for another 60 days (US$83/p.). What we will decide now is still open.
 
2/6/2021: The full moon's change of January 28th, 2021, brought a temporary improvement in the weather situation – reason enough to explore more corners and peculiarities of this small tropical island. We focused on the "interior", the island covered by lush green rainforest, which thrilled us with its exuberant vegetation. One destination was the "São Nicolau" waterfall. Just getting there on one of the many jungle tracks was beautiful, but bumpy. Hidden in the sprawling greenery are ruins of the Roças – the former Portuguese coffee and cacao plantations. They were usually self-contained places with a hospital, school, mansions and tiny quarters for workers. After independence in 1975, the plantations were nationalized. Unfortunately, due to a Marxist mismanagement, only ruins remain today. Every now and then one of the Roças is converted into an "eco-resort" or slowly mutates into a "normal" village.
2/2/2021 "Our" Suzuki Jimny
in the rainforest
2/2/2021 Wild growing porcelain rose (Etlingera elatior)
2/2/2021 São Nicolau waterfall
above Monte Café
2/21/2021 Atlantic Coast 1m
south of Roça Diogo Vaz
 
1/31/2021: After 14 days of very hazy weather with milky skies and a few heavy tropical showers in between, the sky finally cleared up a bit for the first time on January 28th, 2021. We jumped into our 'Suzuki Jimny' and set off. First to Roça Monte Café – one of the oldest coffee plantations, founded in 1858 by the Portuguese. There we visited the well-stocked museum where we learned about the origin of coffee (Arabica and Robusta). Motivated by the sunny weather we continued our trip, back to São Tomé and along a part of the south coast. It took us through a landscape of deep tropical vegetation, picturesque palm-fringed bays surrounded by colorful fishing boats, fine sandy beaches and villages bursting with African street life. We are now looking forward to explore more. Immigration has extended our '15 day-free-visa on arrival' for STN2'220 (=US$110) p.p. by 3 weeks! New departure date: February 20th, 2021.
 
1/23/2021: Africa has us again for the fourth time after 1st 01/89-11/92; 2nd 07/11-06/12; and 3rd 10/13-12/15! And it is a far more authentic Africa than we would have experienced it - as previously planned - in South Africa or Namibia. After almost 20 hours of flying and 20 of hanging around from Buenos Aires to São Tomé & Príncipe, we landed on the evening of 1/15/2021 on the small airport of the island state on the west coast of Africa. A bright, clean and spacious room with sea view welcomed us at the Emoyeni Gardens Hotel. With a rented Suzuki Jimny we will now leisurely explore the 386½ sq.ms. [1'001km²] with its <1975- Portuguese past and are already dealing with the extension of our 15-day "visa on arrival". Life here is relaxed, corona masks are mandatory only in public buildings and shops and the islanders are friendly and very unobtrusive.
1/15/2021: Number of Visited Countries updated
1/15/2021  Arrival at the international airport of São Tomé
1/20/2021 Pupils on their way home in front of Hotel O Bigodes
1/28/2021  Beach of São João dos Angolares (seen from Miónga)
1/31/2021  Fishing village of Praia Melão south of São Tomé
 
10/1/2021: After three days "on the road again" we arrived in Buenos Aires on Sunday evening, 10th January 2021. Despite the intense heat of >104°F [>40°C], our LandCruiser ran perfectly during the 633ms [1'000km] through flat land. The mechanic in Posadas, who still knew about old car engines, did a great job. We are infinitely grateful to him. Here in Buenos Aires, things took an unexpected turn: Customs made real problems with certain things on our packing list, and our booked three flights to São Tomé were at stake. Not hesitating, we decided to temporarily park our LandCruiser at the "Andean Roads" campsite in Ricardo Rojas near Tigre, 25ms [40km] northeast of Buenos Aires. It is now in good company with other stranded until we return and hopefully can travel freely again in South America. Latest indications for Argentina point to late March/April. There are still many places along the Andes to the north that we don't know yet. If it doesn't work out, we'll either go to southern Africa as planned (if the Covid-19 situation eases there) or ship somewhere else. On January 14th, 2021, we were on our way as planned in a plane to a "new world".
 
12/24/2020: Everything is organized: The 32nd container is booked, as well as our three flights on the first and second day: From Buenos Aires with Aerolineas Argentinas to São Paulo/Brazil in the morning of January 14th, 2021, where - after a PCR test - we shall board TAP Air Portugal for Lisbon and after changing the plane onwards to São Tomé; arrival in the evening of the 15th. What's then depends all on Corona. The number of cases in South Africa as well as in Namibia is steadily increasing and the newly mutated virus only makes things worse. Rumor has it that on the destinations where our Toyota is supposed to arrive, a second complete lockdown could be ordered, which would mean that ships no more would be allowed into the ports of Cape Town and Walvis Bay. This was apparently at least the case during the first lockdown. Therefore we have to be flexible with our planning, because the situation can change from day to day. The only certainty is that our days in Posadas are numbered: We'll still celebrate Christmas and New Year under the sunny and hot skies of Argentina. Today we learned that "our" hotel will reopen on January 2nd, 2021. Good news for "our" extended cat family! On December 6th, four new were born, all of them snow white and very cute. Now there are 10 in total and another litter is expected pretty soon.

Despite of Corona we wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a good and healthy and better New Year!
 
12/2/2020: - The most important thing: We have now booked our departure from Argentina! We will fly on January 14th, 2021, with the Portuguese TAP from São Paulo/Brazil via Lisbon to the island of São Tomé & Príncipe on the west coast of Africa. This is new territory for us – just without car! There we will explore the island while our LandCruiser will sail from Buenos Aires across the South Atlantic to Cape Town in its 32nd container.

- The best: After a long search we are finally on the track of a shipping agent in Buenos Aires who doesn't want to rip us off in advance.

- The latest news: In the hotel garden the "Queen of the Night" (Selenicereus grandiflorus) bloomed again on 11/29/2020. The last time was on 4/12/2020.

- The saddest thing: One of the little kittens has been bitten to death by dogs; the remaining three ones (besides the four already grown up) are thriving splendidly and we still hope to be able to find a new home for them before our departure, which is quite difficult.

- The most worrying: Liliana's 3-year-old laptop Acer Swift 1 is causing problems, as does Emil's 7-year-old camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70, after Liliana's same-aged Nikon Coolpix P520 already gave up more than a year ago.

- The most boring thing: Today is the 307th day in the same room in the same hotel and the 258th day of the Argentinean quarantine, which is no longer a lockdown, but still none of the 24 provinces can be left travel "kaput". However, we have the luxury of retreating to the air-conditioned room with private bathroom and wifi, which is pleasant at the current heat wave of 104°F [40°C].
12/2/2020  Location of São Tomé & Príncipe
12/24/2020 Corona Xmas in Posadas/Misiones/Argentina
12/24/2020 Hotel La Misión Cat Family Offspring
1/10/2021 At one of the many campsites along the canal
"Río Coronel Martín"
 
11/13/2020: An apt quotation from a friend on our 36th travel anniversary on 18.10.2020: "Does it make you sad, because things may not be the same today as they were in the past, or are you happy that you can have such memories?" Since November 8th, Argentina has moved from the phase of isolation (ASPO) to the phase of distance (DISPO). However, it is just another name, but does not imply a significant improvement of our restrictions. Provincial and national borders – the most important thing for us – remain closed! This new phase is now valid until November 29, 2020. What after that? Rumors say that hardly anything will change before the New Year, but perhaps in the months after. Beautiful prospects! Since our last update there is little news: Concerning shipping offers from the ports of Buenos Aires or Zárate to Namibia or South Africa we have made some progress. But not everything is clarified yet, especially with our outbound flight. Covid-19 (tests, quarantine, restrictions, changes) complicates flying extremely. But we are still at it! Last Tuesday we were able to get a preventive vaccination against pneumococcus and flu for the trip; yesterday an eight-week young white kitten of the last quintuplets found a new home, and nature is green and blooming. Spring has definitely arrived – see pics.
 
10/18/2020: Today 36 years ago, on October 18th, 1984, we missed by a fracture of an inch the start to our journey to freedom due to a chaotic departure (http://www.weltrekordreise.ch/a_akte_20._jubilaeum.html). The adventure of our epic journey began! With nostalgia we now look back on the 36 wonderful travel years of our life and are happy to have been able to experience the world in the past 13'149 days when it was still okay. The privilege of being able to feel the great freedom in this form will probably not return so quickly anymore. Just yesterday, the Vice-Governor of the Province of Misiones in Argentina, where we have been stuck for seven months, announced that the provincial and national borders will remain closed at least until 31.12.2020. It seems that after that date, only regulated and controlled travel will be introduced in Argentina, which no longer corresponds to our free life. So we are now trying to plan for the future and to obtain shipping offers to our possible next destination - "southern Africa"; with zero success so far. Our everyday monotony, influenced by corona, is still brightened up by our lovely cat family. The "new" quintuplets are now 4 weeks old and very cute! Also the changing nature in the hotel garden always offers new surprises. At the moment the palms are bearing fruits.
 
 
 
10/18/1984  Begin of our worldtrip
at JFK Airport New York, USA
 
 
11/13/2020 Spring: Jacaranda  Tree (Jacaranda mimosifolia)
 
 
11/13/2020 Spring: Asiatic Dayflower
(Commelina communis)
11/13/2020 Spring: Blooming  Sago Palm (Cycas)
 
10/17/2020: The fourth page from Argentina with 63 nostalgic pictures from 1986-88 is now online.
 
9/29/2020: The third page from Argentina with 72 pictures from 2019/20 is now online.
 
9/26/2020: Our present quarantine routine with currently more than 13'000 daily new Covid-19 cases has now been extended until October 11th, 2020. Since our last update from 9/4/20, orchids were blooming and fading in the hotel garden, the last avocados felt down, mangoes were ripening, parrots started to build their nests, exotic birds appeared, the three now adult kittens became more affectionate every day and Liliana celebrated her 79th birthday. And, "our" cat family got five new brothers and sisters, whose birth on 9/20/20 caused quite a lot of excitement, when the highly pregnant mother cat did not appear for feeding for three full days. Our search was unsuccessful. Then, on 9/23/20 she suddenly appeared again around noon – much slimmer and very hungry. Where was she the whole time? Where did she give birth? When she only left the feeding place again in the evening, we followed her secretly and were amazed when she steered towards the locked door of the equipment shed. So we opened the door and discovered five mini kittens in a much too small cardboard box, two of them snow-white. How did she get in there? Three days ago, she apparently sneaked unnoticed into the door that the gardener had left open for a short time, which he then closed again. If he hadn't accidentally fetched the lawn mower three days later, she would not have been able to get out (again unnoticed) and she would have starved to death together with her kittens. And if we had not followed her secretly to the closed door, she would not have had access to her little ones anymore. Happy ending!
 
9/18/2020: The second page from Argentina with 96 pictures is now online.
 
9/7/2020: After a longer break we are a bit more motivated to catch up again on our trip picture pages (though it won't be possible to continue in the foreseeable future). Thus the first page from Argentina with 76 pictures is now online. Three more will gradually follow.
 
9/4/2020: Due to the increasing number of corona cases, which yesterday reached 12'026/day (!), Argentina is still firmly in the grip of Covid-19. Argentina has become the worst corona infected country in the world (compared by population worse than Brazil, India and the USA). Over the last weekend, the 11th extension of the isolation has been put in place until September 20th, 2020. In provinces with a high number of cases, to which Misiones luckily does not belong, the freedom of movement within the province has been limited again and put back to level 1 (= isolation at home). At least until the end of September, there will neither be long-distance transportation (bus, internal flights) nor international "normal" commercial flights. Thus for us the monotony of our everyday quarantined life continues. Last Sunday it was broken by the invitation to a delicious fondue at Erika and Heinz's place - a Swiss couple who has been living in Argentina for 30 years and who ran the "Restaurante Suizo" in Candelaria - a village 17ms [28km] southeast of Posadas - until the end of last year. It is beautifully situated on their own park-like grounds. Chatting the afternoon away with them was a real pleasure after the long time being just the two of us and the four cats, which admittedly are always fun to watch. Now we hope that at least the provincial borders will reopen soon, so that at least we can be somewhat "on the road" again in Argentina – probably wishful thinking until next year!
8/30/2020  Enjoying Fondue
9/19/20 Moth orchid
(Phalaenopsis amabilis)
9/20/2020  Cat increase
9/25/2020  Liliana's Birthday
 
8/2/2020: Our situation in Posadas/Argentina is still the same. The lockdown will continue unchanged for us until at least August 16th, 2020 (= 150 days). But what has changed in the meantime is the environment in our hotel area. The avocado trees, which for weeks provided us with an abundance of their fine fruit, are now being replaced by mangoes, which are slowly beginning to ripen. The bushes, which were still in hibernation, are starting to blossom again and spread a springtime atmosphere with their colorfulness. Also the chirping of the birds is intensifying. The temperatures are rising and allow us to spend more time in the lovely garden. Our cute kittens are soon grown up and provide entertainment and often also excitement, when the smallest and most playful one meows miserably on a high palm tree and doesn't know how to get down anymore! Only regarding the two of us things remain the same: We are still waiting for any openings and a solution where to go next! If we are lucky, the airport of Buenos Aires might reopen in September for commercial flights, thus we might park our vehicle securely and look for a change by plane, while the provincial and land borders seem to remain closed for an indefinite time.
 
7/8/2020: Since our last update of June 26th, 2020, nothing has changed in terms of the lockdown in Posadas/Argentina – on the contrary, the next extension could come on July 18th. But there is a ray of hope otherwise: We seem to have come closer to solving the long-running stuttering problem of our LandCruiser. Thanks to Heinz, a Swiss who has been living in Argentina near Posadas for 30 years, we ended up with a mechanic, who still knows about old car engines. After a week in his workshop, where he mainly worked on the carburetor, we were able to drive the six miles [10km] back to our hotel without any stuttering. Did the miracle finally happen? A longer test drive, which is not possible at the moment because of the Corona movement restrictions, will show if we can definitely cheer. Of course the current cooler winter weather still plays a role too, but maybe we will experience yet another summer heat wave here?
 
6/27/2020: Today, June 27th, 2020, we celebrate the 100th day in our isolation in Posadas, Argentina. The country has managed to grab a world record as "the longest and most strict quarantine" – not necessarily very pleasant for us! And there is no relief. On the contrary, in Buenos Aires, where the number of infected cases is currently rising due to the onset of winter, it's now spelled back to level 1 of March 20th. We read in the local newspapers that this will mean that another 20'000 small and middle-class businesses will lose their existence. The tourist office in Posadas has announced that after the pandemic, tourism will only resume at the "post-war era" level (what ever that means). Beautiful prospects! And how are we doing? Psychologically not optimal. When we see how in many countries people are slowly but surely able to move more freely again, we ask ourselves how long we want to be "locked up" here. We are now making plans again! The days are getting colder as winter approaches, so that we can no longer eat in the garden every day, which is always one of the nice moments of our isolation. And when a hummingbird (Hylocharis chrysura) visits us, our day has been saved! Liliana continues to devote herself lovingly to the little kittens that thrive without Covid-19.
 
6/13/2020: As feared, the now already 86-days lasting lockdown continues in its 7th phase and will now last at least until June 26th, 2020! At a minimum, we received a letter from the hotel manager yesterday, which allows us to drive to the city center to buy finally what we couldn't get in the last 12 weeks in the supermarket 2 miles away. For various reasons we dropped our initial idea to take the Swiss Edelweiss repatriation flight from Buenos Aires to Zurich on June 10th, to finally be able to leave Argentina. The destinations we prefer and where we want to ship simuntaneously our LandCruiser to, are Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. So we are waiting to see which of these three countries will be the first to reopen for tourists. "Our" cat family is still doing well; the 8-week-old kittens are growing and are simply adorable.
 
 
6/11/2020   7½ weeks old
 
 
6/27/2020  Guilded Hummingbird
 
 
7/8/2020 At the workshop of Alberto in Garupá/Posadas
2.8.2020 Spring flowers (Azalea)
 
 
5/27/2020: Everything is still unchanged with us! The 6th lockdown phase is running and will end after 80 days on June 7th – who believes it! The province of Misiones, where we are stuck, hasn't had any new infected persons for 3 weeks now, and yet the extreme restrictions remain unchanged. However in the neighboring province of Corrientes, which had significantly more infected people, normality is slowly returning now. We feel more and more frustrated, and having no perspective begins to gnaw at our minds too. What still remains are small things that brighten up our daily routine life: The chirping of the birds in the tropical garden and "our" cute cat family, which couldn't survive without us – actually it is the only "consolation" of our "settledness" since March 20th. An opening of the borders to our neighboring countries is not in sight, not even to the neighboring provinces. In addition, on 5/22/2020 Argentina announced a national bankruptcy. What effect this will have on us travelers, we will see.
 
