Day 21: Samara – Saratov ( 435 km )

Three words to describe today: hot, hot, hot! The temperature seemed to drastically increase reaching the high 30s, which inside the black car felt even warmer. Our cooling system which consists solely of lowering the windows did not help to prevent us from slowly baking.
Although it was wonderful to experience the real Russia by driving though the countryside and the small villages, the scenery has been getting slightly monotonous. Whereas in Mongolia we would drive through sand one day and grass fields the next, it is fair to say that we have not experienced the same diversity here. However the Russian people with their enthusiasm and friendliness has really made this part of the route stand out. Often when cars went to be fixed in local garages, the mechanics would be up all night helping them and in the end not charge anything.
In order to get to our hotel in Saratov we had to cross the Volga which was over 2 km wide. Whilst driving over the bridge we saw that one of the islands had been turned into a beach where many people were relaxing and trying to cool down.
Fortunately we did not have any mechanical issues today, but because of the heat over 20 cars broke down, which is more than on an average day in Mongolia!

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