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BONDI TO THE BALTIC

A vintage Silk Road journey

Two vintage cars, a few old mates, and the journey of a lifetime – Bondi to the Baltic is a fascinating story told through photos and the distillation of blogs and diary entries by some foolhardy, adventurous blokes

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A 1920 Dodge Tourer and a 1927 Willys Overland Whippet, driven from Australia to Finland via the old Silk Roads route.

Twelve countries, 20,000 kilometres, over 6 months.

Mountains, deserts, sunshine, sleet and snow, good roads and bad, close scrapes with authorities, breakdowns, and heart-warming personal encounters in countries we were raised to fear.

About the Trip

The 87-year-old Willys Whippet was stopped again, steam hissing from under the bonnet. It had been on the road for less than three weeks of a planned six-month drive and this was stop number six for the morning. We were on a mountain road, almost 3,000 metres high, heading for Lugu Hu—Lake Lugu, to us—on the Yunnan-Sichuan provincial border. Bill Amann waited long enough to avoid a scalding then removed the radiator cap and poured in more water.

There was no other traffic and, rare for China, only a few people—mostly women—in the colourful costume and expansive headgear of the local ‘National Minority’ people (as the Chinese government terms minority ethnic groups within China). Were these the Mosuo, the matriarchal society of Lugu Hu, who had drawn us onto this remote detour?