5/17/2020: In today's corona virus stalemate, what do you do with its worldwide restrictions? You are beginning to dream of previous times, when the world was still in order, when traveling still meant adventure and freedom. This opportunity was offered to us by pure coincidence by Swiss Television, which yesterday, 5/17/2020, re-broadcasted our nostalgic 22-minute contribution (in Swiss German) as part of their program "Wanderlust Souvenirs on the Road (La Strada)". It was shot end of March 2004 on the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Dominica and was followed-up by a Skype interview in April 2012 from the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. Here the link: Wanderlust Souvenir Part 6
 
5/11/2020: Here in Argentina there is still no sign of a relaxation of the coronavirus blockade for us. On the contrary, the fourth extension of the curfew imposed on March 20th, has already come as "phase 4" into force: It will now continue until May 26th, 2020! Thus the radius of movement of 1¼ miles [2km] remains unchanged for us. And our visa, which has already been unbureaucratically extended by one month, expires again on 25th May. We are checking now with the immigration authorities whether and how we can extend it again, because it doesn't look like any neighbor's border is going to open this month. Fortunately our days are brightened up by our pleasant stay in the hotel with a nice garden and birds' twittering. Also the sweet hotel cat with its three cuddly kittens are a welcome change. Nevertheless, we are more and more worried how to get out of this unfortunate situation. But we think we are not the only ones, although we are slowly becoming impatient too!
 
4/26/2020: The corona virus lockdown in Argentina has now been extended for the fourth time until May 10th, 2020. This means for us that we are only allowed to drive 1¼ miles [2km] to the next supermarket/pharmacy. For the city center we would need a permit. The government also decided to suspend all international and domestic flights until at least September 1st. What kind of country are we stuck in! The only sensation was that our cute black hotel cat that we take care of gave birth to three kittens: a snow-white, a grey and a baby tiger kitten. B.t.w.: Our visa was automatically extended by one month and will expire now on May 25th.
 
 
4/26/2020 Our hotel cat got kittens
 
 
5/10/2020   3 weeks old
 
 
5/27/2020   5½ weeks old
 
4/12/2020: It is now decided: Argentina extends its lockdown at least until April 26th, 2020. Our visa expires one day earlier. With the help of our hotel "La Misión" at Posadas we will try to get an extension from the immigration after Easter. In the meantime, a routine and monotony has crept in: In the morning at 8am hotel breakfast – yes we get it still despite the closing – coffee drinking at the now emptied pool, surrounded by banana trees, the "queen of the night" cactus flowers and palm trees, where croaking parrots and other birds fly back and forth, feeding the black pregnant hotel cat, which follows Liliana like a puppy. At noon we are allowed to cook in the hotel kitchen as we are slowly running out of camping gas; eating under a mostly blue sky under the shady avocado tree; taking a siesta, watching the sunset in the pool area. In between we inform ourselves in the internet about the development of the spread of the corona chaos, answer emails from dear people, where partly the contact already slept for some time but now fortunately is revived again and dream from time to time about possible continuations of our journey. The LandCruiser still has to wait until we are allowed to do a test drive.
 
4/1/2020: Where, how long and how are we sitting out the Corona crises:
What: Lockdown/quarantine. Where: In Posadas/Misiones/Argentina. When: Since March 20th, incl. until April 12th, incl., for the time being. How: Because of the eternal overheating problem our LandCruiser stood several days in the workshop of the Toyota dealer in Posadas – unfortunately with unsuccessful result – we changed to the hotel "La Misión". We landed a direct hit not only in terms of price, but also humanly when in Argentina the closing of all hotels, campings etc. was ordered. Because we had a good relationship with the management, we are now allowed to stay even after the hotel closed. We now cook and eat at our LandCruiser, put table and chairs under the shady avocado tree and enjoy a kind of camping life. In addition we have the luxury of retreating into the air-conditioned room with its own bathroom and wifi, which is pleasant in the still prevailing heat of 104°F [40°C].
 
 
3/31/2020 Meals from camping kitchen
4/1/2020 Coronavirus regulations
 
 
4/12/2020 Pool area Hotel Misión Posadas
 
 
4/12/2020 "Queen of the night" (Selenicereus grandiflorus)
 
 
3/27/2020: Great news: Since today our website is working again, which was idling for the last two months due to the necessary change of the ISP! We owe it solely to our "website-domain-and-ISP-Sponsor" Peter Frickart (Screen IT & Multimedia AG) in Staefa/Zurich/Switzerland, especially his capable employee, Andy Kurt, who was able to make the complicated and massive adjustment to save our "life's work". A big thank you to both! It motivates us to continue! We have now enough time to sort through more pictures and write captions as the twelve-day lockdown (curfew) in Argentina was extended by another 12 days to April 12th.
 
3/22/2020: Now that yesterday we got access to our website again, we would like to say a few words about our whereabouts in Posadas: On 15.2.2020 we mentioned that we would postpone our Papua New Guinea plan. Four days later, thanks to our newspaper article on February 18th, we received an invitation from Toyota Misiones to do a check on our LandCruiser. During the following days this was also extended to our "eternal" overheating problem, i.e. stuttering, plucking and banging. Unfortunately without success, partly due to a lack of spare parts, but also due to a lack of knowledge about an old, non-computerized gasoline engine, especially its carburetor. Toyota Audec in the neighbouring province of Corrientes also wanted to help us, but an appointment never came about because first there was a big heat wave in the area and then the coronavirus interfered. Because our car has an increased number of severe misfires in the heat, it prevented us from driving 196 miles [315km] to Corrientes. And since March 20th, there is an absolute lockdown in Argentina due to Corona. So we are now blocked in Posadas until further notice (April 1st, so far), but we have doubts and believe that due to the coming many holidays, nothing will be changed in the driving ban until Easter (April 12th, 2020).
 
3/21/2020: Some of you might have noticed that since weeks new updates on "what's happening" were missing and that the majority of small pictures could not be enlarged by a click anymore (Error 404). The reason is that our ISP in Switzerland moved and since end of January we couldn't access the new one "Green.ch". Excuse: We were working with old software! Since today we finally have again access to the server and are able to appease our worried followers who contacted us by mail. Nothing happened to us! We now hope that soon also the problem with the enlargement of our pictures can be solved.
 
2/18/2020: The Argentine media in Posadas/Misiones discovered our LandCruiser: Here the Spanish article of 2/18/2020 of the "Primera Edición" with the title: "Récord Guinness: Vivir viajando" (= living while traveling), by the way, the 276th media report.
 
2/15/2020: Due to the current uncertainty of the Coronavirus situation in the Asia-Pacific region we postponed our planned shipment to Papua New Guinea for the time being, all the more as the rainy season is ending there only end of May. There was a time when passengers from Asian countries were blocked to enter that country. The land border from Indonesia to PNG is closed. But also global shipping is hit by the virus – goods are getting stranded worldwide because vessels are not allowed to enter ports without its crew having been tested for Covid-19. Currently we are just happy that our vehicle isn't yet on its way.
 
1/27/2020: We changed the country, but what remained is the scorching heat of around 104°F [40°C]. On January 27th, 2020, the ferry took us from Ciudad del Este in Paraguay across the Paraná and Iguazú rivers to Puerto Iguazú in Argentina – b.t.w. our 320th ship and 540th border crossing since 1984. What we experienced at the small Argentine border post was simply incredible: Chatting with the customs boss we found out that he had also family at Emil's place of origin "Oberdürnten" – a small Swiss village with approx. 1'600 people – and still remembers quite a bit of his visits to his relatives there. Leaving, we made a souvenir picture and shook hands. It doubtless was our most memorable border crossing on our epic journey around the world. To escape finally the unbearable heat, we are now heading southwards.
 
1/27/2020 Iguazú - Ferry Paraguay - Argentina
1/27/2020 Argentina Customs Puerto Iguazú
2/21/2020 Toyota Misiones in Posadas Argentina
2/24/2020  Argentina:  Emil's 78th Birthday
 
1/20/2020: Scanned slides from the pre-digital area show how much South America has changed visually since our first visit in 1987/88. Emil followed up some of the Chilean attractions based on roadmaps and with the help of Google. The immense changes are partially disappointing! Where we were alone with nature at that time, there are nowadays parking lots, fences, compulsory walkways, and a lot of more dos and don'ts. But on the other side today's roads are better (paved), investigations by internet are much easier and some other developments such as cash withdrawals, communication, border crossings (customs and immigration documents) have been facilitated. At the end of our Chile-2 photo page we added now 36 of such nostalgic pictures.
 
1/14/2020: The second page of our 2nd South America trip 2016 through Chile with 60 new pictures is now online.
 
1/8/2020: The first page of our 2nd South America trip 2016 through Chile with 75 new pictures is now online.
 
1/4/2020: Fortunately, time is on our side. Because what we really need is time and patience to organize the 32nd container voyage of our LandCruiser from South America to our new destination in Papua New Guinea. During the festivities nothing at all happened for two weeks anyway. Now slowly some movement is becoming apparent, including obstacles: The logistics firm of the French shipping company CMA-CGM announced that they don't handle cars with personal belongings inside, not even in a container "FCL". Now we just have to wait and see and drink tea!
 
12/25/2019: We are still stuck in Ciudad del Este in Paraguay and are still waiting for offers of shipping companies, which are not very cooperative here in South America. As soon as we know if our LandCruiser will be sailing either to Papua New Guinea from Montevideo/Uruguay via the Atlantic and Indian Ocean or from San Antonio/Chile via the Pacific Ocean, our onward journey will continue accordingly. Today, the two of us have been celebrating Christmas quietly at a festively set table in our air-conditioned room while outside the temperature has risen to almost 104°F [40°C].
 
12/19/2019: "More about a 35-Year-Journey around the World" is now updated (last time 5/26/2019).
 
12/14/2019: The page of our 2nd North Asia trip 2016 through Saudi Arabia with 18 new pictures is now online.
 
12/14/2019: Liliana is feeling better again! We are now preparing our take-off from South America at the beginning of 2020. If everything works out, our next destination will be Papua New Guinea for the second time. According to our principle "Never give up", we finally received after another attempt another permission to explore the country with our own LandCruiser on a temporary basis (the first time was in 2010). Now we are working on the tricky task to find a shipping line taking our LandCruiser in its 32nd container from South America to the West Pacific region.
We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and health and happiness in 2020!
 
11/27/2019: It's the first time in her life that Liliana was on a drip As the stomach flu symptoms with abdominal cramps and vomiting sickness did not improve for days and the fever yesterday reached already mid-afternoon over 102°F [39°C], she pulled herself up for a consultation at the Santa Lucía Hospital opposite of their Nova Hotel. She has been diagnosed with food poisoning. With medication she feels already a bit better today but it means to remain still a bit longer in Ciudad del Este in Paraguay.
11/27/2019 So fast it happens: Liliana on drip
12/14/2019  Merry Christmas!
 
 
12/25/2019  Xmas table 2019
 
 
 
1/20/2020  Planning & Reserach
 
 
11/24/2019: The daily temperature raises up to 104°F [40°C] what reduces considerably our activities. After all we finally found a voltage regulator in Ciudad del Este in Paraguay and endured also three days in the heat under a corrugated iron roof of a car electrician in order to solve the overheating problem of our LandCruiser. But despite of installing a fourth electric gasoline pump with direct access to the tank and renewing all the other fuel lines, barely having left the workshop we got stuck again in the midst of the city's rush hour traffic: No matter what "goes on" around us, it means unscrewing the carburetor feed line and suck in fuel . Air bubbles still interrupt the gasoline flow. Where does it come from? Slowly we are out of ideas, but also the "experts". To make things worse both of us have been affected since days by a nasty stomach flu. As soon as we feel better again and the heat wave is over, we are off again, most probably towards the South, where it's less hot.
 
11/13/2019: The page of our 2nd North Asia trip 2016 through Ukraine part 3 with 33 new pictures is now online.
 
11/3/2019: After 3½ workshop days at the Sassa Car Service workshop in Cantagalo/Paraná/Brazil the big worry on our Brazilian visa expiring day of October 30th, 2019, was: Is the problem now really solved in order to be able to reach the 190mi [306km] to the Paraguayan border without any breakdowns to leave the country on time? Until about one mile [1½km] before the border everything went well. There, however, at 104°F [40°C], we got stuck in stop-and-go traffic of a double line due to the 35-years "teething trouble" of our LandCruiser. The carburetor was overheated insomuch that the recently installed three new electric fuel pumps weren't anymore able to build up the necessary pressure. That meant: Cool down the carburetor with water, disconnect the petrol pipe from the carburetor, suck in the fuel and after refitting make new starting attempts - and this not only once! But finally we reached customs where its procedures were fast and easy.
 
10/27/2019: We are stuck at the Sassa Car garage in Cantagalo/Paraná, 190mi [305km] short of Foz de Iguaçu, due to the increasing stuttering, stalling and misfiring of our LandCruiser at the slightest ascent. As soon as the gas pedal has to be floored more than half of its way, the problem starts. Last Thursday, 10/24/2019, we have exchanged some of the electric parts and replaced the three fuel pumps - to no avail. Friday it was once more the cleaning of the carburetor despite of having done it only two weeks ago. The compression shows fine data after 9'000mi [15'000km] of its last engine overhaul. When Emil came back with the workshop boss from their umpteenth test drive with finally his thumb up, it felt almost like a miracle. But the joy didn't last long. On Saturday the old problem returned; the carburetor was once more cleaned and a new big gasoline filter was installed. The test run was again OK. But we aren't trusting it anymore and want to take down the gasoline tank, clean it and check the fuel pipes tomorrow, 10/28/2019. We are a bit under time pressure because our Brazilian 90-days stay will expire on October 30th, 2019. At least the lovely "Pousada Espaçu Verde" with its camping is only 1½mi [2¼km] from the workshop, where we can relax fairly from the stressful situation under a bougainvillea tree in full bloom.
 
10/18/2019: Today in the South of Brazil in South America, we are celebrating another milestone in our world record tour: Our 35th anniversary on the road! It was October 18th, 1984, when, with a chaotic start, we swapped our ordinary life in Switzerland for an adventure into the unknown. The goal was to explore the world free of schedules at least for one year and enjoy the freedom. From one year it became two and afterwards it never stopped. A special imprint left three more prominent milestones: Our 30th travel anniversary in Angola in Africa under an unlucky star, our 25th travel anniversary in our dream destination Tahiti/French Polynesia in the Pacific, and our 20th travel anniversary under palm trees on the island Saint Martin/Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. (15th: Canada, 10th: Pakistan, 5th: Egypt).
10/18/2019 Passport fotos at start 35 years ago
10/27/2019 Camping Pousada Espaçu Verde
10/30/2019 Brazilian Customs in Foz do Iguaçu
11/20/2019  Once more below the hood
 
10/10/2019: "When the drive matters more than the destination" - article in The New York Times about people inspired by wanderlust as far back as 1894.
 
10/3/2019: The page of our 2nd North Asia trip 2016 through Iran with 78 new pictures is now online.
 
9/30/2019: The day when our LandCruiser reached its 777'777.7km [= 483'289mi], it was greeted by the Tarpan Toyota in Blumenau, which granted it a long overdue lubrication service.
 
9/27/2019: On September 27th, 2019, the odometer of our LandCruiser jumped to 777'777.7km [= 483'289mi] in charismatic Blumenau. Of course we make a remembrance picture and at the same time flash back to some more interesting figures and milestones on our epic journey: The 700'000th kilometer [434'960mi] we celebrated in Abkhazia (which we recorded but got lost due to the robbery of both our cameras in Abkhazia). The 600'000th [372'823mi] was in French Guiana; the 500'000th [310'686mi] in the United Arab Emirates; the 400'000th [248'548mi] in Estonia; the 300'000th [186'411mi] in Australia; the 200'000th [124'274mi] in Libya; and the first 100'000th [62'137mi] in the USA. The heyday of our worldrecordtour was 1999 in the UAE where we drove up at a Middle East Conference of IBM with exactly 500'000km (310'686mi] on the odometer on which occasion we were presented with a IBM Thinkpad – our first laptop – followed by a Mavica Floppy Disk Camera from Sony. Due to the huge media coverage, we were offered by the Wallenius-Wilhelmsen Shipping Line a free ride from Dubai to Japan for the LandCruiser and us, arranged by the Toyota representative Al-Futtaim Motors in Dubai.
 
9/22/2019: The last two weeks were weather-wise not a pleasure: Rain, dense fog, wind, storm and overcast skies. Who wants to explore the world in these circumstances. We have been sitting out this period – still in our apartment at the Island Santa Catarina near Florianópolis – and have been working on our website's photo pages of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan that are now online. Now it's Iran's turn with 78 beautiful pictures of our 3rd tour in 2016 to North Asia. In any case we'll spend still a few more days here, as it's Liliana's wish to celebrate her 78th birthday on coming Wednesday at this lovely place. Then we have to look first of all once more for a Phonak hearing aid representative, because after her left earphone, which was repaired in Asunción/Paraguay, now also her right one is dead (there's always something that breaks: material fatigue within 2¾ years).
9/22/19 Sunrise in Praia dos Ingleses SC
9/27/2019 777'777.7km in Blumenau
9/27/2019 Lubrication service in Blumenau
10/10/2019 The New York Times
 
 
9/17/2019: We found a nicely written article on the net from a Swiss 4x4 Online-Magazins of 11/9/2018: "Toyota LandCruiser Weltrekordreise".
 
