In 1988, before the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gunther Holtorf and his wife Christine left for a trip lasting 26 years through 177 countries and 550 thousands miles  (885.139 km). The initial plan would expect”only” 18 months outside of Germany. The idea was to visit the African countryside with their Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen (renamed “Otto” by the couple), but that year and a half ended up turning into a proper pilgrimage suspended only for short rest breaks. Without any type of sponsors, ads or clamour that such a journey would cause today, the couple travelled merely for amusement purposes, determined to explore most of the world.

Beyond two decades and a lustrum, Gunther and Christin lived within and without their car, driving through indescribable situations across six continents. “Otto” took them to extraordinary places such as the Sahara Sand Dunes, rural villages in Kenya, around Paris streets, around the ancient Buddhist temples in China, throughout war zones in Iraq to an even banished to foreigners country such as North Korea.

At night the couple would sleep either on the hammock or inside the car, whereas for the meals they would make use of a little gas stove. The shower was replaced by a bottle of water hooked to the wagon and the luxury of a modern house forgotten back home. Gunther declared: “The more you travel, the more you realise how little you have seen. And the more you experience the more you want to continue living”.

Source: website Daimler

Christine died in 2010 but Gunther continued his travelling on her behalf as well. He kept a picture of his deceased wife on his rearview mirror all along his lone trip. The long trip of this 76 years old man has recently terminated and Gunther has decided to come back to his home in Berlin.

Otto, his loyal car that never broke down, not even on the most challenging roads, is going to be exhibited in the Museum of Stuttgart. “When people congratulate me I explain that it’s Otto that deserves them; its stability and reliability are amazing”.

Below: in Africa

Below: 500,000 Miles

Below: in Berlin

Below: in the Gobi Desert

Below: in Mongolia

Below: unspecified African village

Below: Greece

Below: amongst trucks transporting straw

Below: in Indonesia

Below: Otto during the loading process

Below: in front of the Giza Pyramid

The story of Otto, Gunther and Christine

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Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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