Day 19

Today we said goodbye to Kazakhstan and headed back into Russia. We passed through the border in lightening speed, the military helping to fast track us through. We all expected it to take a lot longer than it did so it certainly was a pleasant surprise.

On the way to our hotel we drove through Magnitogorsk where a “Welcome to Europe” reception had been put on for us. Over a thousand people were waiting in the hot sun to see the cars and to welcome us. We were also given a certificate to mark us officially crossing from Asia into Europe.

This evening we were staying at a holiday resort located on Bannoe lake. The hotel wasn’t particularly popular among the participants, but I thought it was fascinating! It is the type of place that most tourists visiting Russia never get to see.

Whilst the competitors were fixing their cars, Russian holiday makers were taking part in an aerobics class next to them. In the evening, everyone gathered on the shore of the lake for dinner. It was accompanied by a live band which created a great atmosphere.