Back to Germany
Series: Travel diary
On the last stage of the trip from Beijing to Stuttgart, Eberhard Joos' team encountered bureaucratic difficulties. The journey through the final stages of Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland was very much a test of patience for the convoy.
The 2300-kilometre trip across Russia and Belarus was completed over the course of four rainy, grey days. Everything was monotonous: the days, the nights, the food… during the day we drove through vast marshlands and birch forests. In the small villages, old people were selling fruit and honey at the side of the road. At night, our three Actros trucks were parked on muddy gravel parking areas.
The toilet situation compared with the rest areas in Kazakhstan had barely improved: often there was just an outhouse and only sometimes a shower. The food is restricted mostly to sausage with egg, occasionally for a change there might be egg with sausage and solyanka. The hot soup did help against the cold, though. If we couldn't find any snack bars or similar, we'd cook pasta and tinned sausages at our trucks.
Almost in Poland.
We steer clear of Moscow and Minsk for time reasons. In Brest, Belarus, we stop briefly at WEA Transport and say goodbye to our trusty helpers from there. Then we continue on to the border with Poland.
We actually anticipated crossing the border rapidly as only very few trucks were ahead of us in the queue. At the counter we present the documents for our vehicles. After carrying out some checks, the customs official then informs us that some paperwork is missing. We make a call and, with the help of the colleagues from WEA Transport, arrange for the paperwork to be sent over. In the meantime, there was a shift change in the customs offices. The new customs official checks all documents again and then asks for some additional documentation. As it's already midnight, it's too late to make another call. Instead, we spend the night sleeping at the border. Who knows how things will pan out tomorrow?
24 hours on the border.
After a disturbed night, we again contact WEA Transport and have the missing documents sent over to us. Back to the customs building. This time, the checks by officials take almost an entire hour. Then we're finally given permission to leave the country. Customs officials are one thing, the border police are another. This time round, passports and stamps are checked meticulously. There then follows a gruelling discussion about a missing bit of paper, which we should have received at the border between Kazakhstan and Russia…
After almost 24 hours in the border area, we finally manage to cross into Poland. Time presses and so we drop the idea of having lunch and set out on the final 1300 kilometres to Stuttgart. We drive into the night and we find a rest area in the Polish outback to spend the night.
The next day, we cross the border into Germany near Frankfurt (Oder). We follow the A9 in the direction of home. Despite our enthusiasm, things don't move as fast as we'd like: German motorways, in comparison to those of Kazakhstan or China are simply too full. Nothing will help us now – we'll never make it back before our driving time runs out. So in Nuremberg we have to make a final stop.
On Saturday morning we set our course for Stuttgart. As a reminder
of our exploits we make a final photo of the three Actros trucks in
front of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Then, after 10,828 kilometres and
three weeks of driving, we finally reach the Untertürkheim
An exciting and exhilarating journey draws to a close. What remains are many interesting experiences, some great encounters with friendly people and a broadening of our respective horizons.
Memories of the tour from Beijing to Stuttgart will surely stay with
us for a very long time.
Photos and video: Eberhard Joos
Editing: Alexander Tempel