The weather since we left Novosibirsk had been wet and miserable. Not so bad when it rains during the day but to have to pack your car in the pouring rain is not pleasant.We stopped overnight in Yekaterinburg but unfortunately it was late when we arrived and so did not have the opportunity to visit the cathedral which has been built over the spot where the Romanovs were assassinated , it also looked a very nice city from what we saw. The days through Russia have been very long but two days ago we were re- routed through the town stadium . The whole town had turned out to see us . We drove around the running track and then onto a ramp up to a small stage where they announced our names and country we were from. Everyone was cheering and rushing to touch the car and hold our hands. Gifts and flowered were handed through the window, babies held up to hug, it was the most humbling experience. These lovely people obviously overjoyed to see us! Even through the smallest of villages which we pass through they are out waving us on. I enjoy the route through the villages. The women look as if they have not moved on from the thirties, the men all seem to dress in camouflage clothing some I am sure is ex army. They are all so cheerful but it must be a tough life especially in the winter. They have stacks and stacks of wood for heating and cooking and many of the houses are made out of logs.
Yesterday was an arduous day with three time trials, one on thick mud, one on rocks and stones and another on a slippery track in the rain. We also had to drive 650 Kms.When we thought were coming close to Kazan they threw another circuit in on the local racing track. I was terrified and spent the time asking Lloyd to slow on the bends and the rest of the time with my eyes closed!! Today is a rest day so we have been cleaning the car on the inside, tightening bolts and topping up the fluids. We are now off to explore Kazan and will write again soon. We are now just over half way and technically in Europe