9/14/2019: The page of our 2nd North Asia trip 2016 to Kazakhstan with 57 new pictures is now online.
 
9/5/2019: "It is harder to move on when everything feels right". Thus, we still enjoy our little apartment at the beach front at "Praia dos Ingleses" on the island of Santa Catarina near Florianópolis. Nearby Satinho Beach with its white sand dunes belongs to our favorite places on the island. What next? We will first head to "Ciudad del Este", the Paraguayan duty free border town near the Iguazú Falls. We need one or two new cameras – our present ones are already over 6 years old (19'000 resp. 13'000 pictures), and we will also check a DashCam.
 
9/3/2019: The page of our 2nd North Asia trip 2016 to Turkmenistan with 45 new pictures is now online.
 
8/26/2019: We are back on the coast – at the moment at the island of Santa Catarina near Florianópolis. Here we are now enjoying some relaxing days. We got now in the off-season in an apartment house of the Pietra Flat at the "Praia dos Ingleses" an offer that we could not resist: A room with balcony and ocean view, a small kitchen, breakfast buffet included, for R$177 a day = approx. US$46. We enjoy the soft sound of braking waves, the sun rising at the calm bay, the powdery soft white sand of the beach and filet mignon as well as cheese fondue on our balcony. There is almost a Caribbean feel to it! Further north (Curitiba, São Paulo) the impact of the disastrous wild fires of the Amazon forest are already felt in the air, thus we are not really in a hurry to move on. Btw: At the "Cambará do Sul" plateau" on August 16th, we have seen ourselves several fires caused by human activities, even at the entrance of the "Aparados da Serra" National Park.
 
8/23/2019: Our second side trip from the coast into the mountain region lead us from Criciúma in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina to the "Serra do Rio do Rastro" mountains. The narrow mountain road climbs from the small town of Lauro Muller along a steep cliff within 15 mi [24km] in 284 curves and switchbacks (we did not recount them!) to an altitude of 4'662 ft. [1'421m]. Is a truck or bus approaching, then it gets precarious and the adrenalin flowing. There are some turnouts enabling us to enjoy the view over the lush green plain right up the Atlantic Ocean. The "Serra do Rio do Rastro" counts to the most beautiful places in Brazil. That our LandCruiser braved the long 10% steep ascent without its notorious overheating problem added to our lovely mountain experience.
 
8/17/2019: As the four-lane coastal road BR 101 north of Porto Alegre does as before not run directly along the Atlantic Ocean, but often through big cities, we decided to do a side trip to the "Cambará do Sul" plateau, lying at an altitude of 3'300 ft. [1'000m]. It is a region with deep canyons and high towering Araucaria trees. Our goal was the "Aparados da Serra" National Park with the Itaimbezinho Canyon. A trail along the canyon revealed many wonderful sights into the deep gorge. It was a welcome change from the monotonous lowlands. Having explored most Brazilian main attractions already 1988 – by then luckily without today's flow of tourists – we are now concentrating on less spectacular places, but still worth visiting. Thus, from the city of Criciúma we will undertake another side trip into the Farofa mountain range.
8/16/19 Araucarias in Itaimbezinho Canyon
8/19/19 Ascent "Serra do Rio do Rastro"
8/25/2019 Chilling out near Florianópolis
9/5/19 Praia Sotinho Island Santa Catarina
 
 
8/7/2019: On August 2nd, 2019, we changed from the Uruguayan city of Chuy to the Brazilian one of Chuí – from a pretty expensive, very clean, Spanish speaking but rather "sterile" country into a more vibrant, more affordable and Portuguese speaking country. Always along the coast, we drove up to now 438mi [705km]. What did we experience? At the Rio Grande beach, we marveled at the endlessness of the Brazilian beaches, and in Tavares, 89mi [143km] more northern, we visited the 'Lagoa do Peixe National Park', where in October flamingos on their migration route to the South make a stopover. Now we saw at least a big colony of cormorants and some other water birds. The access road procured us a kind of thrill: The soft sandy track was often under water for long stretches, and at the small wooden bridges we asked ourselves: "Do they withstand the Lancruiser's weight of nearly 4 tons?" Otherwise the whole coastal stretch was flat, agrarian oriented with grazing cattle and horses and huge grain elevators. The road was never following directly along the seashore.
 
8/1/2019: Four years ago today we experienced the worst night: An armed robbery in Malawi.
 
7/30/2019: It was only a 85mi [137km] drive from Montevideo to Punta del Este in Uruguay. Faithful to our intention for Brazil (see below July 20th), we already chose here the coastal roads wherever we found access to them. The many white sand dunes lining the shore were a fascinating foretaste to what lies ahead of us: The 5'800mi [9'300km] long drive from Chuy in Uruguay along the Brazilian Atlantic coast to French Guiana that we already visited April 2003 and again in June 2005.
 
7/21/2019: Merely 114 mi [184km] into Uruguay's good roads, we got stuck in the small city of Trinidad due to a broken water hose of our modified heating system. The water of the radiator, colored with red antifreeze, inundated our LandCruiser in the front. It was a real mess! Emil fixed it provisionally. At least we reached in the meantime Montevideo despite leaking still a bit. It is the second time that this in 2012 additionally built-in heating system in Miri/Sarawak/Malaysia (see pic. #451) makes this problem; but at 37°F [2°C] temperature a bit of warmth is appreciated.
7/21/2019 "Mess in Trinidad"
7/30/2019 South coast of Uruguay
8/2/2019 left Chuy uy/right Chuí br
8/5/19 'Lagoa do Peixe'-NP at Tavares
 
7/20/2019: Despite of Emil's persistent low back pains and Liliana's persistent bronchitis that still bothers both much, two days ago we left Santa Fe heading southeast through a landscape dominated by farming. However we aren't yet driving towards our planned project "Tierra del Fuego in wintertime". Due to our prevailing health problems, we postponed the visit to the "southernmost permanently inhabited place" to a later date. New goal now: "Driving along the Brazilian Atlantic coast from Chuy in Uruguay to Saint-Georges in French Guiana" – 5'800mi [9,300km]; that's from the southernmost to the almost northernmost point of Brazil. We hope hereby that the warmer climate in tropical Brazil will speed up our recovery. Currently we are in Colón in the Argentinean province of Entre Ríos along the Uruguay River, opposite the Uruguayan border town of Paysandú.
 
7/5/2019: We are still stuck in Santa Fe. Despite of further injections and medication, Emil's low back problem hasn't improved noticeably; fortunately it seems that the backbone itself is ok. But: Liliana starts to show slight temperature and it looks like she caught a flu somewhere. Shouldn't we get our health under control soon, we'll have to postpone our project "Tierra del Fuego in winter" to the month of August.

6/30/2019: The Route Map around the World is again updated (last time 1/23/2018).

6/30/2019: After 537 miles [865km] and 17½ driving hours into the first quarter of our >2'500 miles [>4'000km] long journey to Punta Arenas, Emil's low back pains (see 6/15/19 below) increased in such an extent that we had to consult a doctor in Santa Fe. Today he got an injection (Dexamethasone/Diclofenac) and we hope to be able to continue tomorrow Monday. But we are still on track for our "winter project Tierra del Fuego": For the remaining miles, it will probably take us about 65 driving hours = for us almost 15 driving days, in order to reach the ferry in Punta Arenas on July 25th, 2019, to Puerto Williams.
 
6/23/2019: Tomorrow, June 24th, 2019, we are leaving Paraguay definitively and will start to our winter journey to Tierra del Fuego. 2'500 miles [4'000km] are lying in front of us until Punta Arenas, where on July 25th, 2019, we will board the ferry "Yaghan", which will sail with us in 32 hours (349 miles [561km]) through 9 different sea channels to Puerto Williams on the island of Navarino at the Beagle Channel, the most southern "city" of the world. The municipality of Cape Horn is running once a month a complimentary ferry to Puerto Toro, a hamlet at the eastern side of the Island of Navarino (coord. -55.08294/-67.07578) and therefore about 7½ miles [12km] more southerly than the well known Argentinean Estancia Moat, 80 miles [129km]east-southeast from Ushuaia. Around 30 people live there permanently in near complete isolation. The mayor of Cap Horn kindly allowed us to join this tour with our LandCruiser on July 28, 2019, also free of charge, in order to give us the opportunity to reach the "southernmost permanently inhabited place" of the world within the frame of our "Longest driven journey". We are really excited!
6/23/19 Winter project 2019 "Tierra del Fuego"
6/27/19 Ruta RN11 Chaco-Santa Fe
6/30/2019  World Route Map
7/20/19 View from Colón/Arg. to Uruguay
 
6/15/2019: We are still in Luque in Paraguay! Emil caught a very bad, surprisingly afebrile bronchitis, which brought all our actions for two weeks to a halt. Hardly back on his feet and his adventurousness returned, he got shot with lumbago! But one can still plan: In order to experience in South America still something new, special and exciting, we chose the option "Tierra del Fuego" in wintertime after we explored the region 32½ years ago in summertime. Will camping get too uncomfortable, we will book into a hostel, and will the roads become too icy, the tires will get fitted with spikes. We will start in the coming days to this journey.
 
5/29/2019: The page of our 2nd North Asia trip 2016 to Kyrgyzstan with 88 new pictures is now online.
 
5/26/2019: "More about a 34½-Year-Journey around the World" is now updated (last time 8/8/2018).
 
5/21/2019: After Liliana was able to repair her broken Phonak hearing aid yesterday in Asunción/Paraguay, our top issue is now: "Whereto next?" At the moment we are discussing five possibilities (the order does not say anything about the priorities): 1) In wintertime to Tierra del Fuego. 2) Along the Brazilian coast from Chuy in Uruguay until Saint-Georges in French Guiana. 3) From Manaus with boats via Leticia, Iquitos to Pucallpa in Peru. 4) Shipping from any South American container port to another corner in the wide world. 5) To remake our grills of the front side windows, which went missing in Salta/Argentina; to have some body work done (cracking and chipping putty) and to find a solution of the never-ending engine overheating problem of our LandCruiser in the workshops of the Mennonites in Filadelfia in the Paraguayan Chaco.
 
5/8/2019: Today is a very special day for us: We will celebrate our "golden wedding anniversary". Of the 50 years of married life, we spent with our LandCruiser 35 years on a journey around the world, which makes it even more special! As a festive setting, we are incidentally surrounded by lush green in the beautiful tropical garden of the camping site 'Quinta Tiffany' in Luque near Asunción /Paraguay. And for today, we are not sleeping in our LandCruiser but in its "Cabaña". Three days ago we entered Asunción after having crossed the plains of the Argentinean Chaco, affected by heavy rains. At the moment the rainy season is here still in full swing and some roads of the Paraguayan Chaco are not drivable due to flooding.
 
4/27/2019: Because we found it hard to leave the Andean mountains, we lazed away more time in the South of the Bolivian border. Especially in Tilcara/Jujuy – another village with a Bolivian flair. But on Easter Sunday we took the gloves off and began our journey to the East. Luck had it that in the little village of Tumbaya/Jujuy an Easter procession was underway and later in Cobos near Salta a Gaucho festival – two special highlights on this Easter Sunday. The third surprise was that for the first time in his life, Emil was asked by a police woman to blow into an alcohol detector: Result negative! That he drank on that day exceptionally only one can of beer at lunchtime feels like a premonition. After stopovers at the already known camping sites of Salta and Cafayate, we continued yesterday from Cafayate over the 10'000 ft. [3050m] high "El Infiernillo"-Pass to Tafi del Valle/Tucumán on 6'560 ft. [2000m] altitude. Tomorrow we will drive further to the East.
4/21/2019 Gaucho in Cobos/Salta/Argentina
 
5/8/19 "Golden Wedding" in Luque/Paraguay
 
 
5/21/2019 Flat Paraguay in the South
 
 
 
12/30/1986 Ushuaia/Argentina
 
 
4/14/2019: Cafayate-Salta-Cachi-Salta were the next legs since our last "What's happening". This triangle with its outstanding scenery captivated us already 32 years ago. And it did also today! Definitively worth a second visit was the stretch Cafayate-Salta with its gorgeous stone formations of different forms and colors stretching for about the first 37 miles [60km]. But also the spectacular hairpin bends from Salta to Cachi over a 11'320 ft. [3450m] high mountain pass were a pleasure. Lovely and interesting were also the encounters with a couple of motivated overlanders. Among them also the Swiss Yvonne and Alois, who, inspired by our worldrecordtour website, hit the road now for already six years. Salta was also the place where we actually wanted to repair the reinforcement panel that broke between the textile cover and the roof. But being not a supporting element, the local Toyota suggested us to leave it as the Argentineans would do it. We also adopted now the Argentinean way of thinking!
In Salta we also needed to plan our next sector. To the North through the Andes or to the East to the warmth. Finally, the North won. From now on, it was partly new territory for us, as we drove 1987 a slightly different track. The little adobe though by now touristy village of Purmamarca, embedded in red stone formations, and the 39 miles [63km] drive on the very good tarmac road until Humahuaca with its Bolivian flair were the highlights of that stretch. There, in Humahuaca, lying on an altitude of 9'850 ft. [3000m], we suddenly were not anymore enthusiastic to spend more cold and wet evenings on the front seats of our LandCruiser. We therefore changed our plan and are now heading East towards Paraguay and Brazil instead.
 
3/22/2019: After we enjoyed relaxing days at the camping "El Rincón del Leo" (-33.04906 -69.07883) west of Luján de Cuyo (Mendoza) and could refill in town at "Faveri" also our four gas bottle cookers from South Africa, Brazil, Oman and Qatar despite of the different adapters (-33.03639 -68.87661), on March 13th, we hit the road northbound again. Our daily stages were to San Juan (province San Juan) - San José de Jáchal (prov. San Juan) - Guandacol (prov. La Rioja) - Chilecito (prov. La Rioja) - La Ciénaga (prov. Catamarca) - Santa María (prov. Catamarca). New territories and highlights were especially the 20 miles [33km] ride through the Ciénaga Nature Park near San José de Jáchal with sweeping views over reddish mountain ranges, remembering us to the West of the USA. Equally inspiring was the drive over the "Cuesta de Miranda", which took us from Chilecito to the province of Catamarca. The mountain road meandered in many bends through eroded red rocks and stately candelabra cacti. The vast empty land and the mainly traffic free roads rose our traveler spirit! Less motivated were some camping with always barking dogs, unclean and dilapidated sanitary complexes. We started to dream of the wild nature places of the past! But since our armed robbery in Malawi we are not anymore very keen for rough camping. And how did perform our LandCruiser? No overheating anymore so far! But a reinforcement panel broke between the roof and the textile cover, banging at the minor bump. In Salta - approx. 180 miles [300km] further - we will have to take care of it.
 
3/1/2019:  "News – January/February 2019" is now online.
 
2/26/2019: Still escaping the cold we followed the legendary, now mostly paved "Ruta 40", to the North. In touristy Bariloche we decided to meander once more through the densely forested lake region of "Siete Lagos". Under a brilliant blue sky which accompanied us since the beginning of our nostalgic South America journey (1/11/19), the lakes embedded in pristine nature were gleaming in deep blue. After the bleakness of the steppe it was a refreshing sight. But there was also new land for us. For many kilometers we rolled through wide hilly highlands, followed by a (still) 50 miles [80km] long unpaved and corrugated stretch through a beautiful landscape between Barrancas/Mendoza (exactly -36.57094/-69.82873) and Bardas Blancas/Mendoza (-36.07503/-69.72234). But this had a price: Bothering was not only the heat of 95°F [35°C] (yes, we finally have our much anticipated share of warmth!), and the dust that penetrated into the interior of our car despite having sealed newly its doors. But it was especially our good old LandCruiser itself that after a climb-up the overheating problem popped up again and forced Emil to suck gasoline in order to continue - something he swore in Tajikistan, where we had this problem over and over again, he would never do it again. But he had no choice! In the meantime we reached Mendoza and are relaxing at the camping "El Rincon del Leo". It is a beautiful quiet place where finally also wifi works and where Emil celebrated his 77th birthday. South America keeps us really on the move. Until now, we traveled so far 3'170 miles [5'100km], with a gasoline consumption of 12 miles per gallon [22.8 lt. per 100km].
2/15/2019 Camping Portal Norte in El Bolsón
3/16/2019 RN40 South of Catamarca
3/16/19 Cuesta Huaco San José de Jáchal RN40
3/30/19 On RP33 from Salta to Cachi
 
2/12/2019: Five days ago we changed from Chile Chico into the neighboring country of Argentina, from snow covered mountain peaks and crystal clear lakes into the inhospitable and windswept Pampa, where the wind howled continuously and complicated camping life. Despite of it, it was lovely to drive for hours through the deserted flat dry steppe towards the North, occasionally only interrupted by remote estancias, tucked between high cypresses. Shy guanacos and fast rheas (a kind of ostriches) crossed our way. About 250 miles [400km] after the border – near Gobernador Costa – the landscape changed abruptly. Bleak desert hills lined the road and a meandering river with lush green trees and yellow flower carpets at its shores gave the brown landscape color and a special touch. We want now to escape the penetrating cold of the South and are now on our trip to the North and the warmth. But Argentina is also long: 2'360 miles [3'800km] (Chile 2'670 miles [4'300km]) – and internet access is still very very lousy!
 
