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Published: August 27th 2015
This blog comes in three parts ...
Khorog to Yamchun
We woke up in Khorog planning to set off after giving the car a service. It ended up taking longer than expected to tinker with the car so we left around midday. The drive was amazing, the roads were surprisingly good too. We managed to make good progress until we turned a corner only to find a lorry on it's side blocking the whole road.
We were thinking of what to do because if we couldn't pass the only option was to wait for the lorry to be moved (could take days) or turn back. When we arrived a big 4x4 was struggling to drive up a verge onto the neighbouring farmers field in an attempt to drive round the lorry. Our chances of getting up didn't look good, and the locals were waiting for us to give it a go with grins on their faces. Four wheel drive mode was engaged for the first time and the car flew up first time! Who needs a big wannabe 4x4?
The rest of the day was spent driving further into the Wakhan corridor. We ended up in a
small place called Yamchun, famous for having a 12th century fortress and some natural hot baths, both attractions we hope to see tomorrow. We've found a cheap hostel next to the baths so we can pop over there when it opens tomorrow morning.
Yamchun to Alichur
What a day! We started off with a hot bath in the Bibi Fatima hot springs which set us up perfectly for the day ahead. Despite a shaky start to the car, we managed to set off relatively early and stopped off at the Yamchun fort just down the road. The views from which we're incredible. Dating back to the 12th century, what was left of the fort looked out on the whole valley with snow capped peaks on the horizon.
Then we set about a day of very scenic driving. The roads were questionable at times, but the car managed everything that Tajikistan could throw at it. 4 wheel drive mode was required at certain points when the roads were at their sandiest, but nothing can stop this beast! The views kept us entertained on the drive and we even managed to spot a scattering of marmots in the mountain
A few uneventful army/police checkpoints later we joined the Pamir highway and found a place to stay, and what a place! We've just eaten our bread, yak butter, yak yoghurt and berries meal and we're about to head off to sleep in our personal yurt. We pulled up to a yurt by the side of the road and asked if they knew of any place we could sleep for the night. Immediately we were taken into one of their two yurts and given a hearty meal. The kind host keeps coming in and topping up the wood stove (much required! It's freezing outside) and bringing us more tea and bread, even if we try and refuse.
Possibly the highlight of the evening was when the host gave us each some water to wash our hands with, to which Joss proceeded to drink! Had us all in tears!
The sky outside is amazing with more stars than you've ever seen and the odd shooting star. Sometime since we entered the yurt quite a few yaks seem to have gathered around, making quite the authentic scene outside.
We'll start the journey back to Khorog tomorrow, possibly taking
a few detours if we make good progress.
Alichur to Khorog
After a freezing night in the yurt under layers of blankets we woke to a breakfast of more yak themed food. In fact all the same food we'd been offered the night before but with the addition of yak rice pudding ... Which was incredible.
We parted with a few gifts and said goodbye to the family who had been so kind to us. The roads initially were good until we decided to take a "short" detour to see a lake and a geyser. This detour took us to what seemed to be the most remote part of Tajikistan. The geyser was disappointing (pipe coming out of the ground with the odd bubble) and the lake did not make up for the roads that we had to drive in order to see it. Not to worry though, we were soon back on the Pamir highway and heading back to Khorog.
We had been informed that the Pamir highway was closed due to flooding so we were planning on taking a slight detour to avoid this. It turned out though that the road had just been
reopened so we could take the Pamir after all! Saving us a lot of time!
We got back to Khorog safe and sound and are now beginning the process of getting flights home and sorting out how to legally donate the car to the school. Hopefully we'll be there on Friday to meet them and see the car's new home.
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