The ninth largest country of the world welcomes us unpretentiously. Located somewhere in the mountains we find two cabins, everything seems very familiarly – we get the impression that all
the other passerbys and border officials know each other. Very comfortable. After a while we finished immigration and roll towards the next city. Here we meet a French couple on the way to
Kyrgyzstan, we exchange our remaining money, Sim cards and information. Unfortunately we have to go separate ways soon. We stock up our food supplies and quickly disappear towards the
steppe. The asphalt roads feel great and we are quite fast. While the gigantic country consists mainly of steppe and desert, the short stretch to China leads us through its mountainous south
east, which is probably the most exciting part of the country.
A close view on the map promises almost no flat kilometer for the next 350 km, the whole way will be uphill and downhill. We have to climb 3 times to more than 3000m above sea level, just to
roll down below 1500 again. For the last pass we climb 1600m to a total of 3400m above sea level at our next destination, the Sonkul lake. There are almost no villages during the whole way,
but lots of fresh water springs. The first cyclist we meet destroys our hope for a paved road, it is only gravel in different qualities. We cannot exactly say we look forward to this, but as
usual on the worst roads the nature rewards the effort.
We glance out of our tent into the dark night – and in the lightbeam of our torches discover a river flowing on the right side of our tent. If you don’t know how we got here, read our last blog article. While we still consider what to do, another stream evokes on the left side of
the tent. Impressive how the water masses rise, how the dry desert transforms into a broad, meandering river. As fast as possible we fetch all our stuff and move on top of the dam. In the
morning all the water is gone, having left behind just a thin layer of ice.
As usual during the last weeks the sun functions as our alarm clock in the morning. During the nights we still have to endure sub-zero temperatures, but the sun helps to warm up. Short after
we got up we exchange our down jackets to shirts and when we open our tent we dive into that magic world made of grey and stones. In the mornings our legs feel as if they already had done a
long day cycling, instead of it laying ahead. We feel how empty our batteries are after those exhausting weeks in the Pamir mountains. Our shoulders hurt all the time and cry for some days
After the exertion during the last kilometres we go for wellness time for us. If we came straight from Germany and had to go shopping here, we probably would be horrified by the lack of
diverse products in the shops. Compared to the last days we are in a Cockaigne: Indian food, Italian food, Burgers, chips, ... Besides we hunt down soeme new patches, after a long search we
find huge ones normally used for car tires – as long as they might work – ok. The last point on our ToDo list is the choice of our route. After we discussed advantages and disadvantages of
the 4 options, we nail it down to two. As we can’t find good reasons for the decision, we let matches decide. The winner is: The Bartang valley. That means for us we have to take lots of food
with us, as it will get lonely, remote and bumpy.