Lev Goncharov

DevOps Engineer

UK trip by car

A journey Chelyabinsk - London - Chelyabinsk took 12500km. It was an interesting experience. Be careful with your dreams.

RHCP Chelyabinsk - Saint Petersburg - Ryazan

I was living in Chelyabinsk, at the beginning of the 2012 year, I eventuality got tickets to Red Hot Chili Peppers performance in Saint Petersburg. My friend advised to get to Saint Petersburg by car (Just FYI it is about 2700km in one way).

It was the most important day of my life. A big boss from headquarter was visiting our Chelyabinsk office. We organized a BBQ & a sauna. I, my workmate & head honcho were sitting in the sauna. I & my friend were describing our idea. The idea was to visit RHCP performance in Saint Petersburg by car. when he suddenly said: “If you come to our London office by car, I will pay over all your expenses”.

We check a car, stuck stickers, crammed all our stuff & headed to Saint Petersburg. It was my first long journey by car. We arrived in Ryazan (it took 16 hours), took a nap & continue our journey to RHCP performance. We picked up 3 friends in Moscow and finished the first part of the trip in Saint Petersburg. It took about 20 hours instead of 12. We visited marvellous RHCP performance and went home. We parked the car in Ryazan and continue our journey by train. We did it because our goal was to visit London by car. We planned to continue some months later…

Chelyabinsk - Ryazan - Bruges

2012, glorious summer was beginning. I, my friend and big boss from the United Kingdom were sitting in a sauna. I and my friend were describing our crazy idea to visit RHCP performance by car in Saint Petersburg(it is about 2700km in one way). Big boss abruptly stopped us and said: “If you visit our Leeds office by car, I will pay you back all expenses”. We just laughed. Some months later we visited RHCP performance and my friend remembered about the proposal. It was a tough decision, however, we decided to do it. So we parked a car somewhere in Rayzan & returned to Chelyabinsk by train. Some months later in September we returned to Ryazan & continue the journey.

The first hop from Ryazan to Drezden took 2200km & 31 hours. It was non-stop & non-sleep driving. We were young & decided to buy 2 different beers & compare it at every overnight stop. We were really exhausted after the first hop, however, we went out to the city centre.

The second target was Bruges. It was 900km/9.5hours - as easy as pie. We were astonished to look 180km/h at lanos speedometer, visited Herlen in Netherland & Keln by the way. There were two fails

The next day we walked through Bruges city centre, tasted one the most delicious beer Kwak(under the legal limit), arrived in a port and boarded to a ferry.

Bruges - Leeds - London

The sun was shining on the sea, we were going from Bruges to Hul by sea. We arrived in the United Kingdom. A border guard was really confused that we arrived from the middle of Russia. We faced left road country and carefully headed into our Leeds office. A few kilometres later we adapted ourselves to left-handed roads. We finally understood that won the bet, then received SMS with code from office door and arrived in the office. Unfortunately, our boss forgot about the bet.

We stayed at a traditional British semi-detached house. There were a lot of strange things in the house:

Our workmates organized some parties and we visited genuine British local pubs. Nevertheless, we continue our journey, our goal was London. We arrived in London and faced the car-packed city. Fortunately, our apartments included parking. We visited Abbey road, Telehouse data centre, deleteagency office, London Bridge, Westminster abbey, etc.

Dover - Calais - Berlin

We woke up and found out that our car was blocked. Occasionally we found a driver who blocked our car. We arrived in the seaport and took queue to a ferry. When we arrived in France, we abruptly understood that it was the wrong city. We had messed up the ferry and arrived to at Dunkirk. Hopefully, there was no long distance between Dunkrik and Calais. We were looking for frogs legs, so we walked through the city. Actually we found loath gangs, fortunately, they were not interested in us. Also, I noticed some facts: All corner shops were closed after 4 PM. Everyone hated English speaking persons.

Next day we headed to Berlin. It was one of the easiest parts of the journey. There were a few traffic jams in rush hours, nothing special. We strolled through the city centre, went out to a bar and went sleep before one of the hardest parts of the journey

Bialystok - Ryazan - Chelyabinsk

When we continued the journey, we found that our blinkers didn’t work. We tried to troubleshoot it without success. We supposed that it was an issue an linked with alarm, however, it was the wrong assumption. It was a tough decision, but we continued the journey with broken blinkers. A few hours we arrived at Bialystok and faced a lot of different issues:

Hopefully, we didn’t do tax-free, so we skip the queue. We had arrived in Belarus & faced the icy road. A few hours later we arrived in Moscow and faced terrible traffic jam. We spent 6 hours for 240km, especially 3 hours for 30km somewhere at MKAD. Not far from Ryazan we were stopped by a policeman, it was the first and the last for the whole journey. Five kilometres later we had arrived at friend’s apartments and finished 40 hours/2000km non-stop part of the journey.

The next day we continued the journey. First 1500km we did without major issues. However, not far from Ufa we had stopped at traffic jam because awesome crash, we found a shortcut through narrow mudfull road. A bit later we had encountered a flat tire & needed to change the tire. Some hours later we were driving across Ural Mountains Chain, it was snowing hopefully we arrived home without any new issues.

Conclusion

It was an extremely interesting experience. Be careful what you wish for, you may receive it…