2/4/2019: Since days we are now moving southwards on the Carretera Austral. Only once at the beginning we were surprised by drizzle; otherwise we rolled under a deep blue sky past turquoise lakes, rushing mountain rivers, always accompanied by snow covered mountain peaks and glaciers and steep forested slopes. In the valleys we crossed little hamlets and farms, and at campgrounds we met some same-minded overlanders but also some who do not have anymore the same overlander-spirit like us. After a few frigid nights we have now midsummer temperatures, but mid-week the weather is changing. We have therefore no pleasure to "trudge along" with our old bones and simple camping style for the second time through the notorious bad weather zone towards Ushuaia, where we already were in 1986/7 celebrating Christmas and New Year. After 385 miles [620km] on the Carretera Austral - today mostly good asphalt, yet about 60 miles [100km] of bad gravel left - we therefore plan to take the ferry from Puerto Ibañez to Chile Chico and entering afterwards Argentina.
 
1/22/2019: Back to our camping life: Since we left Santiago in Chile towards the South on January 11th, 2019, we traveled 1'055 miles [1'700km]. Only on our 11th camping, on the "Turismo Tell Camping Los Suizos" in Punaco, 6 miles [10km] east of Los Lagos in the XIVth Region of Los Ríos (-39.87382 /-72.72009), we found functioning Wifi, where we finally are able to update "What's happening"; also the mobile network (Entel) is hardly usable with 2G. Highlights of our chosen route were among others three National Parks: The "Laguna del Laja National Park" with the Antuco volcano, the "Conguillío NP" with the Llaima volcano and its impressive Araucaria forests, as well as the "Villarrica NP" with the Villarrica volcano. All three perfectly coned volcanoes greeted us in a brilliant white under a steel-blue sky. The nights are already getting chilly (about 43°F [6°C]), but our sleeping bags keep us cozy warm. We are continuing now to Osorno and Puerto Montt, where the Carretera Austral starts, which we would like to drive more to the South. Since the oil leak at the engine's front keeps within bounds, we didn't take action yet, but we keep an eye on it.
 
1/3/2019: In Santiago/Chile, on January 3rd, 2019, we had a wonderful reunion with the two people who inspired us in August 1983 in Cape Mclear in Malawi to embark on this epic journey around the world. We met them 35½ years ago on our common yearly holidays on the African continent. Brigitte and Gerhard from Germany. At that time, the two were touring Malawi during an Africa crossing with their 4x4 camper mobile. The idea of such a life of freedom took especially possession of Emil. He slowly tried to win Liliana for it. The result is known!
1/3/2019 Brigitte & Gerhard in Santiago
1/17/2019 Llaima-Volcano Conguillío NP
2/3/19 Lago Las Torres (-44.79075 -72.20676)
 
2/12/2019 Estancia in Argemtine Pampa
 
 
12/31/2018:  "News – November/December 2018" is now online.
 
12/30/2018: On December 24th, 2018, we reached from São Paulo/Brazil with the Chilean low cost carrier Sky Airline our destination Chile, and since December 28th, our team is complete again. In the port of San Antonio, we managed to do all the paperwork for the release of our LandCruiser by our own and in two days only (we couldn't convince any agent to do the job during the holiday season). But the red tape worked out only with the kindness and helpfulness of all the places involved, which helped us to reach the next step. The last authority, the customs comptroller, was more interested in the LandCruiser's country ribbon and in our first visit of Chile in 1987 but also in our current plans than in what we have loaded. No questioning what we carry along and not a glimpse into the vehicle. Thus our 31st container release will belong to one of the easiest and most pleasant ones! Expense: Around US$960; in Montevideo/Uruguay we would have paid twice as much. Currently we are in Santiago with summery temperatures. Unfortunately after the 90 miles [150km] drive to the capital we observed a loss of oil from the engine, and this after only 530 miles [850km] since the engine overhaul in Sarawak/Malaysia – probably from the timing gear. We will need to check it out before we head South.
 
12/23/2018: Our challenging nostalgic tour through four culturally different countries has ended; the big jump crossing the Atlantic Ocean lies behind us. We left Casablanca on December 19th, 2018, and after an one-night stop in Lisbon, the Brazilian air carrier "Azul Linhas Aéreas" took us in ten hours to the mega city Campinas northeast of São Paulo in Brazil. Conclusion: Our four chosen exotic destinations – Nepal, Oman, Egypt and Morocco – were perfect, exciting and a lasting experience; we wouldn't like to miss any of it. They included 11 flights and via 10 different countries (besides the four above mentioned main targets also layovers in Malaysia, Thailand, UAE, Portugal Brazil and Chile), just as many hotels, which summed up especially in Morocco as we were constantly on the move with a rented car. The onward flight to our final destination Santiago de Chile is booked for Christmas, December 24, 2018. Now we are looking forward to a less hectic time in South America with our LandCruiser, which arrives also on 24th December in San Antonio/Chile coming from Sarawak, i.e. to more camping life, to barbecues and Chilean and Argentinean wines. In this respect, the past time (since begin of 2017), which we spent mainly on the northeastern Indonesian islands, Borneo and in Malaysia, were not really brilliant.

We wish all our friends and everybody following us on our tour around the world a peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year!
12/20/2018 Christmas preparations Campinas
12/22/2018 Railway station in Campinas
12/27/18 Discharge of Evergreen's "Ever Lovely"
12/28/18 End of the 31st container
 
12/16/2018: Morocco, the 4th stage of our nostalgic tour is in its second halftime. This country has a very special meaning for us: 1968, exactly 50 years ago and one year before the wedding, Emil took Liliana with one of his old Volkswagen Beetle to Morocco. There he wanted first to test her willingness to travel. She obviously could convince him! Now we are on tour with a rented car: Casablanca - Marrakech - Quarzazate were our first three destinations. After the first disappointment in the chaotic polluted port city of Casablanca we continued to Marrakech through a very green spring like landscape caused by the heavy October and November rains. The snake charmers, the legendary water sellers and the trained monkeys are still there. But for us, the many green tent canopies on the square are diminishing its attractiveness. Still nice however was our journey through the High Atlas. The little mountain villages have still not lost their peculiar timeless charm and the view to the already snow capped mountains made the journey from Marrakech to Quarzazate a nice experience despite the many construction zones. Evergreen Line's ship "Ever Lovely" finished its stop in Buenaventura/Colombia and is with our LandCruiser on its way to Callao in Peru – always in time since the begin on 11/6/2018.
 
12/8/2018: After 6 interesting days in history-charged Egypt, we pack our suitcases again. Our last visit was dedicated to Cairo's citadel with its beautiful view over the city right to the pyramids of Giza and its wonderful Muhammad Ali Mosque ("Alabaster Mosque") – a kind of replica of Instanbul's Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also called "Blue Mosque". Hence the 3rd stage of our "nostalgic tour" ends tomorrow Sunday, 12/9/2018, by taking off on Egyptair towards Casablanca in Morocco. Our LandCruiser reached two days ago as scheduled the North American continent in Manzanillo/Mexico, before sailing to its first stop in South America – Buenaventura in Colombia.
 
12/5/2018: Halftime of the third stage of our nostalgic tour. Three days ago, we landed with Oman Air in Cairo/Egypt – a country that we cruised intensively in October 1989 with our LandCruiser. From the roof terrace of our hotel "Pyramids Village Inn" in Giza with view to the pyramids and the sphinx we enjoy the lively colorful atmosphere all around. Coming from Oman, we immersed into a different, more lively world: Cocks are crowing on the rooftops and ducks and goats are roaming around. In the inner courtyards horses are neighing, donkeys are braying, dogs are barking and in between the muezzin is calling to prayer. On the streets colorful saddled camels are waiting for tourists. Yesterday, under a blue sky, we explored once more the wonderful examples of architecture of the ancient Egypt. Actually, we expected more tourists at such a world-famous place, but maybe it is rather quiet because it's so close to Christmas, although it is now climatically very good (daytime 68-72°F, night 57°F [daytime 20-22°C, night 14°C]). Egypt was again a good choice on our nostalgic tour to South America.
12/3/2018 Breakfast at the hotel in Giza
12/6/18 Cairo midtown (from Citadel)
12/10/2018 Casablanca Hassan II-Mosque
12/15/2018 Taliouine Prov. Taroudant
 
12/1/2018: The South of Oman, the second stage of our nostalgic tour on our way to South America, comes to an end. We refreshed pleasant memories, discovered new jewels in the desert and indulged once more in the oriental flair. The twelve days were relaxed with eternal sunshine and comfortable temperatures. The "beautification" unfortunately did also not stop in Salalah. At the wide sandy beach of "Ad-Dahariz", where we could camp 2013 freely under coconut trees – being by then also an overlander meeting spot – a well lit walkway and unattractive sun canopies have been built and cars are banned. We wonder now how we will experience Egypt, our third nostalgic destination, which we explored with our LandCruiser in October 1989.
Because we hadn't any "car experiences" since "News – September/October 2018" there won't be any "News November 2018".
 
11/26/2018: Halftime in Salalah in the South of Oman. Yesterday we drove with a rent-a-car the 100 miles [160km] to the Yemeni border, which comprise three spectacular hairpin ascents and descents of up to 3'000 ft. [1'000m]. Heartwarming in this Dhofar region are the many camels roaming freely, be it along the roads, on beaches, in front of shops,– just everywhere. They convey a real desert feeling! We saw many well fed cattle herds on higher altitudes of about 3'600 ft. [1'100m], where there is more greenery. Before the Yemeni border there are still vast damages visible, caused by tropical cyclone "Mekunu" (category 3) when it made landfall near Raysut on May 25th, 2018.
 
11/22/2018: Our 6 days in Nepal – a country which we visited from 12/25/1994 - 1/20/1995 also with our LandCruiser – belong already to the past. The beautiful monasteries, stupas and Buddhist holy sites in Kathmandu are still impressing, but the chaotic traffic, the air pollution and the steady decay (unfortunately also by earthquake) is on the negative side. On our "nostalgia journey by stages" to South America we arrived yesterday with Air Arabia, after a stopover in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, in a country, which was already "love at first sight" on our first visit in March 1994 and to this day it's still one of our most favorite countries: The Sultanate of Oman. We will spend now about 10 days in the South around Salalah before we are heading by Oman Air on December 2nd, 2018, to the third stage.
Our LandCruiser is sailing currently (11/22/2018 - 14:00 GMT) on Evergreen's "Ever Lovely" through Tsugaru Strait between Japan's mainland and Hokkaido via the Pacific in direction Mexico, to its next stop in Manzanillo.
11/18/2018 Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu
11/20/2018 AirArabia in Sharjah/UAE
11/25/2018 Camels east of Salalah/Oman
11/30/2018 Salalah/Oman
 
 
11/14/2018: On November 12th, 2018, we left Malaysia. The last highlight was the visit of the beautiful complex of the Hindu Batu Caves, about 7 miles [11km] north of Kuala Lumpur. Positive are also the good results of our blood tests; according to our GP we are fully fit to travel further on. To avoid the monster direct flight to South America (Norwegian 33½h via London, Ethiopian 32½h via Addis Ababa) we are now on the way in different stages eastwards to countries with different cultures around half of the world: The first one being Nepal with Thai Airways. Yesterday we landed in Kathmandu coming from Malaysia via Bangkok/Thailand. Meanwhile our LandCruiser is sailing in its 31st container westwards over the Pacific, currently in Kaohsiung in Taiwan (see also: "Where is the car now?: Kaohsiung (MV Ever Lovely)".
 
11/4/2018: After the successful 3rd rejuvenation 2017/18 of our LandCruiser it's time to say farewell to Miri in Sarawak: Mr Lance Lau of the "Yung Lee" workshop invited us with some of his good friends to a good-bye lunch in a Chinese restaurant. But it is also time to say temporarily good-bye to our LandCruiser. Since yesterday, November 3rd, 2018, it is stuffed in its container in the port of Bintulu. On December 24th, 2018 – quasi as "Christmas gift" – it should arrive at the port of San Antonio in Chile.
 
11/4/2018: "News – September/October 2018" is now online.
11/1/2018 Farewell lunch "Yung Lee"
11/3/2018 Container ready for Chile
11/6/2018 Batu Caves Malaysia
11/13/2018 Bangkok-Airport Thailand
 
10/25/2018: Our onward journey is finally set: Our most favoured destination, a second Pacific tour, on which we worked since April, unfortunately failed due to the bureaucracy for the temporaty import of our LandCruiser. Therefore plan B – South America – comes into effect. The container with our LandCruiser will leave Bintulu/Sarawak/East Malaysia with the Evergreen Shipping Line in direction San Antoio in Chile on November 6, 2018, and will arrive at its destination on Christmas Day. Its journey goes from Sarawak to Taiwan, China, the Pacific, Mexico, Colombia and Peru to Chile. The freight itself costs US$1'800, the port fees in Bintulu $290 and in San Antonio between $800 and 1'000.We will firstly fly from Miri to Kuala Lumpur, where we have to decide where we shall spend our time until the arrival of our LandCruiser in South America.
 
10/18/2018: Today 34 years on the road: Flashback to the chaotic start of our epic journey on October 18th, 1984, which we missed by a fraction of an inch!
 
10/3/2018: After its "3rd Rejuvenation (2017)", our LandCruiser seems to be fit again. At least that's what our test drives showed so far. Our investment of US$3'038 seems to have paid off. The spare parts cost us US$1'766, whereby we contributed additionally some parts from our "stock": the work was US$1'272. Apart from that there is nothing to report – that is why there will be no "News September". Until our next destination is fixed, we shall still stay in the 'Place2Stay' Hotel in Miri for US$22 a night.
 
9/25/2018: On Liliana's 77th birthday we are on our first test drive with the LandCruiser.
 
9/21/2018: The "3rd Rejuvenation (2017)" is drawing to a close: See picture No. 567 and 568 at the bottom of the website.
 
9/14/2018: After almost two "motorless" months its re-installation has to be celebrated! Another three pictures (No. 564-566) of the "3rd Rejuvenation (2017)" can be found at the bottom of the website.
9/14/2018 Engine installed
9/25/2018 Liliana's Birthday
10/3/2018 Hotel Place2Stay in Miri
10/18/1984 Start of the journey
 
 
9/10/2018: The continuation of the "3rd Rejuvenation (2017)" shows now three more pictures at the very bottom (#561-563).
 
9/7/2018: The second page of our 2nd North Asia trip 2016 to Russia (Gorno Altaysk - Altai Republic) with 105 new pictures is now online.
 
9/5/2018: Before the final assembly of the engine, the oil pump must be ground, as a replacement can no longer be found (pictures #558-560).
 
9/3/2018: The japanese email interview with "Muji" is published in the "Booklet #20" on page 8.
 
8/31/2018: "News – August 2018" is now online.
 
8/28/2018: The engine assembly started yesterday. After a careful cleaning the main bearings and the crankshaft are put together (pictures #555-557).
 
8/25/2018: The first page of our 2nd North Asia trip 2016 to Russia (Altai Krai - Lake Teletskoye - Gorno Altaysk) with 78 new pictures is now online.
 
8/24/2018: We received today from the cylinder grinding workshop the disassembled motorblock back – it's just checked by Liliana.
 
8/20/2018: On August 15th, 2018, we drove with the workshop car to Brunei for a visa run. We finally got at the border another three more months of stay granted. But the main immigration office in Miri/Sarawak had to give its approval.
After the 3rd attempt the connecting rod bearings from Kuala Lumpur finally arrived in perfect condition. The cylinder grinding workshop "King Engineering" in Miri started today, August 20th, to hone the crankshaft.
We added to the "
3rd Rejuvenation (2017)" three more pictures at the very bottom (#554-556).
 
8/13/2018: Things go wrong: The second spare parts delivery from Kuala Lumpur – which made an odyssey to Limbang – arrived today, but some parts are still not in perfect condition: Once more four connecting rod bearings show small “storage blisters”! That means that we have to re-order them and need to wait and hope again. In the meantime our three months' visa of Malaysia is expiring mid-week. Up to now it was possible to get a two months' extension at the immigration office in Miri, even for free. Not anymore! A new boss apparently enforced a new regulation a month ago that an extension of another two months costs MYR 1'500 per person, i.e. US$368 (!) – a so called security bond for “long term visitors”! Yes, things change and mostly not for the better! We are now making a visa run to Brunei.
8/13/2018 Bandar Seri Begawan/Brunei
8/24/2018 Motorblock back
 
9/3/2018 Muji Booklet Page 8
 
9/7/2018 Russia Altai Republic
 
 
8/8/2018: "More about a 33¾-Year-Journey around the World" is now updated (last time 1/23/2018).
 
