Our first break in a week of driving. We wanted to stop in a city with more of an ‘Asian’ feel and Kazan came up with busy markets and glistening mosques – Tartarstan being the northern limits of Islamic culture.

We managed to drive all the way into the centre and park up in the shadow of its Kremlin that overlooks the Volga River – and here we found a German truck whose residents came over to say hello. We were wondering if they would join our convoy to the other side of the world but, no; this was the eastern-most point of their summer travels and they have to return home. It was strange to think that Kazan was only our first stop and we’d rushed past everything they were telling us about in European Russia.

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