The Best Episodes of Long Way Round
Last Updated: May 9, 2019
Setting off from London, Ewan and Charley travel through some of the most beautiful, but often dangerous, terrain the world has to offer. Crossing over into mainland Europe, they travelled through France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada and three months later they arrived at their final destination, New York City USA!
#1 - Anchorage to New York
Season 1 - Episode 7
Ewan and Charley take in the wildlife in Alaska then head across the border into Canada and ride into the Yukon region. They meet the Firefighters tackling forest fires and a Welshman who takes them up in his aeroplane to view a glacier. After a visit to Calgary Funfair, Ewan is almost injured when a reckless driver causes a near fatal accident The duo reach America and stop at a Harley-Davidson factory in Illinois. They drop in to meet the guys from OCC, and spend the night reflecting in a hotel before the final day. They are greeted with a triumphant arrival in NYC leading a convey of bikers.
#2 - Yakutsk to Magadan (the Road of Bones)
Season 1 - Episode 6
The boys are battling against the remote, hostile and marshy Siberian conditions, and lack of food plus impenetrable rivers and collapsed bridges. Their fighting spirit takes over and Ewan and Charley determine to make up for the lost time.
#3 - London to Volgograd
Season 1 - Episode 2
Ewan and Charley are finally on the road, all happy and excited to be there. First stop Prague. Ewan and Charley enjoy playing the tourist: having a caricature done, seeing the sights and visiting the Church of Bones at Kutna Hora (both in disbelief as to what it's made of). After stopping in a fairy-tale town, Ewan and Charley head for the border into Slovakia and their rendezvous with the support team. Trouble arises in the form of forgetting to get the carnet signed at the last border. The difficulty causes tempers to flare and Charley and Russ have their first tiff. 'Negotiations' with the border guards finally grants them passage. Once in Slovakia, Charley and Ewan admire the landscape and stop to visit a castle in Bojnice which they end up getting thrown out of. Just before the border out of Slovakia and into Ukraine, the guys are warned by a local about 'grossa mafia' in Ukraine. Arrival at the border yields problems as according to the officials originals of the vehicle ownership documents are essential (their photocopies won't do). The situation becomes a nightmare as Ewan, Charley and the crew are forced to wait for more than 12 hours at the side of the road with only the use of the filthiest and smelliest bathroom in the world. At around 2am they are eventually let through. Exhausted, they accept the invitation of a hotelier they met during the crossing delay. Deep in the woods they arrive at the expensive and gaudy-looking Kamelot hotel, and are immediately suspicious but uncertain as to whether they should be alarmed. Next morning they realise that the hotelier was really just a nice guy who wanted to help them. On their bikes again, Ewan and Charley comment on how different culturally and yet so close geographically Ukraine is; like 'stepping back in time'. Unexpectedly they find themselves at in internal border (checkpoint) where Ewan kills the time by connecting with an old woman. Later in his video diary we learn how profound an effect their meeting had on him. They are now racing to Kiev desperate to keep their 3pm appointment with UNICEF. They are pulled over for speeding but the policeman just wanted to talk about football with them. Once in Kiev, Ewan and Charley visit UNICEF's project with the children of Chernobyl. The visit reveals the importance of the charity's role in the trip (i.e. that it's more than just a vanity project). A wander round the festive streets and their visit to Kiev is rounded off by sampling the famous Chicken Kiev. High drama takes place at a petrol station when Charley accidentally sprays Ewan in the eyes with petrol, though in discomfort Ewan manages to crack a joke about it. David raises the grave point that if Ewan's eyes are damaged the trip may have to be cancelled. A full eye exam declares that luckily Ewan is not seriously injured. On the map the guys judge how far they've come and have to go. They agree it feels like they've covered a lot of ground but it's not actually that far relative to the trip as a whole. There remains a "ribbon of tarmac" stretching out in front of them for miles and miles. Meeting some 'well-dressed' (mafia) men in a small town, Charley and Ewan are persuaded to come and stay overnight. Contrary to their expectations (small, poor Ukrainian town) their hosts' house is huge and very modern! Owner Igor relates his life story including how he is now an electronics salesman. A nice dinner together is rounded off by Igor dramatically descending the stairs with a guitar and a Kalashnikov in his hands. Cue nervous laughter when the gun is revealed as unloaded. Backed by Igor strumming and singing a traditional Ukrainian song, we see a montage of Ewan realising there are guns all over the house (and that maybe Igor doesn't sell electronics) and Charley standing with a dinner guest firing into the air outside. Ewan sings a U2 song in return. Next day the guys are taken to visit a coal mine, Ewan jokes about why they might want to take them down underground. A kilometre down, they see old-fashioned mining methods and working conditions. Feeling overwhelmed at the events of the last 24 hours, back above ground Ewan is itching to get on the road again but first has to deal with the townswomen wanting their photo taken with movie star Ewan and his bike. Igor's call to the border into Russia ensures that this time they ride right through. A short hop into Russia and they are on board a ferry heading for Kazakhstan and starting, Ewan's declared 'phase two' of the journey. David comments how things are going to get much harder from here on in; Ewan and Charley agree that what they've been talking about for months "is just around the corner."