8/7/2018: As mentioned in our "News – June/July 2018", the cylinder head repair ended up in an engine overhaul. Emil could get the spare parts yesterday that had to be ordered in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately the bearings showed "blisters" what means that waiting for replacement will continue to delay the work. 3 new pictures are shown on the "3rd Rejuvenation (2017)" at the very bottom.
 
8/4/2018: The eleventh and last page of our “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-Papua Trip” with 48 new pictures from Makassar in Sulawesi/Indonesia until Miri in Sarawak/Malaysia is now online.
 
8/1/2018: "News – June/July 2018" is now online.
 
7/31/2018: Flashback to our up to now "worst case scenario" in the night of 7/31 to 8/1/2015 at Lake Malawi, when we feared for our life during an armed robbery on a campsite.
 
7/30/2018: Continuation of our 3rd Rejuvenation (2017) of our LandCruiser: 3 new pictures of the cylinder head overhaul in Miri/Sarawak/East Malaysia (Borneo)
→ see right at the bottom
 
7/28/2018: The tenth page of our “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-Papua Trip” with 84 new pictures from Manokwari and the 'Trans Papua Road' on the Bird's Head Peninsula in eastern West Papua is now online.
 
7/25/2018: Continuation of our 3rd Rejuvenation (2017) of our LandCruiser: 3 new pictures of the cylinder head overhaul in Miri/Sarawak/East Malaysia (Borneo).
 
7/16/2018: We delivered today once more our LandCruiser to the workshop Yung Lee of Mr. Lance Lau in Miri. The necessary spare parts arrived finally from Japan (TMC) on July 12th, 2018, thus the repair of the cylinderhead and some other minor mending will start now. We got for free a replacement car, an "ancient" dilapidated Toyota Corona, which serves us however fully.
 
7/8/2018: The ninth page of our “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-Papua Trip” with 75 new pictures from the Island of Biak in Papua (Irian Jaya) of Indonesia is now online.
 
7/5/2018: "List of Supporters" updated (→ "Various" undermost).
 
7/1/2018: There was actually little activity in June 2018 – so little that we have to refrain from any "News – June 2018". Except for Liliana's visit at the dentist and a visit of friends, we were not only searching desperately for spare parts for our LandCruiser but also for a solution where our journey is going to be continued. Currently we are just waiting until eventually the Japanese "express delivery" for the inevitable repair will arrive. Due to this unfortunate delay we are however able to update our website – shortly "Papua 2 = Island of Biak" will go online – but the good climatic time of the northern hemisphere is fading away, where two of our favorite destinations are resp. were situated. Future will reveal where we shall end up.
7/1/2018 Miri/Sarawak/East Malaysia
7/16/2018 Miri: Yung Lee Workshop
7/31/2015 Assault in Malawi
8/7/2018 Miri: Tung Fang Motors
 
6/22/2018: We exhausted in the meantime all possibilities in Malaysia to get the required spare parts for a cylinder head overhaul. They are here simply not anymore available. Today we were able to order them at the local Toyota dealer. Through Toyota Switzerland we knew that the parts are still on stock at TMC in Japan. What we didn't know is that the delivery time lasts three months unless we pay a surcharge of 25% to reduce the time to three weeks. Do we have another choice? Now we can only hope that the parts arrive within this period and that they are the right ones. This is the current status! At least now and then Miri in Sarawak surprises us with new "curiosities".
 
6/20/2018: The eighth page of our “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-Papua Trip” with 66 new pictures from the Island of Yapen in Papua (Irian Jaya) of Indonesia is now online.
 
6/8/2018: The repair of our LandCruiser is being delayed steadily due to the search for non-available spare parts. Luckily our waiting time was sweetened by the encounter with Anja and Chris, German overlanders on their way to Indonesia and Australia with a 'Landrover Forward Control'. We spent three lovely days at beautiful camping spots along the sea shore in their company and enjoyed the get-together very much. Regarding our next travel destination, we are not one step further. To get freight quotes becomes also more and more difficult. But we keep trying – somehow we have to go somewhere finally!
 
6/2/2018: "News – May 2018" is now online.
 
5/31/2018: We finished the more than 435 miles [700km] mostly very bad asphalt road with the countless construction sites from Kuching to Miri. Thereby we chose the shorter (60 miles [100km]) version along the coast via Sebuyau and Pusa with 3 ferries (one ferry drops out mid-June 2018 thanks to a new bridge). We spent this time the nights in Sarikei and Bintulu. Our LandCruiser will be in "our" workshop only on June 4th. But in the meantime it already got a new muffler, and the new tires we bought in Sorong/West Papua could finally be balanced. Liliana got an appointment at her dentist for next week. That's all not very exciting, but the planning about our journey's continuation doesn't make any progress: Since about a week South Korea doesn't allow anymore Swiss licensed vehicles (cars and motorbikes) to circulate! That makes a reasonable access to Russia's eastern part impossible (ferry Donghae-Vladivostok).
 
5/24/2018: Yesterday was a good day for us in Kuching/Sarawak/East Malaysia. Mr. Wong Hieng Kee exchanged the worn out rear LandCruiser tailgate lock for free – the troublesome weeks with a strap solution in Indonesia are over. In the evening, we were invited by the 4x4-Travel & Adventure-Club Sarawak. It was an interesting evening with nice people over some glasses of beer, who at the end gifted us with Club T-shirts and Jamboree Cups as Souvenirs. Tomorrow Friday, May 25th, we start our 450 miles [720km] ride to our workshop in Miri, where our LandCruiser needs again some attention.
– "Route Map" updated; "List of Supporters" updated (→ "Various" undermost).
5/23/2018 Kuching/Sarawak/East Malaysia
5/26/18 Selangau/Sarawak/East Malaysia
6/8/2018 Miri/Sarawak/East Malaysia
6/22/2018 Miri/Sarawak/East Malaysia
 
5/18/2018: The chapter "Indonesia" is now closed after 254 days. We left the country after 5'441 miles [8'756km] resp. 317 driving hours in Entikong in West Kalimantan on the Island of Borneo for Sarawak in East Malaysia. During our 4th car journey we were able to visit (1st = 2006: 4'966 mi [7'992km], 2nd = 2007: 2'943 mi [ 4'736km], 3rd = 2010: 2'089 mi [3'363km]) in North and Northeast Indonesia another 8 islands (Ternate, Tidore and Halmahera in the North Moluccas, West Papua in former Irian Jaya, Seram and Ambon in the Moluccas, Yapen and Biak in Papua). Hereby we used during 24 ferry rides 16 different vessels, have been shipped 4'413 miles [7101km] and spent 14 nights on their floors. Together with the earlier trips mentioned above, the figures are 15'439 miles during 938 driving hours on 18 different islands, whereby totally 41 sailings happened on 32 ferry boats where we spent 27 nights aboard. We are missing only 7 of the overall 34 provinces in Indonesia: Aceh, Riau, Riau Islands, Jambi, Bangka-Belitung, Southeast Sulawesi and North Kalimantan. (Our ferry distance covered
 
5/13/2018: The seventh page of our “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-Papua Trip” with 45 new pictures from the Island of Ambon in the Central Moluccas of Indonesia is now online.
 
5/11/2018: After a night at the airport hotel of Makassar in Sulawesi we had a swift 53 miles [86km] drive north along beautiful rice paddies to the little village of Garongkong. But at the ASDP ferry terminal for Batulicin in South Kalimantan, we had an unexpected surprise: Full! It was the first time on 16 different ships during our current Indonesia trip – our LandCruiser was many times the only vehicle. The departure was foreseen for 2pm on 8th May. Some minutes before, a small place was yet still found for our vehicle between eleven trucks carrying cows and one with ducks. Was it a game of nerves or just coincidence (?) ..... anyway, we spent the next 23½ hour on a calm sea, exactly on the ship's floor.
5/8/2018  on the way to the 16th ferry
5/10/2018 Pagatan/South Kalimantan
5/15/2018 Sampit/Central Kalimantan
5/15/2018 Costumes Central Kalimantan
 
5/7/2018: We made again one step forward: Yesterday, Sunday May 6th, we flew with AirAsia for a visa-run from Makassar to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and today, Monday, we returned. The look of the Indonesian Immigration was a bit odd after our arrival due to our many visa extensions and they questioned us by every trick in the book – but finally we received the free, but not extendable 30-days VOA (visa on arrival). We could park safely our car during our 20th visit to Kuala Lumpur at the airport's parking lot (2 days = Rupees 140'000 = US$10.50). We took in K.L. the opportunity to celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary.
 
5/4/2018: After a six hours' delay – instead at 10pm on May 1st, – we left Manokwari on May 2nd, at 5am on the Pelni ship "KM Ciremai" in direction Makassar in South Sulawesi. While we were waiting at the berth, not only the sea level receded but we received also some work: An employee of the Pelni office shocked us with the message at 2am that due to the low tide, we couldn't drive anymore into the hull but would have to put our LandCruiser into a container and pay about 11'100'000 rupees (~US$845) more. Neither being keen on a nightly container exercise nor paying more for the freight, we refused heatedly – very much to the entertainment of the also waiting huge crowd. Of course we had finally to containerize, but at least we didn't have to grab for more money. Thus we take down at 4am the spare tires and the "washing machine box" from the roof – an exercise we did already 29 times before. Afterwards we maneuvered into the box, which was loaded onto the vessel that arrived in the meantime. Meanwhile all the waiting passengers disappeared into the ship and occupied unsurprisingly every  possible spot. It looked very much that we might have to spend the coming 13 hours to the first stopover in Sorong by "standing". However Indonesia is functioning differently, always someone wants to earn money somehow: Two crew members offered their indeed very basic cabin for Rp. 500'000 (~US$38) per night, what corresponds according to amount with an Indonesian 3-star hotel (in the Papuan region = 2*); but better than nothing or the floor! Hence we arrived after 66 hours (= 1'220 miles [1'963km]) of very calm sea and most beautiful weather in Makassar and were able to release our LandCruiser shortly before midnight from its 30th cage.
 
4/30/2018: "News – March/April 2018" is now online.
 
4/27/2018: Where next? The geographic direction is set: On May 1st, we are heading from rainy Manokwari in the province of West Papua with the Pelni ferry "KM Ciremai" westwards to Massakar in South Sulawesi, after it didn't work out with the car permit for our second entry into Papua New Guinea from the Indonesian border of Jayapura/Papua. Thus, our 8 months long island hopping in Indonesia will come to an end on May 8th, 2018. On this date, our visa will expire and isn't anymore extendable. During this journey we did 26 ferry rides on 16 different boats between 10 various islands (Indonesia totally together with the years of 2006/07/10: 44 ferry rides, 32 boats, 18 islands).
 
4/24/2018: The sixth page of our “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-Papua Trip” with 81 new pictures from the Island of Seram in the Central Moluccas of Indonesia is now online.
 
4/12/2018: Finally, after our 313th shipping (since 10/16/1984), we reached after 13½ hours respectively 150 miles [240km] the capital Manokwari of the Indonesian province of West Papua. Actually we intended to reach this target driving the "Trans Papua Highway" already by the end of last year, but it isn't always possible in Indonesia to do everything what looked before feasible on the map - not even internet access is enough. Manokwari looks like another "Indonesian looking" city with about 250'000 people, a huge motorcycle traffic and the expensive price level of the former Irian Jaya.
4/11-12/2018 on KMP Kasuari Pasifik IV
4/27/2018 Rain near Manokwari
5/2/2018/2am 30th Container load Manokwari
5/6/2018 49th Anniversary Kuala Lumpur
 
4/7/2018: Actually we should have left today, Saturday at 5pm, Biak for Manokwari on the ferry "Kasuari Pasifik IV". To be sure, Emil drove in the morning with the car to the 5 miles [8km] distant ferry port. There he got the information that the boat would only arrive in Biak on Sunday morning due to bad weather in Manokwari. Having somehow a doubtful feeling, we revisited the port in the afternoon again. The new information was now that the departure would be postponed to Wednesday, April 11th, 2018. What might be right? It's only sure that currently the vessel isn't here. There is no office, no telephone, and if there is somewhere a number, nobody replies anyway. We shall see - in Indonesia we have to be prepared for everything - probably another extended deadlock!
 
4/4/2018: We arrived on Easter Sunday from Serui on the island of Yapen on another bumpy, 15 hour and 140 miles [224km] long night ride with the ancient ASDP ferry "KMP Masirei" at our second Papuan provincial destination: The island of Biak - part of the Schouten island group. It was 7am, high tide and therefore the exit ramp was much too steep. The landside elevator to adjust was anyway broken. Not wanting to risk the same situation as on 5/19/2007 in East Timor, when our low lying petrol tank got damaged and gasoline was leaking, we decided to wait for the high tide to recede. The captain invited us for breakfast on the bridge. Biak was a Japanese stronghold during World War II. They lost 3'000 men during an American bombardment. Besides war relicts, there are laid-back coastal villages, a sea that shimmers in all turquoise and blue shades, the whites sandy Bosnik Beach, jungle and mangrove swamps. Next Saturday, April 7th, 2018, already our next night ferry ride is up: From Biak in Papua in 16 hours 150 miles [240km] to Manokwari in the West Papuan province on the even-aged "KMP Kasuari Pasifik". ("News – March 2018" is a bit delayed due to all the boat trips)
 
3/29/2018: We spent the last days with our LandCruiser on an imposed "Mini Cruise"! As planned, we left Ambon in the Moluccas on March 23rd, 2018, with the Pelni ferry in direction East. We reached after two uncomfortable nights on the vessel "KM Dobonsolo" Serui on the island of Yapen – our first target in the Indonesian province of Papua. However our exhilaration of arriving finally at our destination lasted only for a short time: Due to low tide, the ramp for our LandCruiser (the only vehicle left on the vessel) could not be lowered. We had no other choice than to continue with the ferry to the end of the line in Jayapura at the Papua New Guinea border and hope for the best during our return trip - not really a big hit due to the bad condition of the old ferry and people sleeping everywhere on the floors. Luckily the second attempt was successful after another two nights. Since yesterday we are now touring this mountainous island with its fjords and about 30 miles [50km] of roads.
 
3/20/2018: Next Friday, March 23rd, 2018, we are scheduled to leave with the Pelni ferry “KM Dobonsolo” to our first leg of our eastward journey: To the island of Yapen in the province of Papua. Slowly we are getting used of island hopping. It will be our 12th ferry to the 9th island in the 11th Indonesian province during this tour.
3/20/2018  Indonesia
3/29/2018 Serui/Yapen/Papua
4/1/2018 Biak/Papua
4/4/2018 Biak/Papua
 
3/16/2018: We seem to have developed a kind of healthy mistrust - needed in Indonesia! A day before embarking from Ambon to our northwestern escape route comprising four different ferries, we wanted to be sure that they are really running. Through the Office of Tourism we learnt however that the ferry of our second leg from Namlea to Sanana went into the drydock until mid-April. What now? A new idea popped up: To take the Pelni ferry from Ambon via the islands of Yapen and Biak to Jayapura in the east and then trying to enter from there overland Papua New Guinea for a second visit. This would allow us to realize a bit more of our initial "Trans Papua Plan" and to see not only the Indonesian provinces of West Papua but also Papua. We are now working on the PNG car permit.
 
3/13/2018: The fifth page of our “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-Papua Trip” with 105 new pictures from Sorong and the 'Trans Papua Road' on the Bird's Head and the Bomberai Peninsulas in West Papua is now online.
 
3/12/2018: It seems that we are able to free ourselves from our "Ambon" deadlock. The northerly escape route to Sulawesi, mentioned in our "News Jan./Febr.", seems to be feasible. It will carry us on 4 ferries across the islands of Seram-Manipa-Buru-Sanana-Mangole-Taliabu und Banggai to Luwuk in eastern Central Sulawesi. According to our past Indonesian experiences we are rather a bit skeptical that it will work out, but we will try it anyway. We will leave the island of Ambon within the next days to start with this new challenge.
 
3/5/2018: "List of Supporters" updated (→ "Various" undermost)
 
3/3/2018: "News – January/February 2018" is now online.
 
3/1/2018: Bad news: We are grounded in Ambon in the Moluccas! The only car ferry sailing from here to the Southwest is in the dry dock at least until the end of March. In any case our 3rd visa extension up to April 8th, is already solved. A travel agency acted as paid sponsor. This gives us some free play to search for connections in a northerly direction.
 
