Today, the 2009 Caucasian Challenge kicked off in Budapest, embarking on a 7,000 kilometer, 2 week journey that is taking 37 participants from at least 5 different countries to Yerevan, Armenia via the known and unknown roads of Eastern Europe. As a “drive anything” rally, vehicles in the event include everything from an ex-Bundeswehr military Unimog converted into a comfy mobile home to modern 4WD off road vehicles. A unique addition to the event is the Kübelwagen, Volkwagen’s military vehicle. As it is a CEMS event, the 7,000 kilometer adventure will be just as much about getting there as it will be about the challenges and charity efforts along the way.
Between the possible mine fields and the advanced geocaching projects that the participants and organizers are hyped up to do, the Caucasian Challenge also offers a more serene, scenic experience as it will travel the high peaks of the Greater Caucasus and the breathtaking canyons of the Lesser Caucasus. The route (which passes through Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia) has been changed from last year’s, offering more off road experiences and thus, more unique and “untouched” landscapes and scenery. Attila, the lead organizer of the Caucasian Challenge, says it will be an event of “more gravel roads, more camping, more navigational challenges, and more adventure.”
Like most CEMS events, these are different kinds of tours for different kinds of tourists. It’s not just about viewing a particular area, but also about exploring it to an intense extent, and part of that exploration comes in the form of charity initiatives. For this year’s Caucasian Challenge, participants will be visiting and supporting the waif children’s home in Stepanakert, a home for abandoned children of the area. By working with the director of the children’s home along with a representative of a local NGO, a list of items has been produced for the participants that include a variety of needed and wanted goods for the home and for the children. Fundamentally, the goal is to leave a positive impact, to make the daily lives of these children easier, more enjoyable, and filled with more opportunity.
Stay tuned to the CEMS blog for more information about the Caucasian Challenge and its progress and check with the Caucasian Challenge blog as well for frequent updates.
Good luck, participants!