I am ridiculously careful as I take a photo coming up the military checkpoint – and I don’t even risk it at the actual border crossing. All is pretty simple if a little slow – but Matt and I diligently line up for passport control, then the car ‘immigration’ control and then customs. We have added a few lines to a form helpfully filled in by our new ‘fixers’ on the Russian side.

The cars do need to have 2 people each as this is what is expected from the group documents filed in advance and this was dutifully checked by the policeman as we queued in the car.  ‘ 2 people?’  may have made sense when asking the driver of the vast 50’s Chevy, which could have a small village in the boot, but was a little pointless when asked of the vintage open Bentley behind us in which once the driver and navigator were ensconced into the tiny cockpit it was barely possible to stow a toothbrush.

Sniffer dogs check the cars once through the first fence and we are required to open bonnet and boot and all 4 doors – ‘our’ dog was very professional and efficient. Once we had passed this check I moved the car to the side, while Matt was in the car documentation queue, and sat with the door open. A second, younger, dog appeared with a handler and, while not supposed to check out car, came over, immediately targeted my packed lunch on the footwell floor and then sneezed from the huge amounts of dust in the car – a little more training required I think.


IMG_1616 IMG_1613 IMG_1611Day 11: