The itinerary of the second part of BIELUGA is longer and offers an even more diversified cultural and off-road experience. It will make you discover the unforgettable atmosphere of Caucasian mountain huts, the rocky towns of the Silk Road and the provinces of the exotic Orient. The chances are that it is going to be one of the most interesting international expeditions co-organized for many years now by the Warsaw Motoring Club Penetrator.
Our destination is Georgia. We are going to reach it via Moldova with its outstanding castles and famous vineyards. Thanks to support of Embassy of Republic Moldova we'll discover many interesting places of this special country, till now only known to the enthusiasts of Baserabia.
In order to embark on the ferry and sail along the northern shore of the Black Sea, we'll visit Odessa again. We are going to go safely past Abkhazia and land in the Georgian town of Ponti situated in the Rioni river delta on the vast bog and swamps of the legendary Kolchida. Thus, we are going to reach the same area as the Argonauts during their expedition and see the footprints of dinosaurs still distinctly visible.
On the same day we'll take the Inguri river canyon and head to Svanetia - the district lost between four and five thousand metres high snow-covered mountain tops.
The following days will belong to Imeretia and Kartlia. We'll stop in the birthplace of Josef Vissarianovitch Diougatchvili, commonly known as Stalin, and via the famous Georgian Route of War we'll get to the foot of the monumental Kazbek mountain where the mythical Greek Prometheus performed his penance for giving away to people the fire stolen to the gods.
We will also call at Tbilisi and Mccheta, the religious capital of Georgia. In Kachetia - the land of milk and honey - we will rest after the difficulties of the first part of our itinerary and visit the oldest temples of Georgia following the steppe and semi-desert where the Russian army trained before the conflict in Afghanistan.
The next stage of our journey includes the Georgian cave cities, the valley of Kura river, Borzhomi famous for its mineral water and the mountain route leading through the volcanic mountain chain so often hit by earthquakes.
On the following days, you can expect to see the rocky borders of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria - breathtaking, exotic views and demanding terrain where drivers have to be extremely careful.
We will cross Tiger and Euphrates, get through the huge salt lake of Tuz Golu providing 60 percent of salt mined in Turkey, we will drop to Cappadocia and Ankara and after three weeks on the road we'll end our journey in Istanbul.
From there, everyone will head in the chosen direction - to Greece, Croatia, Bulgaria or the south coast of Turkey.
Expedition itinerary is almost 10.000 km long, of which the majority will be covered by car within about 25 days. We are going to spend the nights in tents or in cars, except for the goodbye night and ferry freights. Just like last year, each team is going to prepare meals for themselves
Below you will find the archive description of the first half of the expedition that participants received in 2005 before the journey. The plan was entirely fulfilled, even more so, as the lengthened and enriched itinerary included Caucasian Mineral Baths and the city of Budionovsk, partially occupied by the people of Shamil Basayev in 1995.
During a three weeks long expedition you are going to cover 6000 km, drive through four mountain ranges, legendary Crimean Steppes and the Kerch Strait and visit the sunny beaches of the Black, Azov and Caspian seas.
You are going to spend most of the nights in tents and prepare your meals by yourself or use the specialities of the local cuisine. Every day you are going to choose how and with whom you are going to cover one of the prepared itineraries and which of the attractions you are going to see on the way.
It is entirely up to you whether you are going to depend on our guide or choose to go for a hike to waterfalls or the Great Kanyon on your own or in a small group. You are going to visit Chotin, Kamyanets Podilskyy, Kharkov, the former Stalingrad, the famous monuments of Crimea and Kiev. You'll descend more than a dozen meters underground to a well in a rock carved at the foot of the Czufut - Kale cave city.
And that was only the very beginning of the adventure! We will get across the biggest rivers of Ukraine and Russia: Dniestr, Dnieper, Don and Volga. We will fight with scorching heat for many days walking through the parched bottom of the prehistoric strait linking Europe and Asia. And to top it all, the last and the most difficult challenge: steppe and desert wilderness of Kalmykia
BIELUGA Expedition 2005 is not only about braving nature's extremes, it is also experiencing the culture and religion of the East. During the rally you will observe Orthodox, Muslim and Buddhist traditions. You will meet Tatar, Adyghe and Kasakh people, spent nights near the campfires of Kalmykian shepherds, observing camels, wild horses and antelopes.
But don't worry, we will also let you have some rest. You'll get to taste the beauty of the port city of Odessa, exquisite wine and gorgeous women of Yalta and finally the crazy parties in Gelendzhik.
BIELUGA 2005 is the result of five years of journeys round Ukraine, Russia and Georgia. Especially for you, we chose the most exciting and interesting places, usually inaccessible for an average traveller.
View pictures and films from the expedition and read the descriptions of different stages of the itinerary in the "Virtual Expedition" section.