20.000 kilometers of Service

Driving across Europe and Asia for End Polio Now.

Hello dear, I am Giovanni Cappa, Rotaractor form the Club Rotaract Pavia. This year me and my friend Ron Ruzga took part to the mighty “Mongol Rally”.
What is the Mongol Rally? It is charity race with two simple rules: 1) drive it with a old, rusty car; 2) raise at least £ 1.000,00 for charity. Over than 300 old cars drives across Europe and Asia fo charity. Among the projects we decided to raise funds for there is End Polio Now, the most important service carried on by the Rotary International. For this expedition we choose the ultimate Italian car: an old, tiny Fiat Panda.

6 months of intense preparation preceded the rally: pimping our shiny ride, learning the basics of mechanics in order to face by ourselves unexpected technical problems in the middle of nowhere and finally dealing with the crazy paperwork to obtain all the visas for the countries we would have driven through.

On 16th July our odyssey started in southern England; as soon as our ferry docked in Dunkirk we drove south, crossing all Europe; after a week we reached the ancient ruins of Troy and Ephesus in Turkey, we flew at sunrise on a hot-air balloon over the stunning rocky towers of Cappadocia and a we bathed in the mesmerizing white mineral pools of Pamukkale. After a taste of the insane dictatorship of Turkmenistan we begun the historical Silk Road which entertained us with its gorgeous Islamic buildings, the chaotic markets and some shipwrecks in the middle of the desert. Our Panda incredibly managed also to reach the altitude of 4655 meters above sea level along the terrifying Pamir highway. A couple of countries later we arrived in Mongolia, a wild land stranded in the past: desolate plains, nomads and horses. Roads here are non-existent and it takes hours to meet a living being. 45 days, 19 countries and 12 breakdowns is what it took to reach the finish line in Ulan-Udè, Siberia.

This was probably the most intense experience of our lives: in the Middle East and all over Asia you can find the warmest hospitality in the world, almost every day we were offered a tea, a meal or a place to sleep. The landscapes were unique, we find really hard to answer to the question “what’s your favorite place you guys have been?”. This was the journey of a lifetime.

Our service is not over yet: we want to collect even more funds for End Polio Now in two events we will organize in the upcoming months where we will show the documentary of our trip and
share the unbelievable stories this adventure has left us.

At the moment we raise € 280,00 for End Polio Now, but we want to collect more with the event above, and also € 280,00 for Italian Red Cross.

More info about the trip, pics etc. are available on our Facebook Page. Our project and info about the itinerary is also available on the Rotary Showcase on Rotary.org.