Day 19 – Kazakhstan to Bannoe, Lake Bannoe resort Russia

We are crossing the border this morning. A direct run of 124kms over straight roads. There’s going to be much more of these straight roads as we head westward and the graveltravel ceases to exist. Gives our speedy mates the edge.

Inside the hotel accommodation. It’s old and reminiscent of the Soviet days. Not a nice place, but a place to put the head down. The rooms had three beds each and the they were two feet wide and about 1foot off the ground. They creaked when you turned at night. Like sleeping on an old crate

Our departure was the usual 9.25am and from the town square. Few people this morning but some interesting conversations with some. A lot of people here speak some English and when speaking to a teacher she said that the children are taught three languages here. Kazakhstan, Russian and English. They are progressive.

Leaving the square and someone who wanted to be photographed

There were the usual bulletin amendments to the route book but because of the border crossing and the 1 hour time change it was a little more difficult.

The border cross was quick and friendly.

But there was no time in the schedule to waste any time. No stop for something to eat.

In the afternoon there are two STC’s. These have been held on wheat farm tracks. Dusty and full of winding and rutted dirt roads. The first was ok, though we couldn’t achieve the time due to the car in front interfering with our run because of a nav error he made cutting in front then leaving us, literally in his dust.

Back on the road again. Wheat fields for as far as the eye can see. Great countryside

The second STC had such a short time vs distance that the average speed would be 116kph!!!

Impossible. But we did our best. Can’t be silly and bust our gut and break the car.

Still, Denise performed well and she just keeps going. She purrs.

Around mid afternoon the route guided us to a “Return to Russia” event, an historical event where the Ural river divided east from west and the turmoil around that time. It’s called the Magnitogorsk celebration and the PtoP just happened to be there on the day. A real welcome by the locals, each car being introduce over a loudspeaker system. A hot day and all and sundry turned out. Lots of children beautifully dressed and everyone trying to speak to you. The old and the new. They are just so friendly. There were some old cars, bikes and some armaments. Russians dressed in their old uniforms. Couldn’t take any photos due to phone being left in the sun on the car dashboard charging up. Pity. Got a couple though before it froze.

At the Russia celebration before the camera froze

People were all over Denise taking photos fawning over her!

Then the long run to the evening destination, the Bannoe Lake Resort.

More agriculture and driving through a typical poor village

A village of condos that was what seemed like a sanitorium during the soviet era. Set in amongst silver birch trees predominantly on the shores of a small lake. Apparently it snows here and it’s a ski resort too. Gets to 30 degrees below in winter. Again, throngs of visitors met us at the entry. A four piece heavy metal band played popular modern songs and in general a gala feel.

At the Bennoe Lake resort

Dinner was served at a lake venue on the premises.  Good food and Steve and I partook of a couple of Heineken beers. The first for quite a while.

Due to temperature, which is hot now, we were drained from the day’s activities. Bed and dead. Slept like there was no tomorrow.

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