Saturday, 13 September 2014

Cycling through Clouds in Central Asia: Climbing to 3600 Meter; Today: 70 km; Total: 863 km

May 19, 2014

We left our beautiful camping spot at 8:20. The weather was fine, but later it started raining, so we had our rain gear on when cycling--not fun.

Pangs of hunger kept distracting me because I had only a coffee and some bread for breakfast. We stopped at a village and bought some eggs, but we couldnt find any bread. The shopkeeper, a nice lady, made some calls and asked someone to bring us some bread, for free. How nice of her! We then had a good breakfast: six eggs.

We were gaining altitude, so it got colder and colder. At about 3 o'clock, we reached  3500 meters where there was a statue of "the goat",  the statue I had been dreaming to see for some years. This statue, and statues alike, are placed in the highest mountain passes in Tajikistan. I was so excited to finally cycle to one of them. We took a moment to take pictures, but all of a sudden, it started hailing. It got really cold. I could not wear my warm clothes because they were at the bottom of my pannier. I did not want to stop in that weather and dig my clothes out. I would have snow and hail in my panniers, so I rode along. My hands were numb with cold. It was not fun at all.

After half hour or so, when we were still climbing, we got to a very ugly village. No trees, no farms, just very ugly houses. We had to stop there, so we asked a couple of guys where we could stay for the night and if there was a shop in the village. The guys took us to the shop. Like many shops in Pamir, the shop was a small room with a pile of stuff here and there. On the shelf, you could see expired cans of food. There was a freezer in the corner with some chicken legs in it. We bought two chicken legs and some potatoes.  One of the guys offered us his house for some money. We checked his house which was very close to the hot spring. It was OK. He asked for 50 Somoni for both of us. It was cold and miserable. My hands were frozen, so we decided to stay.

In the house, his sister also lives. She is a Russian teacher in the village. The guy, himself, works in Moscow two years and takes a two-month break. What a life! Of course, I don't blame them. In this village there is nothing to do. There is a hot spring, that's it, that's all. 

The Pass: 3600 meters

The Goat and the Scene

These men load trucks with boulders; that's their job. The Balaclava is their UV protection.

The Way to the Pass

Clouds Closing in on the Way Down

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