One of the only enjoyable parts of returning from the Mongol Rally is having the opportunity to review the 3,000 pictures we took! Here are our favourites, and the stories behind them.

Face of a Million Stories

At 12,000 feet high in the mountain ranges of Kyrgyzstan this women was tucked up warm in her small,cobbled together, cabin. A tin roof did little to retain the heat, but a constant flow of sheep dung fueled her stove inside.

We pulled up besides a small rickety stand flaunting the best of mountain honey, horse milk cheese balls and nuts. We purchased the honey which kept us sweet for the drive ahead, and sampled a horse ball – which made us all gag!

Turkish Shine

Whilst wandering the streets of Istanbul we came across this fella. He paused his polish and chuckled at my request to take a picture. I love the rawness of his work coupled with his great expression of happiness and life in this shot.

Focused Repair

Perhaps one of my favourite pictures, ever, this guy said few words and yet his expression said everything. We’d ruptured a tyre on the harsh roads of Mongolia and stopped by at the small town of Altai to get it fixed. Stripping the tyre he bashed in what seemed to be an industrial bike puncture repair and glued the outside with super glue. It lasted three days – enough to get us to the next town.

Dream Dip

In Kyrgyzstan again, a country which surprised us all, we were met by this massive 50km wide lake. We were on quite a schedule, aiming to drive 600km in a day. Nevertheless when met by this gorgeous opportunity we just had to take a dip!

The Pamirs

Tajikistan and the Pamir highway – hard hard driving, perhaps the toughest of the Mongol Rally, but so rewarding with the landscapes we passed through.

This image was shot towards the end. At 15,200 feet we were high, but the mountains around – the beginnings of the Himalayas – continued much further into the sky.

Warm Welcome

As we approached the border of Russia the land started to become wider and greener, fringed by snowy peaks in the distance.

Here it’s windy, and cold. I love this picture for the natural composition that the children in it create, but if you zoom in on the high res version you can really see how old and dry their faces look – like mini old men.

Romanian Rush

It’s a picture of us, and an exception to my favourite images photography wise – but the memory this brings back is brilliant.

We’d just driven up the Transfagaren Pass in Romania. A pin-head ridden swerve of roads leading to one of the best viewpoints in Europe. Having wild camped the previous night, our first on the trip, getting to the bottom on the other side to find this incredible waterfall gave us a boost to the day and helped us freshen up for the Mongol Rally Vema Veche evening party!

Argument Valley

I’m not actually sure where this was taken, but I know when! I’d just asked George if we could stop to take a picture – and he said we didn’t have enough time and I was taking too many! It was a blow of crossed words after some slightly intense days – but no harm done. However, at the time, I was furious! We pulled up to a police check-point where I threw our three passports at George and insisted it was his turn to undergo the bullshit formalities. As he stormed out, I snook out the other side of the car and ran 100 metres to this incredible spot.

Man

Chugging through the beginnings of Kazakhstan goats surrounded the road, often crossing to reach fresh pastures. Shepherds wandered the plains protecting their flock, pausing for a photograph when eager tourists fronted them with protruding lenses. That would be me!

Saturday Shop

Kyrgyzstan you really were a suprise! Another shot from a country we thought would be merely a corridor north.

The local bizarre in this small town (no idea the name) was made up of old shipping containers, lined up with their unhinged doors swinging into the gangway. Here, a mother and her daughter set out on their weekly shop.

Trucker Selfie

Iran – it was 43 degrees and the driving was BORING. Me and George stopped to fly our kite, quickly breaking the line spoiling our fun. A truck pulled up behind us. Out jumped two men pointing to their phones – and so the selfies began!

Escape from the Pamirs

In Tajikistan we spent the night beside a huge lake, formed 10 million years ago by a monster meteorite. A small farm sat just 50 metres from the waters edge where, inside the warm of muddy walls, a lady cooked noodles and tended to her family. We spent the night here, out of the freezing temperatures of the night of the relative comport of a thick carpetted floor.

Waiting for dad

A small boy sits patiently beside Mongolia’s Ghengis Kahn statue. His dad had been selling pictures with their eagle all day (not something I particularly agree with) and was counting out his earnings. A horse stands mindlessly in the background, waiting for his master.

View the full gallery

You can view all of our pictures as well as being able to purchase prints by going to: https://jonnyhale.smugmug.com/Mongol-Rally-2017/