Czechs explore the Russian Far East in a 17-year old Skoda

19-10-2006

In mid-June, two adventurous travellers from southern Bohemia hopped into their 17-year old Skoda Rapid and sped off. 12,900 kilometres later, Petr Goldmann and Petr Vavrik arrived in the Russian Far East. The men were inspired by the famous Czech duo Jiri Hanzelka and Miroslav Zikmund, who travelled the world in their Tatra car four decades ago.

Now back in the Czech Republic, Petr Goldmann explains what attracted them to the region:

"One of the reasons why we set out in that direction was the beautiful nature that you encounter. But another reason is that we come from a village called Kyjov. A river named Kyjovka runs through it. We wanted to see the village of Kyjevka, in the delta of the Sea of Japan, which the river Kyjevka flows into."

Once at their destination, the two men knocked on the first door that they came across and asked for the mayor. Petr Vavrik:

"The woman said 'you've come to the right place, I am the mayor!' So, we set up camp in her backyard. In the evening, we sat in her garden and ate pickled salmon. Everyone was very friendly - 99 percent of the people we encountered in Russia were very pleasant. They called us their 'Slavic brothers', which felt strange because we were by the Sea of Japan, far away from Europe."

So, why did the two men risk the trip with their 17 year-old Skoda?

"Because we know the car. It's easy to repair and has quite a simple engine. It's also cheap to drive. Of course, we could have taken a jeep but that would have been like climbing an 8,000 metre high mountain with an oxygen mask."

Petr Goldmann and Petr Vavrik already have their next trip planned. From Patagonia all the way up to Alaska they intend to cross the American continent in their Skoda Rapid.

19-10-2006