It's only hours left before our world-record-setting journey begins. After another careful consideration of the route and analysis of all possible troubles, we decided to start one day earlier, namely on August 19. So this is our last entry added during the "inspection trip", as the World Record journey along the Silk Road from Shanghai to Venice awaits us. The start is set at 7 a.m.
And that is why our remaining hours in Shanghai had to be extremely fruitful. For a start, we went to Suzhou, which is a sister city of Venice and, in a way, the Asian equivalent of the famous Italian city. We came across numerous reminders of this collaboration, including an antique boat from Venice. Now Suzhou has even more original artifacts from Italy because our Volkswagen Tiguan brought here special gifts from Venice municipality. Local authorities gave us similar gifts so we have a new minor mission to bring them safe and sound to our destination. A lot of Chinese journalists visited the official part of the ceremony and showed great interest in us, our car, and our journey. Few can actually realize, though, what lies ahead of us.
This "green" stage behind us, we got ourselves busy with the most important part in preparation for our journey: car maintenance. We turned to the official dealer in Shanghai and passed our car through a full scheduled maintenance, including change of oil, filters, check of suspension and electronics. We also got new tires, new brake disks, and new brake blocks. All this was done to minimize risks in setting the world record. We have to hand it to the Volkswagen people in Shanghai, who kept working with our car long after their normal hours were up.
After that, we were able to have one more meeting — this time, with the representatives of another partner of ours, Exide. They wished us safe trip, and we, in turn, thanked them for their support in such a difficult and daring project.
The next morning saw us on the starting stretch. With the car prepared and all pictures and text entries made during the inspection trip finalized and sent off, all we had to do was to have some rest, pack up our food for the road, get morally ready, and... round up our crew. The latter being exactly the reason why this was yet another morning without a wink of sleep: we had to go to the airport to meet our third pilot Peter Bakanov. Incidentally, you can get to the Shanghai airport in a variety of ways, but the most progressive one is by magnetic cushion train. It travels very fast, up to 450 km/h, and is a new wonder of Chinese technological advancement, which only lacks high-speed and restriction-free Internet.
And now we are all set and ready to go. Follow the news on the website; we will try to keep you posted ASAP.
Author: Dmitry Makarov