2/24/2018: The challenges with ferry connections keep us on the go. But we reached at least in the meantime on totally 17 ferry rides our eighth island during our 2017/18 Indonesian trip: Ambon in Central Maluku that is also the provincial capital of the Maluku province – to which also the South Moluccan islands belong (the North Moluccas with Ternate + Tidore, Halmahera amongst others form an own province). We still enjoy our island hopping. The island of Seram – particularly its North – surprised us with its South Pacific flair. We could experience since Tahiti once more the beauty of an overwater bungalow in a turquoise shimmering sea. Here in Ambon we are busy with two problems: Our onward journey! Where to are car ferries running from here? But also the expiry date of March 9th, of our fourth visa is looming. News from our LandCruiser: Its 36-years old lock of the rear hatch broke; now we cannot close it up anymore. Where will we find here a new one? And the car's overheating problem is still not solved: The engine refused to restart during a steep climb up to 4'183 ft. [1'275m] altitude, but also after a several hours' drive in the tropical heat.
 
2/9/2018: The new tires arrived, are mounted and we already tested them during 310 miles [500km] on the new "Trans Papua Highway" in direction Manokwari. The quality of riding is good. Our enthusiasm for this excursion however is limited. Only some exotic sounds of birds and a few tropical flowers cheered us up on our first leg to Ayamaru. On our second leg from Ayamaru towards the Petik Bintang Pass the landscape became at least more scenic and the course of the road more challenging. The new road meanders on a roller coaster ride with breathtaking steep climbs through a landscape partly still dominated by genuine jungle. On the mountain pass (3'284 ft. [1'001m]) we were rewarded by a sweeping all-round view. But already the next tropical downpour was on the horizon – it's basically rainy season. Not having the slightest desire for mud fights on the unsurfaced continuation of the "highway" we made a u-turn and headed back to Sorong. Next Wednesday, February 14th, we will take from here the two nights lasting ferry to Wahai on Seram in the South Moluccas, thus ending our West-Papua tour. Due to the obvious inevitable construction delays, it's simply too early for our Papua adventure!
2/9/2018  Trans Papua Highway
2/24/2018  Saleman
3/12/2018  Ambon
3/16/2018  Pambo Island/Ambon
 
2/5/2018: The fourth page of our “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-West Papua Trip” with 87 new pictures from the island of Halmahera in the North Moluccas is now online.
 
2/2/2018: Our four tires "BFGoodrich Cross Control 7.50R 16 LT" ordered in Jakarta are now from Makassar in Sulawesi on their way to us to Sorong. The complicated procedure of our online ordering in Indonesian language would be enough topic for a separate thread! Certain things went wrong and only through intervention of our hotel manager it seems now to work out. We expect to get them soon by airfreight. Inshallah! We succeeded also in finding coincidentally an old Chinese regulator for our LandCruiser – just in case our current ailing one stops working. Yesterday, Thursday we were able to collect our second 1-month visa extension at the Immigration, sponsored by the same restaurant owner lady. And also yesterday we experienced a huge surprise: The Mayor of Sorong South popped up at our hotel and presented us an envelope with a very generous donation with the words "You are my heroes". – Wow!
 
1/23/2018: "More about a 33¼-Year-Journey around the World" is now updated (last time 8/22/2017). Finally the Route Map around the World is updated again (last time 7/11/2017).
 
1/20/2018: Our electrical car problems are "improvised" solved for the moment, the LandCruiser is loaded, the 58 gallon [220 lt.] fuel tank and three of our ten 5.3 gallon [20 lt.] jerrycans are filled to the brim for the 370 miles [600km] long jungle ride to Manokwari. Highly motivated we take off, but already after 20 miles [32km] our 189th flat tire announces itself. We cannot and don't want to continue without a spare tire and return to Sorong to have it repaired. Because it isn't identifiable why the air leaked - a cracked steel belt cannot be ruled out and might happen anytime again - we decide to have sent a set of new tires either from Jakarta or Surabaya, as our size 7.50R16 is simply not available here. We are now checking the possibility of a delivery per airfreight.
 
1/13/2018: The third page of our “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-West Papua Trip” has another 27 new pictures online from the island of Tidore in the North Moluccas.
 
1/12/2018: Before we tackle the adventure of the next 370 miles [600km] of the ‘Trans Papua Highway’ to Manokwari with nothing in between than jungle, bush and some thatched huts, we need to get the grip on three problems of our LandCruiser: The starter, which only works after several attempts; the fuel pumps, which are not fully operating and the horn that is only screeching. Everything seems to be related to the 36 years old condition of the corroded electrical wires with its voltage drop. Our work with installing now new cables in front of our ‘Guardian Family Hotel’ in Sorong is constantly interrupted by “interrogators and selfie” enthusiasts. But we had also the honor of a photo with the mayor of the district of Sorong (to the right of Emil).
1/12/2018
1/20/2018  189th flat tyre
1/23/2018  World Route Map
2/2/2018
 
1/5/2018: The third page of our “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-West Papua Trip” with 45 new pictures from the island of Ternate in the North Moluccas is now online.
 
12/31/2017: "News – December 2017" is now online.
 
12/31/2017: Happy New Year!
The last turn of the year we celebrated amidst golden domes and Buddha's at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon/ Myanmar. Today, in Sorong in West-Papua, we are in a totally different world. We are sliding into 2018 without our passports. They are at the immigration office for a visa extension. Probably we will be able to collect them beginning of January 2018. Then 'off we go' to new road and ferry challenges and of course also to new experiences and encounters. The picture shows the sunset during the ending new year at the Kasuari Valley Beach Resort in Sorong.
 
12/24/2017: Merry Christmas!
We just received a big Christmas gift: We found today a sponsor in Sorong for a further monthly extension of our Indonesia visa, which expires on January 8th, 2018. Is this not a perfect gift – so we don't have to leave the country for a visarun! Thus, we will still spend the festivities in this hot and humid city in West Papua, before we will tackle the challenges of the obviously not yet completed Trans Papua Road to Manokwari.
 
12/23/2017: 30 pictures more – the last from Sulawesi – are on our website of the “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-West Papua Trip.
 
12/17/2017: Last Friday, 12/15/2017, we had the chance to meet some members of the Toyota LandCruiser Indonesia Club at the Kasuari Valley Beach Resort in Sorong, where we could gather some information about the conditions of the Trans Papua Road to Manokwari on our next leg. We spent a few relaxed hours together and enjoyed the gift of a LandCruiser T-shirts each. Now we are discussing if we are going to manage all alone the mud stretches we shall encounter, which remembers us of our adventures in former Zaïre (today D.R. Congo) in 1991 and Guyana in 2005. Also our road tires became an issue, although we still carry snow chains along. Likewise we are not sure, which of the three possibilities we should choose to cross the Birds Head Peninsula. There's hardly current information available and should we have to return, we need enough gasoline as there isn't any during the 370 miles [600km] long trip.
12/15/2017
Merry Christmas!
12/24/2017
 12/31/2017
 
12/14/2017: We got yesterday the mandatory "Surat Jalan" (Travel Permit) from Polres (Police) in Sorong to visit West Papua and Papua (see pic below).
 
12/12/2017: To give West Papua a second chance paid off. The ferry docked punctually at 2pm at Weda port in the eastern part of Halmahera on North Moluccas on December 8th, 2017, and left punctually eastwards towards West Papua at 1am on December 9th. Together with countless packages of fertilizer and other merchandise, with a dozen calves and about 40 goats, finally also our LandCruiser was part of the freight. The captain offered us as the only westerners on the ship place in the VIP lounge, where at least sleeping mats were available. We grabbed also two and laid them between two rows of seats to be able to lay down at night. At the end, also here everything was filled to capacity, partly with shouting and screaming children. Altogether the whole chaotic atmosphere on board with its colorful exotic crowd was a special experience for us. The sea was very calm during the 30 hours lasting journey and the three stopovers at Patani, Gebe and Gag were always entertaining. Between Patani and the island of Gebe we crossed for the 23rd time the Equator from North to South, and between Gebe and the island of Gag the provincial border of the North Moluccas and West Papua. On December 10th, 7am, we arrived in Sorong in West Papua. We shall try now our luck at the police station here to obtain a permit ("Surat Jalan") for us and our LandCruiser to drive our intended route in West Papua and Papua. Unfortunately the weather presents itself rather a bit rainy, which isn't the best condition for the roads ahead.
 
12/5/2017: "News – November 2017" is now online.
 
12/3/2017: Actually we should be today on the ferry to West Papua. But we are not! Typically Indonesian the ferry from Weda in East Halmahera to Sorong, scheduled for December 2nd, was cancelled without notice, despite that the departure date was confirmed by phone as well as per email from the head office of the ASPD ferry company in Sorong. Next sailing is now scheduled for December 9th, – as it's noted on a slip of paper at a shed of the point of departure in Weda! With it we got into a dilemma. Can we relay on it? We have not endless time. Four weeks of our second two-months-visa from Kuala Lumpur have already gone. In the meantime another uncertainty popped up: Is additionally a special permit needed for circulating in the former restricted area of "Irian Jaya" with its own car? In any case a "Surat Jalan" (travel permit) is needed from the local police for everybody if they want to leave the big cities of Sorong, Jayapura and Biak. Where do we get a reliable answer within days? After all, the ferry crossing costs about US$475 one way – way too much money, should we have to turn around and pay the same amount again for going back. Does our ambitious project, long elaborated beforehand, eventually collapse like a house of cards?
11/30/2017
11/30/2017
12/12/2017
 12/14/2017
 
11/28/2017: Tidore, our second island in the Moluccas – only 20 minutes away from the lively small "big city island" of Ternate – belongs already to the past too. Its sleepy island character, its colorfully painted cottages, but overall the splendor of tropical flowers, which bloom in little gardens, in flowerpots on narrow sidewalks, simply everywhere, are part of Tidore's attraction. Since a few days we are on Halmahera, our third and biggest island of the Moluccas group. A new tarmac road brought us from the landing port of Sofifi, which is simultaneously also the capital of the province of North Molucca, in a roller coaster ride through exuberant tropical scenery to the 112 miles [180km] further north lying small town of Tobelo. During the next days, we will move again southwards to the ferry terminal of Weda, where a boat will sail us in a 30-hours ride with three stopovers to Sorong in West Papua – at least we hope so. The Indonesian ferries are not always reliable, at least concerning schedules! However the safety standards seemed to have improved much since our first visits in Nusa Tenggara.
 
11/22/2017: A more than 300 years old flow of lava, a deep green crater lake, views to the volcanic cones of the neighbor islands and a lively city with many impressive mosques – these are the main attractions of Ternate, our first island of the Moluccas, which was governed in the past by a sultan. Our Muara Hotel was a right choice. We enjoyed the all around view, and from our room on the 6th floor we experienced the volcano Gamalama with all its shades. We circumnavigated the 27 miles [44km] twice within five days. Today we chugged with another ferry (our 303rd vessel) to the second Moluccan island: Tidore (see picture below). The crossing took 20 minutes. Fare for the LandCruisser US$5.85 and Liliana as a passenger US$0.50. On the contrary to Ternate, Tidore looks rather elliptical, of course also tropically green, measures on volcano Kiematabu an altitude of 5'676 ft. [1'730m], has a size of 45 sq.mi [116km²], counts however only about 60'000 people.
 
11/18/2017: Now we moved further East and are since yesterday on the spice islands of the Moluccas. On November 16th, 2017, we left Sulawesi, the second island on our "2017 Indonesian tour", at the northeasterly port of Bitung and arrived after 15 hours of a calm sea journey on a ASDP ferry at the city of Ternate. The same-named volcanic island looks tropically green, almost circular, 5'627 ft. [1'715m] high, measures 43 sq.mi. [111km²] and has a population of nearly 200'000 people. White puffy clouds hovered over the island group and province of the North Moluccas (Tidore south and Halmahera east of Ternate), giving us a lovely reception. From here it is now entirely new land for us. We are excited!
 
11/11/2017: After a week in Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia we arrived yesterday evening, November 10th, with Malindo and Batik Air and a new 2-months Indonesian visa safe and sound back in Tomohon/North Sulawesi/Indonesia. Yes, our doctor in K.L. gave us a further free pass for our life "on the road". In our luggage back to Sulawesi there were a new Acer laptop (Swift 1) for Liliana, a Samsung smartphone (J7-Prime) for Emil – by the way his first – new sunglasses for Emil, new shoes for both of us and those who know Emil won't be surprised: A stack of cheese triangle packages, Emmental, Gruyere and Salami (we almost had to buy an additional bag for it!). Next week we will move to the Moluccas, which are completely "new land" for us. Our first destination after an 18 hours ferry ride will be the island of Ternate.
 
11/4/2017: In the evening of November 3rd, 2017, after a 5 hours long flight with Batik Air and a change of plane in Jakarta we arrived safely in Kuala Lumpur. It is our 19th journey to Malaysia's capital, which became in a way "our second home" during all our years of traveling (we visited Switzerland last time in 1998!). Until our return to Sulawesi on November 10th, where our LandCruiser is waiting, we booked into the Hotel "The 5 Elements" in the heart of Chinatown. We enjoy the hustle and bustle and after the spicy Indonesian food also the Chinese specialties. From our program we already accomplished two things: The visit at our "family doctor", who is looking after us since 2010 and the collection of our new "Carnet de Passage", our current one expiring on December 25th. The most important task, the application of a new two months Indonesian visa at their local embassy we shall tackle on Monday. Otherwise we need a new notebook for Liliana, probably finally a smartphone and a couple of other things that are harder to get in Indonesian's cities.
11/4/2017 – Visarun @ Kuala Lumpur
11/18/2017 Ternate
11/22/2017 Tidore
 11/28/2017 Halmahera (Galela)
 
11/1/2017: The second page of our “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-West Papua Trip” with 72 new pictures is now online.
 
10/27/2017: Twenty-one pictures more from North Sulawesi (Minahasa Highland) on our current website of the “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-West Papua Trip.
 
10/25/2017: A good and a bad message. The good one: We found in Tomohon a local sponsor for the extension of our Indonesian visa. The bad one: The visa is nowadays extendable only for 1 month, not anymore for 2 months as it was common in earlier times. Therefore we decided to fly to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to apply at the Indonesian consulate there for a new two months visa. That gives us more time for our challenging project as immigration offices are just a few in regions with less tourists.
 
10/16/2017: The "News – September/October 2017" is now on our today's 33rd anniversary of our world record tour online.
 
10/13/2017: A glimmer of hope arises that we might be able to find a local sponsor in Tomohon or Manado for our visa's extension. Therefore we continue to enjoy our relaxed days in the ‘Mountain View Resort’, meeting new people, exploring more of the surroundings and in between working on our website. We managed to put a further 15 pictures on our Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-Papua website. By the way: No. 66 is the 10'000th photo on our website – thus it needs some endurance should all be viewed.
 
10/8/2017: Since a week we now enjoy our comfortable bungalow at the ‘Mountain View Resort’ (picture 10/8/2017) in Tomohon, 14 miles [23km] south of Manado in North Sulawesi – a delayed birthday gift to Liliana. The climate on an altitude of 2'525 ft. [770m] is nice and each day we enjoy again the luxurious tropical surrounding. Up to now we made excursions to the Minahasa Highland, to the Mahawu Volcano, to the Linow Lake and to the rice fields. In between there were nice chats with other travelers because the ‘Mountain View Resort’ is the place where travelers meet. We gave an interview for the National Television Channel ‘Trans7’ and today, we worked on our website: Our “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-Papua” photo page shows 15 new pictures and the home page a new photo. Unfortunately one month of our 2-months Indonesia visa is already gone and an extension comes closer. Will we find a local sponsor for it or will we have to fly out to Kuala Lumpur resp. Singapore for a new visa?
 
10/1/2017: Now we are already 10 days in Sulawesi, an island with abundant palm trees from the coast up to the mountain tops and narrow, winding and partly holey coastal roads with little sandy bays and quaint fishing settlements. This island lives up to its name of a “tropical paradise”. In about 315 miles [500km] we crossed the Province of Central Sulawesi, where Liliana celebrated her birthday in its capital Palu. Our LandCruiser had a special gift for her in stock: its 188th flat tire! We experienced some “South Pacific romantic” and recrossed the equator, now for the 20th time from South to North resp. for the 12th time together with our LandCruiser. In the meantime – after crossing the Province of Gorontalo – we made it to North Sulawesi to the city of Tomohon, a mountain region short of the most easterly tip of the island. Here, at the “Mountain View Resort”, managed by Michael, a German, we treat ourselves with some days of relaxation in a bungalow surrounded by beautiful tropical green. We well deserve it after the many 7 to 8 hours driving on partly miserable roads.
10/1/2017 – 40th Equator-Xing
10/1/2017
10/8/2017
10/13/2017 – 10'000th Photo
 
9/22/2017: Yesterday, Thursday, we checked in at the ferry port of Kariangau, outside of Balikpapan to a 232 miles [374km] long and 22 hours lasting passage from Kalimantan to Sulawesi. The vessel “KMP Tuna” of the Indonesian state ferry line ASDP was only half-full although it sails only twice a week. There are no cabins – one lies or sits where ever it's possible. The journey costs finally Rp. 3'097'000 (US$241) (LandCruiser + 2 pax). It was calm by rather overcast weather and became our 301st boat trip. The third picture in the row below shows the entrance of Taipa, about 10 miles [16km] north of Palu (to the left are the noticeable poles of the ramp).
 
9/20/2017: 2nd flashback into the Caribbean: The natural disasters hitting the Caribbean don't stop. One week ago – see below 9/13/2017 – it was hurricane “Irma”. This time it's called “Maria” and hit somehow more south the island chain, particularly Dominica, but touched also Guadeloupe and Martinique. From all those beautiful exotic islands, which we also could visit 2004 with our LandCruiser, we have lasting memories. In Dominica Swiss Television was present at our special reception by government officials. In Guadeloupe we barely survived hurricane “Jeanne 2004” that flooded our river camping area, blocking our escape route; and in Martinique we enjoyed the mixture of French charm, African exotic and the unique Caribbean flair.
 
9/19/2017: Six pictures more on our current website of the “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-West Papua Trip.
 
9/16/2017: We arrived yesterday after 1'702 miles [2'739km] resp. 74¼ driving hours since our departure in Miri/Malaysia with our first Indonesian ferry from Penajam in Kariangau near Balikpapan in East Kalimantan. Duration of the trip: 1 hour; fare Rp. 269'500 (about US$21.70). With it – interestingly it was our 300th shipping since October 16th, 1984 – our journey on the island of Borneo comes also to an end. Balikpapan is a big city of almost 750'000 people. In the coming days, we are continuing to Palu on the island of Sulawesi (around 24 hours including a night ride - without cabin!; Rp. 2'666'000 (US$214.50) for the car and us).
 
9/13/2017: Flashback: We are devastated about the extent of the damage to the northern Caribbean Islands, caused by hurricane “Irma”. We especially recall Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, where on October 18th, 2004, we were able to celebrate the 20th jubilee of our epic journey around the world at Le Galion Beach under palm trees. But also Anguilla, as well as the British and American Virgins Islands are in our memory as islands of paradise. it is unbelievable what remained of them.
 
9/12/2017: Six pictures more on our current website of the “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-West Papua Trip.
 
9/8/2017: Starting at Kapuas River southwards, the relatively new “Trans Kalimantan Highway” leads more than 250 miles [>400km] with countless bends up and downhill through scenic lush tropical landscape, which unfortunately already today is interrupted by new palm oil plantations. The route is partly narrow (only 175 in. [4½m], but mostly (still) without potholes and fully asphalted, even if there are many bumps. We needed for it about 10½ hours driving time.
9/8/2017
9/16/2017
9/22/2017
9/22/2017
 
9/7/2017: Today happened the 20th Equator crossing from the northern to the southern hemisphere (the 14th with the car) near Tayan in West Kalimantan, about 3 miles [5km] north of the bridge over the River Kapuas. Interestingly there is absolutely no sign or monument (only GPS knows it).
 
9/6/2017: We crossed today without any problems our 531st border from Malaysia (Tebedu) to Indonesia (Entikong).
 
9/3/2017: On 7/16/2014 – more than three years ago – we updated for the last time our statistics. It's now per 8/31/2017 again up-to-date and consists of the four programs below. The first three programs exist in an American (Am) and a British (Br) version for distances, weight, liquids and temperatures. Enjoy all the figures!
- Statistics per continent
- More statistical figures
- Information about us not included in the statistics
- Chronological sequence of the trip
 
8/31/2017: "News – May-August 2017" is now online.
 
8/30/2017: Firstly we had to repair our 187th flat tire, secondly we got here in Kuching within one day the 2-months' Indonesia visa for Ringgit 205 each (= US$48) at its consulate, and now there are three pictures more of our “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-West Papua Trip” online.
 
8/28/2017: Six pictures more on the website of the “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-West Papua Trip.
 
8/27/2017: After 457 miles [736km] we arrived in three stages in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak with almost 400'000 people on the East-Malaysian Island of Borneo. The first day was very hot (~104°F) [~40°C], the second very wet: One tropical rainstorm after the other. The third leg from Sibu to Kuching was with eight driving hours (Ø = 25 miles/h) [Ø = 40km/h) the longest, because we chose the 60 miles [100km] shorter coastal road via Pusa and Sebuyau instead of the main highway #1. However it involves two ferry crossings, which became our “shipping” No. 298 and 299 – ferries+freighters of the last 33 years counted together. Amazing was the ferry tariff for the LandCruiser and 2 persons: 1 Ringgit each (= US$ 0.20) for about a 30 minute ride!
8/20/2017: The picture site “Borneo-Sulawesi-Moluccas-West Papua Trip” of our next stage is now online: It leads from Miri (Northern Sarawak) via Kuching (South Sarawak), Pontianak (West-Kalimantan) to Balikpapan (East-Kalimantan) and by means of ferries onwards to Sulawesi (North), the Molucca Islands (North) to Sorong on the Bird's Head Peninsula in the West of the Island of New Guinea (West Papua). It's now our 3rd try to reach Indonesian Papua, formerly Irian Jaya, with our car.
 
8/17/2017: Departure from Miri in Sarawak, besides Sabah the second Malaysian state on the Island of Borneo. Miri, just south of the border of Brunei, shows a seahorse as its mascot. Hence we separate also from our comfortable MCity apartment on the 3rd floor from which we admired many beautiful sunrises and sunsets. With a rent of barely US$800 per month, we enjoyed a fully equipped kitchen with gas stove and microwave, two bedrooms, an own washing machine, a cleaning service three times a week, aircon, wifi, TV, balcony, and a guarded covered parking. Was very pleasant – but now we are ready for new challenges!
8/17/2017
8/27/2017
9/7/2017
9/7/2017
 
8/15/2017: After our last visit to the workshop we bid farewell to boss Lance Lau and his crew. With three last pictures we complete therefore also the 3rd page of our totally three rejuvenations on Borneo of our LandCruiser in 2006, 2012 and now in 2017. A new chapter starts!
 
7/11/2017: Finally the Route Map is updated again (last time 12/24/2014).
 
7/2/2017: Finally the report of our Azerbaijan trip from June 2013 is finished.
 
6/30/2017: Due to various reasons there won't be "News" for the months of May-July 2017.
 
6/27/2017: Finally the report of our Transnistria trip from August 2013 is finished.
 
6/26/2017: Finally the report of our Nagorno Karabakh trip from July 2013 is finished.
 
6/24/2017: While we are refreshing memories from Miri/Sarawak and its surroundings, we enjoy the seahorse as mascot of Miri each time. Even the lighthouse at the marina is a seahorse – reason enough to have a picture of our LandCruiser with this cute mascot!
 
Three new pictures of our 3rd Rejuvenation of our LandCruiser are online; finally the reports of our Armenia trip part 1 and part 2 from July 2013 are finished.
 
6/17/2017: On April 19th, 2017, we wrote about the problems of our 3-years old Lenovo Laptop. The ordeal of the past weeks has ended, when it sometimes worked and sometimes not. Today we received from Kuala Lumpur our 6th Lenovo. Malaysia complements now the list of the five predecessors from Dubai, Guyana, American Samoa, Oman and Cape Verde. Today we made also a visa run to Brunei in order to have more time to complete without ruffle the last reworks on our LandCruiser caused by procurement problems of spare parts and the installation of the new laptop. The still rainy weather on the Indonesian islands of Sulawesi, Moluccas and Papua can only improve in the meantime.
 
6/1/2017: We would like to share the link of the monthly published customer email of Toyota Motor Sales USA – "400'000 miles and counting". "Never-ending road trip" features 20 stations of our epic journey and shows a small but nicely presented view of its variety. Already during the first six days being online, it brought us more than 12'000 clicks to our website!
6/17/2017
6/24/2017
8/15/2017
 
5/23/2017: Our update of "The Longest Driven Journey" is now online on the website of the 'Guinness Book of Records' (see picture below).
 
5/21/2017: During the last week, Emil has finalized in many hours the "master plan" of our next leg through the Indonesian islands, i.e. he ascertained the coordinates of the 47 landing places of the ferries that might be in line for us (see picture below - ASDP, the biggest ferry company in Indonesia, runs 140 vessels on 154 routes), timetables, length and fares of the planned stretches. Now the "schedule" is fixed until Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), the part of the Indonesian island of New Guinea. There starts in the most westerly town of Sorong the so called "Trans Papua Road", which measures allover 2'687 miles [4'325km] and ends at the border of Papua New Guinea. 2'485 miles [4'000km] are completed and became drivable. It sounds tempting! How we could continue on the eastern side of Indonesia, in Papua New Guinea, is still written in the stars.
 
5/13/2017: Apart of having to exchange the master and release cylinders of our clutch, nothing else arose yet. Slowly but steadily we are starting with definite loading. We have to take decisions: What are we keeping and what are we leaving behind? Not an easy choice! Many things are an essential or emotional part of our epic journey, which by the way represents pretty exactly ⅔ of our married life since May 8th. Hence the many maps and the foreign license plates will find again a place in our luggage (see 3rd Rejuvenation of our LandCruiser).
5/10/2017: Our picture on the start-up website has changed again: From the 3rd overhaul of our LandCruiser in Miri/Sarawak/East-Malaysia on March 27th, 2017, to a beautiful earlier picture of 10/11/2011 from the "Avenue of the Baobabs" in Marofototra near Morondava in Madagascar.
5/4/2017: The fourth part of Myanmar is now online: From Mandalay to Nyaung-U (Bagan) by ship and by plane back to Yangon (Rangoon).
 
5/3/2017: Our LandCruiser left the workshop; it's now going to be vetted thoroughly.
 
5/2/2017: Three pictures more of the "3rd Rejuvenation of our LandCruiser".
 
5/1/2017: Not too many world travelers go astray in Borneo! A lovely surprise was therefore our yesterday's reencounter with our countryman Heinze with his "Red Camel", a Toyota LandCruiser HZJ78. Heinze is on a 4-months partial section through Southeast Asia with his companion Florian. We first met Heinze in April 2016 in Kerman in Iran. Of course, there was much to talk about!
 
4/30/2017: "News – March/April 2017" is now online.
 
4/23/2017: Wonderful coincidences do happen! On April 13th, 2017, it was at the airport of Miri/Sarawak/East Malaysia. There we greeted our friends Julie and Ruedi – this time with their children Markus, Ella and Noah – for the 5th time since their spontaneous invitation in May 2006 in Kuala Belait in Brunei during the 1st rejuvenation. Four years and five months later, we made a stopover in Brunei while our LandCruiser sailed from Papua New Guinea to the Philippines. Another reunion in Brunei took place in 2012 at the occasion of the 2nd rejuvenation of our LandCruiser in Miri. In between, on 2/25/2015, there was a lovely reencounter with the whole family in Stellenbosch in South Africa and with just Ruedi on 2/27/2016 in Dubai. Ruedi brought us for the car a coil and a distributor cord set from Switzerland to Miri – and of course also cheese, sausages and chocolate. What a feast!
 
4/22/2017: Our LandCruiser left the spray booth – the 3rd rejuvenation draws slowly to its close.
4/21/2017
5/1/2017
5/21/2017
5/23/2017
 
 
4/19/2017: Our today's message is "What does NOT work?": It is our 3-years old Lenovo Laptop that is obviously on the brink to stop working at all. We still try to revive it, but have so far little hope. It is our 5th laptop: No. 1 was received in March 1999 from IBM Middle East in Dubai as a gift for reaching our 500'000th kilometer [= 310'686 miles] milestone on our epic journey; No. 2 brought us on Feb. 2005 a friend from the USA to Georgetown in Guyana; No. 3 was bought on July 2009 on Ebay and received in American Samoa; No. 4 was brought to us on Feb. 2013 by our friends from Switzerland to Oman; and No. 5 was bought in Dubai on Oct. 2013, but activated only on April 2014 in Cape Verde.
 
4/12/2017: Our LandCruiser is in the spray booth. Liliana follows the spraying process and is excited about the progress of its new impeccable look during the rejuvenation. The third part of Myanmar is now online: From Nyaungshwe at Inle Lake by minibus to Mandalay and by train over the Goteik Viaduct.
 
4/7/2017: The bodywork is now finished and the first grey undercoat is sprayed. The second undercoat will be applied tomorrow Saturday, 4/8/2017, and on Monday, our LandCruiser will get its former blue color.
 
4/4/2017: The second part of Myanmar is now online: From Bago (Pegu) by train to Shwenyaung at Inle Lake.
 
3/27/2017: Eventually we changed once again our picture on the start-up website: From the 15’272 ft. [4‘655m] high Ak Baital Pass in Tajikistan on June 26th, 2016, to the current 3rd overhaul in Miri/Sarawak/East-Malaysia on March 27th, 2017.
 
3/25/2017: Two were working this week on our LandCruiser – the welder and the bodybuilder with the putty. An end of the bodywork is now in sight! Both of us were busy too. Emil had the time-consuming task of compiling the evidences of the yearly update of our Guinness Book entry, and Liliana's job was and still is writing the captures of the 84 pictures of page 2 of our Myanmar site, what is not less time-consuming. In between, our 32 years old Zarges aluminium boxes got new hinges and clasps and our "sleeping room" was smartened up with new curtains and new mattress covers.
 
3/18/2017: We received this week in Miri our new 'Engel MT27F' ice box, ordered in Singapore. It is 17.7" (45cm) (before 13.7" [34.8cm]), thus slightly higher than its predecessor 'MT15E'. At least, we can now store in its content of 22.2 quarts [21Lt.] (before 15.85Qt. [15Lt.]) beer bottles upright. It's 2.6" [6.6cm] higher inside! As we mentioned on February 11th, our fridge, bought also in Singapore in September 2005, didn't cool anymore despite that its compressor was (still) running. It showed that nobody was able or ready to repair it here in Miri. Five years ago, the willingness to try to repair was bigger. Today's "throwaway trend" is taking over also here. Btw: The ice box runs on 12v or 220v and cost SGD1'244 (US$882) + freight (SGD150), no tax and duty.
Regarding our LandCruiser, the body repair makes daily some little progress. It will still take a little while too to see the end of the 3rd overhaul.
3/18/2017
3/25/2017
4/7/2017
4/12/2017
 
3/13/2017: The first part of Myanmar is now online: From Yangon (Rangoon) to the 'Golden Rock' of Kyaiktiyo by bus.
 
3/11/2017: We are now into the second month of our LandCruiser rejuvenation and the bodywork started somewhat sluggish. Since the mechanical part is virtually completed and we don't need to hunt for spare parts anymore as often as before, we have more time for other things. Thus we started sorting out the 2'000 Myanmar pictures for our website and writing the captures. There will be four lovely pages.
 
3/4/2017: Mechanically everything is completed. A little test drive went fine. Now it is the bodywork's turn.
 
2/28/2017: "News – February 2017" is now online.
 
2/24/2017: The time has come again, at least a "half-a-milestone" birthday: Emil is getting 75 and is unpacking an unusual gift from 4x4 fan Paul Si from Kuching: A used carburetor!
 
2/22/2017: The front and rear axles together with the differentials are now also reassembled. It became apparent that the two pro-owned side shafts, donated by the "Land Cruiser Club - Southern Africa" together with the axle case and mounted on February 13th, 2015, had to be replaced (see "Major Repair in Cape Town"). They run for 24'927 miles [40'116km]. Our two new axles, bought before at Gemini Parts in Johannesburg, have been used now.
 
2/19/2017: The overhaul of our LandCruiser continues: Clutch, gearbox and transfer are already reinstalled. We easily found the clutch disc and pressure plate as well as bearings, seals, o-rings, shims, etc. Hopefully the gearbox will now stop "singing". Mr. Lau continues to keep us busy. Preventively, both differentials and the front and rear axles are dismantled. Yesterday we have been running from one Chinese parts shop to the other for genuine parts – there are too many "me-too-products" (generics) around.
2/14/2017
2/24/2017
3/4/2017
3/11/2017
 
 
2/11/2017: Slowly work on our LandCruiser started. It already showed that the clutch and parts of the transmission and transfer have to be replaced. Today, we already found a new clutch. Regarding the transmission and transfer parts, we will start the search next Monday, February 13th. Mr. Lance Lau, the workshop boss (on the right of the picture next to his son, daughter in law and his employee) obligingly gave us a replacement car free of charge which we also use for looking for spare parts. At the moment however, we have another "headache": Our Engel refrigerator, which we bought in September 2005 in Singapore, suddenly does not cool anymore despite that the compressor is running. Therewith and many things more we are now busy.
 
2/8/2017: So far everything goes according to plan: Over the weekend, we moved the complete content of our LandCruiser to our spacious and comfortable apartment on the 3rd floor. On Monday, February 6th, it was the roof load's turn. Like in 2006 and 2012 it was quite hard work to carry our fully loaded aluminum cases and all the other odds and ends the steep wooden stair up to the workshop's attic, where a part of it has been cleared for us. Gradually our LandCruiser is loosing its special look: Roofrack, pillars and all bits and pieces have been removed. This is how our car looked an Wednesday evening, February 8th!
 
