Blogs from Tajikistan, Asia

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Asia » Tajikistan » Dushanbe July 22nd 2014

DUSHANBE TUESDAY 22.7.14 I must have been tired when posting yesterday, the relevant date was 21.7.14. Today I flew to Dushanbe. Was told I would be collected at 11 am, but driver arrived 8.50 am saying we must be at airport by 9 am to catch flight., so HURRY. A Bad Start. So quickly changed clothes, finished packing and arrived airport 9.05. As it turned out no aircraft there and in fact finally departed at 10.50. No explanation for wrong instructions, USD 10 + USD 160 for ticket please. Was this to be today's story? Got up at 5.30 to pack truck with bike and tent bag. Chatted to arriving riders ready for meeting and departure. Beautiful mild morning. Most wanted another rest day as Khorog had been a good camping spot. Today's ride up and ... read more
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Asia » Tajikistan » Khorog July 21st 2014

KHOROG. MONDAY 21.5.14 At last I can report a positive day! I slept until 7.30, then woke with concern that I had missed breakfast, which would have been a major disappointment as it was delicious, the best yet. Later, I decided to go downtown with one of the new riders from Kashgar, Robin, a pleasant overly clever woman of mid 30's. The Tuk Tuk style van to travel 5 Kms was 3 Som, about 60 cents total. I could get used to these expenses. The road borders the river separating Afghanistan, this northern view looks quite interesting. Saw plenty of walled villas, and couldn't help but wonder who lurks behind them! Arrived in town on market day, standard country market. Got an interesting photo of a policeman and his hat, who was happy to pose, as ... read more
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Asia » Tajikistan » Dushanbe July 20th 2014

Dushanbe – the capital of Tajikistan for those who haven’t devoted their recent leisure time to scrutinising maps of Central Asia – is a city that doesn’t let you in easily. It doesn’t readily open its arms to receive the stranger. There’s no tacit “Hey, come over here! This is where it’s at!”. It’s not that it’s at all unwelcoming to the visitor; it’s just too busy having its own life to stop and accommodate yours. Or such has been my impression after three days here. Not the longest period of time, I’d be the first to admit, particularly when I’ve struggled to wake much before midday, recovering from the challenges of the last few months and replenishing the batteries for the adventure that lies ahead. But even so. Maybe it’s the language – and alphabet ... read more
home, sweet home...when we eventually found it!
squirrel heaven...
not quite your local Starbucks

Asia » Tajikistan » Khorog July 20th 2014

CHINA BORDERLANDS. DAY 1, WEDNESDAY 9.7.14 Distance: 54 Kms SubT. 4,900 Kms Bal 7,525 Kms Road Condition: generally highway. Weather: mild temp. Cooler start then. Hot in afternoon. Time in Saddle: 2 hrs Av Speed: av. 27 kph. Elevation: 700 m : Decent little M Calories burned : 2800 36 cycling days. DAILY AVERAGE 132. 45 Kms. Today we officially left China. Bused to lunch as we only had 2 hours to get through immigration 11-1. So TL thought best to bus to lunch then ride to immigration then on to campsite. At immigration had to unload vehicles off truck to go through an unwatched scanner then load them back onto bus. Seemingly solely a bureaucratic function. All went smoothly and now officially out of China, however border gate is still 140kms west. We pass through ... read more
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Asia » Tajikistan » Murgab November 4th 2013

PAMIR x 2! THE RETURN! Riding on the Pamir Highway from Alichur, Tajikistan, to Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan. To make it short for those of you who don’t want to read the whole thing... I ended up riding on the Pamir Highway again, this time with a nice tail wind (except the last day to the border) and as you can imagine, it was fantastic, with blue sky, snow capped-mountains, clear streams, turquoise lakes, peaceful camping at high altitude and serenity all over! Loved the Pamir! I had been riding with Sacha (young man from Geneva) through the Wakhan Corridor and the area around Bulunkul for 6 days when we reached Alichur. Sacha’s friends were waiting for us in a yurt outside town. When we got there, the 2 girls (Maria and Manon, both from Switzerland) informed ... read more
highest point on the Pamir Highway
:-)
hello Karakul!