#4 - Kazakhstan
Season 1 - Episode 3
Ewan and Charley are on the road to Kazakhstan. They notice how both the terrain and people have changed. At the border they are met by a welcoming committee. Almost immediately they encounter the horrible roads they've been dreading. Claudio (the cameraman) falls first. Later Ewan admits to being scared about falling off and nervous about the bad roads. The second greatest problem for Ewan and Charley are the constant police escorts: the last thing they want, they are quickly growing very tired of them. Another welcoming committee which although the guys appreciate, they want to be unfettered in their journey. A light moment filming a herd of giant woolly camels quickly turns heavy. A very rattled looking Ewan and Charley tell how a man in a car just pointed a gun at them. Another police escort takes the guys to a roadside turnout filled with more police cars and television cameras. Ewan is confused and upset. A policeman offers his house as a rest spot. Ewan is exhausted and happy to sleep on anything. Ewan and Charley see themselves on the local TV news and realise it's impossible to fully blend in. A light-hearted moment before bed ends a long and arduous day. Another police escort delivers them into a full-blown media event. Charley voices how bad he feels for Ewan. They state they don't need any more police escorts. Free for the first time, Ewan and Charley drive to their first night camp. Ewan is giddy at the prospect while Charley is a reluctant camper. They wonder what else is to come. In great spirits, Ewan and Charley have a great visit to a UNICEF project: a school with an indoor-climbing wall for kids. More terrible roads: Ewan talks about wobbling all over and Charley, the experienced off-roader says they are the worst roads he's ever seen. On cue we see the guys struggling with their bikes in the sand. At their second camp Ewan reveals a bug bite on his forehead and explains how being scared of failing on the bike has exhausted him. Ewan is very down. Charley shares some of the same concerns. En route to the Aral Sea there is some respite in the form of tarmac. Ewan's forehead starts to swell in reaction to the bug bite. Bad luck strikes: Ewan gets petrol in his eyes again and in his ear. In his most revealing video diary we see his swollen face and frustration at having spent 15 minutes talking to his video camera with pause on. The guys reach a beautiful 14th century mausoleum. Ewan can't recall all the details of its story and notes he is now just riding along and meeting the people he meets. At a lavish luncheon for them - Ewan warns Charley that at these banquets horse penis is often served; lots of jokes follow about a suspect sausage. Ewan and Charley attend a 'goat polo' match and watch a traditional game of horseback kiss-chase. Ewan and Charley race each other on horseback. In need of pampering, Ewan and Charley go to a traditional Kazakh spa (bathhouse). The massage they receive involves a brutal beating and rubdown, through which the guys moan and grunt their way. The ever-present police are actually a help when they point out the road to a canyon the guys want see. The road back up out of it is almost impassable. After the canyon they bizarrely see piles of snow by the road despite the 105 degree temperature! Ewan and Charley go to a gold mine, a site they always planned on visiting. In typical Charley fashion he nicks a piece of gold-filled rock. A quick montage reveals the guys arriving at the Singing Dunes. Met by another police escort, they are too tired to resist this time and follow them into town. As it's their last night in Kazakhstan Ewan and Charley give in and enjoy a loosely organised show by local singers. They are invited home by a policeman and his wife and follow them back to their house. Ewan explains how he used to feel quite nervous but now it's quite normal to go back to strangers' houses for a meal and the possibility of staying the night. Confusion at the house; no-one knows what's going on. Exhausted and smelly the guys try out the banya (traditional sauna). Their hosts lay on an amazing spread of food and Ewan bravely samples the local speciality- boiled goat's head. In diary camera bites, Ewan notes how beautiful the people of Kazakhstan are for wanting to know about them and wanting to share themselves with the guys. In a touching farewell moment, Ewan finally understands the police escorts cannot be blamed as they were only doing what they'd been told. At a roadside café Charley successfully orders their last Kazakh meal using a picture book of food. Ewan is very sad to leave this beautiful country but excited to get into Mongolia. Charley is amazed they've driven half way round the continent on their bikes!
#5 - Preparation
Season 1 - Episode 1
Meet Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor. The pair met on the set of 'The Serpent's Kiss' and have since forged a firm and lasting friendship. Now meet their dream: to ride their motorbikes around the world. Ewan and Charley start mapping out their route, talking through the countries that will make up their 'Long Way Round' the world.
#6 - Barnaul to Western Mongolia
Season 1 - Episode 4
Before Ewan and Charley enter Mongolia, they have a small portion of Russia they must travel through first. They are thrilled to be on decent roads again, and make good time driving to Barnaul, a rather large Westernized city. Ewan and Charley are taken by surprise by the stunning gorgeous Altai region they find themselves in. There are literally no roads in Mongolia as we know them. Instead, the guys must follow tracks marked in the earth by trucks.
#7 - Western Mongolia to Yakutsk
Season 1 - Episode 5
Pushing on despite many setbacks, Ewan and Charley immerse themselves in the rich culture and their spirits are lifted by the beauty and kindness of the people of Mongolia. They know that the Road of Bones in Siberia (built by Stalin's prisoners) lies ahead and will surely test them further.