2/3/2017: Since February 1st, 2017, we are now in Miri and booked into a studio for the time of the "3rd rejuvenation" process of our LandCruiser. The workshop Yung Lee of Mr. Lance Lau will begin with the repairs next Monday, February 6th. We are now unpacking the whole content of our vehicle – a huge undertaking! Today our LandCruiser was blessed with a "Lion Dance" – a Chinese New Year's custom, which is meant to evict bad or evil spirits. If this is not a good omen!
 
2/1/2017: "News – January 2017" is now online.
 
1/27/2017: Since yesterday, January 26th, 2017, we are three of us again! Our LandCruiser was already waiting for us in its 29th container in the port of Bintulu in Sarawak in East Malaysia when we arrived late evening on January 24th, with Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur. It survived its 56 day sea journey from Odessa/Ukraine with two transshipments without any harm. Our agent, the Harbour Services Corp. was most helpful in smoothing the way for the release of our LandCruiser. He showed around the Certificate of our Guinness Record with the result that we were able to just drive out of the port without even stopping for an inspection. It felt so good to have our "freedom machine" again! Tomorrow the Chinese New Year celebrations are starting for three days. Therefore we will drive only on February 1st, the 125 miles [200km] to Miri. There, a new chapter will begin: The 3rd "rejuvenation" of our LandCruiser, after the previous ones in 2006 and 2012.
1/26/2017
2/3/2017
2/8/2017
2/11/2017
 
1/21/2017: Our 28-days marathon program in Myanmar is coming to an end. On January 22nd, 2017, we will fly with Air Asia for the 18th time to Kuala Lumpur. We crisscrossed former Burma by overland- and mini-busses, with shared taxis, by truck, by trains, boat and plane. We stayed in 10 different hotels/guesthouses and shot around 2'000 pictures. It was an incredible journey with such a wealth of stunning sites. Since our last post, we experienced the fishermen's life at serene Inle Lake, crossed by train the spectacular Gotaik viaduct (335 ft.) [102m], explored Mandalay with its longest pedestrian teak bridge (3'967 ft.) [1'209m] and enjoyed a 14 hours nostalgic boat trip down the Irrawaddy River. It recalled our 21 days' adventure in March 1991 on the River Zaire in Africa (today DR Congo) and our river trip on the Amazon in Brazil in March 1988. Bagan, the town of over 2'200 pagodas, was our last experience. Soon there will be a reencounter with our LandCruiser; it's now scheduled to arrive in Bintulu/Sarawak on January 21st, 2017.
 
1/10/2017: We are now at half time of our Myanmar trip and we don't regret one single minute. After having visited for two days the rich cultural sites of Bago, we were off for a new adventure: Two days of 10 hours each in nostalgic trains. The first day (4 US$ p.p. "Upper Class") took us from Bago to Thazi through flat land with cultivated and harvested fields. The next day from Thazi to Shwe Nyaung near Inle Lake (US$ 2 p.p. "Upper Class") was a wonderful long drive through the hills up to about 4'675 ft. revealing the genuine rural life. The floating activities along the many nostalgic stations remembered us a bit of Bolivia.
1/3/2017
1/8/2017
1/19/2017
1/21/2017
 
1/4/2017: We are swept in Myanmar from one marvelous experience to the other. On January 2nd, 2017, a comfortable four-hour bus ride took us from Yangon to Kinmun and a truck further to the “Golden Rock” – an important Buddhist pilgrimage site hidden in the mountains of Kyaiktiyo – where thousands of pilgrims gathered. It was an overwhelming sight. But the next bus ride is already booked: Tomorrow we'll continue to Bago.
 
1/1/2017: Happy New Year from Yangon/Myanmar!
The many golden towers of the Shwedagon Pagoda rising at night into the dark sky, thousands of lighted candles and praying people made the last hours of 2016 very special to us. Right in front of our hotel window a beautiful firework display announced at midnight the New Year. Our LandCruiser left yesterday Piraeus in Greece in direction Southeast Asia. (more in "News – December 2016")
 
12/28/2016: We are since Monday in Myanmar (Burma), the "Land of the Golden Pagodas", which we already visited shortly in 1975 between Christmas and New Year. Already on the first day at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon (Rangoon) we realized that we made the right choice to bridge the time until the arrival of our container in Sarawak (see below 12/16/2016), all the more as the entry with an own car is anyway only possible in an organized manner and with a guide (analog China, Bhutan and apparently starting March 2017 also Thailand). We will have time for all the sights and highlights up to January 22nd, 2017.
12/17/2016
12/20/2016
12/23/2016
12/28/2016
 
12/23/2016: Doctor and dentist visits are completed. We are fit for new adventures! We will celebrate Christmas in Kuala Lumpur where the luxury Christmas decorations are putting us in festivity mood despite the tropical climate. However we shall fly on Monday, December 26th, with AirAsia from Kuala Lumpur to Myanmar (formerly Burma), where our new year will start in Yangon (formerly Rangoon). A year ago we spent this holiday season in the desert country of Sudan. Our LandCruiser is still in Piraeus/Greece.
Merry Christmas!
 
12/18/2016: We arrived yesterday, Saturday, with AirAsia from Bangkok for the 17th time in Malaysia, where we want to do some "maintenance" on ourselves: Doctor and laboratory, dentists etc.. Meanwhile our car is said to remain until mid-January in the port of Piraeus/Greece, until the backlog of all the piled-up containers is cleared, which could'nt be transported to Asia due to the many strikes.
 
12/16/2016: Bad news: Due to a strike of the dockers in Piraeus/Greece our container could not be transshipped to the connecting vessel in the direction of Malaysia. It is now scheduled to arrive in Bintulu/Sarawak only on January 29th, 2017, instead of January 1st. Where will we make "forced holidays" in the meantime?
 
12/10/2016: We finally escaped the cold! From 19°F [-7°C] in Odessa/Ukraine. we flew first with 'FlyDubai' to Dubai and landed afterwards in a (jam-packed) Airbus A380 of 'Emirates' in Bangkok in the warmth at 88°F [31°C] after totally 24 hours. In the meantime our LandCruiser is on schedule: The ship of 'Evergreen' is docking today in Piraeus/Greece, where our container will be transshipped on December 14th, 2016, to a vessel on the way to Malaysia.
 
12/4/2016: On Sunday we were invited in Odessa by Serge Bulan (Timofeevich), another 4x4 enthusiast, for a lunch "in style" in the Steakhouse at Derybasivska Street 20. Everything was perfect in every respect. He bid goodbye with Christmas presents and a bottle of Champagne for the New Years celebration.
"News October/November 2016" is now online.
 
12/1/2016: Today is the day! Temporarily we say goodbye to our LandCruiser, which has been stuffed into its 29th container. It will sail on December 5th, with Evergreen Shipping Line via Piraeus/Greece and Tanjung Pelepas/West Malaysia to Bintulu/Sarawak/East Malaysia on the Island of Borneo. The personal engagement of the BSA Shipping Agency in Odessa/Ukraine ensured a smooth procedure. (Article in Russian with pictures here).
 
11/26/2016: Flashback to a special encounter in Kiev: Oleg Golik (Gos) from the "Offroadmaster 4x4 Club" surprises us with a floral bouquet and overwhelms us with gifts. We are really touched! He follows us enthusiastically on our website already since over eight years and is happy to finally meet us personally. We spend some enjoyable hours together.
11/24/2016
12/1/2016
12/4/2016
12/10/2016
 
11/26/2016: After visiting Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, we finally reached after 3'100 miles [5'000km] Odessa. Our LandCruiser is now scheduled to leave on December 7th, for Bintulu in Malaysian Sarawak on the Island of Borneo. It is our second shipment from this port. The first one was on 9/22/2013 to Cape Verde Islands. We shall fly on December 8th, with stopovers in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Much more details in our "News – November 2016", which will be online around November 30th.
 
11/18/2016: We are now about 100 miles [160km] before Ukraine's capital Kiev preparing here our shipment from the Port of Odessa. The best things come in threes! Yes, we do it again! Our LandCruiser gets its third and likely last rejuvenation at the same place as in 2006 and 2012: In Miri/Sarawak on the island of Borneo in East Malaysia. This gives us also the opportunity to escape finally the harsh approach of winter in this region.
 
11/11/2016: We made it! On 11/11 at 11.11am we were standing after 3'391 miles [6'423km] of Russian roads at the exit border to the Ukraine Krupets/Kyaterinіvka. Three hours later we were still standing there, chilled to the bone. One thing was that on the entry customs form into Kyrgyzstan - also member of the 'Eurasian Economic Union / EAEU' - our LandCruiser was inadvertently not mentioned, and the other thing was that the customs officer tossed our belongings thoroughly. It was obvious that he actually didn't look for something, but that he expected something else. More welcoming were the Ukrainians; but having no green insurance card to show, bakshish was inevitable. However later at the insurance office, we got even a cup of hot coffee. But four hours was really enough to cross a corrupted border.
 
11/5/2016: Yesterday Friday we didn't want to continue on M5 (= Ural resp. Trans Siberian Highway) to Tolyatti near Samara, due to an all-day snow storm. We also saw today some truck accidents along the 185 miles [297km] long stretch. During changeable weather - occasionally some snow and sunshine at freezing temperatures - everything worked fine until close to the destination, when suddenly the windshield wiper conked out during snow flurries.
 
11/3/2016: After having driven another 125 miles [200km] - we spend tonight at Oktyabrsky - we decided not to write currently the "News – October 2016", because we are a bit stressed due to our expiring Russian visa. But we'll make good for it once we reached Odessa in the Ukraine or Poti in Georgia.
10/16/1984
10/21/2016
10/27/2016
11/1/2016
 
11/2/2016: We are impressed! Toyota Ufa repaired our LandCruiser in record time. We delivered it yesterday at 2pm and today at noon it was ready. The parts of our used spare differential from Jakarta could be used. We have been looked after very well. Tomorrow we shall continue towards Samara. We have still about 1'100 miles [<1'800km] to drive to the Ukraine border. The weather forecast for the next days: Heavy snowfall and low temperatures!
 
10/29/2016: Our entry into Europe was ill-fated. In the city of Ufa, only 178 miles [286km] after the Ural crossing, on a steep ascent the rear differential broke. Luck has it that since Jakarta in Indonesia we carry a used one on our roof rack, exactly since December 11th, 2006, during 3'610 days resp. 80'683 miles [129'846km]. On Monday we will take action.
 
10/27/2016: After another flat tire, our 186th in Chelyabinsk, and a tough drive of 1'334 miles [2'147km] in 7 days, we crossed today at the Urenga Pass the Ural for the second time on our epic journey. The first time was on July 2nd 1995. In its wintery snowy splendor, it was a wonderful shift from Asia to Europe.
 
10/23/2016: At constant and strong freezing temperatures we managed four more sectors towards the West: Barnaul-Novosibirsk, Novosibirsk-Barabinsk, Barabinks-Omsk, Omsk-Ishim. At Novosibirsk we left the Chuysky-Trakt and drive now on the monotonous but smooth Trans-Siberian Highway through endless birch forests.
 
10/19/2016: Finally we quit Gorno Altaysk - it was time! The weather was fine early morning, but after about 60 miles [100km] strong wind came up and shortly afterwards it started to snow. We asked ourselves whether we should stop already in Biysk, but no - we decided to continue direction Barnaul. It became a "snow-storm-drive" - for once something different, but unfortunately with a a kind of a "smack": Our 185th flat tire didn't please us at all at this nasty weather conditions!
 
10/16/2016: We celebrate our 32nd jubilee of our epic journey. It was October 16th, 1984, when our dream became true and we left with our LandCruiser with 7'077 miles [11'390km] on the odometer our 3½ room apartment in Wallisellen to discover the world for one to two years. Meanwhile, it became 32 years in 186 countries and 457'142 miles [735'698km] driven on our worldtour (odometer shows today: 747'088km = 464'219 miles).
9/3/2016
9/13/2016
 9/22/2016
10/13/2016
 
10/13/2016: During the last days we moved one step further. After many, many discussions, assessments, discarding ideas, new plannings, researches in the internet and over 50 emails a solution emerges. We will head for the port of Odessa in the Ukraine for a shipment. Where to we will tell when everything is sewn up. Western Siberia sees us off with stunning winter scenery not seen for a very long time!
 
10/6/2016: "News September 2016" is now online.
 
10/5/2016: The sun is shining again for the first time after massive frost. Our itinerary that we changed in the meantime envisages that we shall drive in Novosibirsk westwards, thus dropping the initial idea of Vladivostok - South Korea. The shipping agent informed us that we have to count in Vladivostok as a minimal freight to "anywhere" above US$ 3'000 plus. The same freight rates originating in the West wouldn't cost half of it - this by same driving distances from Novosibirsk to the nearest port of about 3'500 miles [5'500km]. The decision to drop Mongolia as our 187th country wasn't easy. But if the obstacles are getting to big - we don't have to do it at all costs.
 
10/4/2016: The Uzbekistan website is now online.
 
10/2/2016: We receive from the weekly Swiss magazine "Doppelpunkt" a 'pdf' of the article (in German) "In einem halben Leben um die ganze Welt", published about us on
August 25th, 2016.
 
9/29/2016: The bad weather front reached us at Gorno Altaysk!
 
9/26/2016: We decide to turn back at the customs' exit of Russia due to the following reasons: 1) It's absolutely unclear whether the Mongolians let us enter without paying a bond of US$ 12'232.50 for our 34-years old LandCruiser. This huge amount results due to the big engine capacity of 258 in³ [4'228cm³]. Although the Russians would let us re-enter after a try at the 16 miles distant Mongolian post, but then our double-entry visa is used, which we intended for another place. 2) Despite of welding the front pillars, the windscreen is still swaying - not the best precondition for the bone-jarring corrugated tracks in Mongolia. 3) The weather forecast is for a hefty start of winter with snow and low freezing temperature, which isn't necessarily recommended for our "outdoor-lifestyle" in our advanced age.
 
9/25/2016: Today there is again sunshine after two rainy days. At freezing temperatures this is not only nice for our journey's continuation to the Russia-Mongolia border, but of course particularly for Liliana, who celebrates today a "half-decadal" birthday. Emil however recovers still from a pretty bad cold.
 
9/20 to 22/2016: We drove from Gorno-Altaysk via Onguday and Aktash 300 miles [485km] by varying weather (beautiful, cloudy, overcast and rain showers) on the Chuysky Trakt through the wonderful Altay Mountains to Kosh Agach, where - 45 miles [73km] before the Mongolia border - the rather treeless steppe starts.
 
9/19/2016: It's raining and we decide to use the day for internet research on yesterday's "Mongolia horror story". If the 'Carnet de Passages' isn't accepted, we won't place a caution but would go on without visiting our next new 187th country.
 
9/18/2016: The test-drive was OK. We discovered on the internet a "horror story", saying that Mongolia introduced recently an import bond on cars of US$ 4'500 + 15% of the current value (presumably due to the Mongol Rally). This shall apply also for temporarily imported tourist vehicles, excluding trucks.
 
9/17/2016: Repair finished. Test-drive follows tomorrow. Liliana stops with antibiotics - the toothaches decreased, but the cause isn't remedied yet and therefore deferred until later.
 
9/15/2016: Due to yesterday's rain, we were able to start fixing the front axle only today. Because of missing a tool we were stuck. Thanks to our friend Stas from Kazakhstan, who managed everything from there, the problem is solved. Tomorrow work will continue.
 
9/13/2016: The spare parts from Moscow arrived.
 
9/12/2016: Update to our "More about a nearly 32-Year-Journey around the World"
 
9/10 to 13/2016: Waiting for the spare parts from Moscow. Liliana is taking now antibiotics and is waiting also that their toothaches go away.
 
9/6/2016: Liliana's toothaches don't stop anymore and she decides to make an appointment with a dentist while waiting for the arrival of the spare parts.
 
9/5/2016: It shows that the upper knuckle bearing is destroyed completely and also the lower one is damaged. Toyota Russia in Moscow confirms that the spare parts are available, but needed time (1 week) to arrive in Gorno-Altaysk. They refer us also to a specialized website: http://www.exist.ru/. The other parts (main bearings etc.) seems to be unaffected.
 
9/3 and 9/4/2016: Emil dismantles himself the front axle.
 
9/2/2016: A visit to a workshop doesn't show any result due to insurmountable language difficulties.
 
9/1/2016: We leave Uznezya near Chemal and drive on the "ultra smooth" Chuysky Trakt, the 205 miles [330km] long highway 'M52" in direction Mongolia. Because it's so smooth we notice a shimmying of the front wheels. Jacking them up on a rest area, we detect with horror that the right front wheel wobbles between 4 to 6 inches [10-15cm]. For a better check-up and to be on the safe side we decide to return the 50 miles [80km] to the small town of Gorno-Altaysk (about 60'000 people) (guesthouse coord. 51.97660/85.89301).
 
8/28/2016: The front pillars, which keep the windscreen in place, had to be welded in Gorno-Altaysk, after they broke completely while returning from Teletskoe Lake - otherwise we would have driven suddenly without any "window".