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Asia » Tajikistan » Murgab November 1st 2013

Cycling around Bulunkul, in the Pamirs. The area around Bulunkul is one of the loveliest in the Pamir area. Most tourists call it the Lake Area. After 5 tough days on the Wakhan Valley with Sacha, we decided to cycle the loop within a day and made it but, once again in the Pamir, it was very challenging! We expected the 35km to be smooth and easy but it was all up and down with extremely sharp up hills in sand or gravel. We were kind of lucky because it didn’t rain or it wasn’t foggy in the morning, but unfortunately no blue sky, which would have completely enhanced the colors of the lakes. Next time? The best thing about the Bulunkul Lake Area was that we were absolutely alone. After stopping for tea, bread and ... read more
exploring, enjoying, relaxing
what can you see?
pretty cool, no?

Asia » Tajikistan » Khorog October 29th 2013

Before I enlighten you about my wedding propositions I wish to wind back a few weeks to my time in Uzbekistan, where I last updated you on my cycling adventure. Leaving Khiva behind I cycled east to the famous city of Bukhara. It was here that two British Army Officers Stoddart and Conolly were beheaded in the Emir's Ark during the 1800s. British and Russian Army Officers sent out to explore the routes traversing Central Asia including the Khyber pass etc affectionately called this spying "The Great Game". The author Peter Hopkirk writes a fascinating book about the subject, where Britain and Russia competed against one another for commercial trade and Central Asia effectively became the buffer zone between the 2 powers with Russia to the north and Britain as part of the East India Company ... read more
Camping in the desert
At Madina's Hostel in Bukhara
Bukhara Ark

Asia » Tajikistan »  Ishkashim October 29th 2013

After 10 wonderful days on the plateau at 4500m of altitude, getting back into town at Khorog was very difficult. I couldn’t stand the noise, the traffic, the dust (you’d think I’d be used to such things after 7 years in China!), and the owners of the guesthouse I stayed at really irritated me. My initial plan was to go on to Dushanbe but the cyclists I met, those who had ridden from the capital city told me the road was extremely bad and bumpy, with a lot of trucks, and at the time (August) the temperatures went up above 40degrees… At the same time everyone was talking about the Wakhan Corridor, which is a dirt road following the Afghan border for 300km. Everyone warned me that the road was bad with sand, bumps, holes, gravel ... read more
I love my life!
La vraie vie!
We couldn't get any closer to the river

Asia » Tajikistan » Murgab October 25th 2013

THE PAMIR HIGHWAY IN TAJIKISTAN Bienvenue au Tajikistan! (Francais en bas de la page) The second-highest altitude international highway in the world (4,655 m). THE PHYSICAL CHALLENGE: From Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan, I climbed up to 4285m of altitude to reach the Tajik border. It was very tough. Of course I was on a dirt road, alone, and carrying heavy bags (more than 50kg) with 7 liters of water (too much since I realized I could drink the water from streams coming down from the surrounding snow-capped mountains). I had to stop every minute or so to catch my breath. I didn’t have any headache but it took me a long time to get to the summit. Many people had told me that once on the top, on the plateau, riding on Pamir Highway would be easy. ... read more
Hey!
:-)
hello Pamir!

Asia » Tajikistan » Murgab June 7th 2013

The differences could not have been more stark. There are two towns within five kilometres of each other both called Ishkashim. The one in Afghanistan was dry, dusty with unpaved streets, ramshackled buildings, irregular electricity supply and the streets dominated by ambling men. In contrast, the paved roads of Ishkashim in Tajikistan were lined were elegant, tall poplar trees, neat buildings, and smartly dressed men and women were seen in numbers. The only similarity was the desire of residents to know about the Ishkashim on the other side of the border. It felt good to be back in Tajikistan. The next morning my driver, Mendibay, one of the many Kyrgyz living in the Pamir Mountains (the Pamirs), arrived at the guest house sporting metal caps on his teeth often found in the region. His Mitsubishi Pajero ... read more
Man of Murgab - Tajikistan
Trekking in the Pamirs - near Rang-kul, Tajikistan
Me admiring Yamchun Fort - Tajikistan




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