Met three Poles on bikes heading same way. Across the grass lands on M41. Gentle climb gradually steeper and steeper to last stretch. Had to push last km. Tajik border post much rougher than Kyrgyz – guards and surroundings.
View down from Tajik border amazing. V windy. Took time to cook weird grain with mushrooms. Tied tent down with big rocks. After years living in Shanghai, it feels amazing to actually see stars in the sky.
250m climb seemed like much more. Finally reached the top and had great view on K lake. Looking forward to lunch in the town but bumped into first cyclists – 60yr old couple from England. Been cycling since Nov.
Lunch was rank cabbage soup. Rip off at 30 somoni (£4/5€) for both but ate lots of bread with cherry jam and took 4 loaves of bread away with us. Both v tired so stopped 17km after lunch. Lay down for 1hr before dinner.
Karakul to almost Murghab 90km
Beautiful camp spot, woke to sunrise over the mountain.
Started to climb up to biggest ascent of expedition. Dreadful road bumps. Hard going but felt good. Reached 4656m summit around 4pm and sent a message to our families to share the moment. Decided to head for Murghab .
Amazing valley, sunset, green river banks and mountains all around.
Met Ukranian guy as it turned dark who was going for the Kyrgyz border tonight! Nutter.
Set up camp and ate in dark after deciding Murghab was too far. 88km and another incredible day.
Matthieu wakes up with a nasty eye infection. Never thought the eye drops in our medical kit would actually come handy… Merci Papa! Easy 25km downhill. Met one French, one Dutch and one Slovenian cyclists. Very friendly and gave good rec of Pamir Hotel – had a shower so we were sold after 6 days without. Good info on Tajik – Uzbek border being closed on our preferred route.
Wandered into “town” which was small collection of houses and Soviet monuments. All a bit eery. Finally found the bazaar which was a collection of lorry containers converted into shops. All a bit shit and depressing but bought some Bounty bars, flavoring for water and nail clippers so it served its purpose. Went back to hotel, Matthieu needed to fix his back tire which kept slow puncturing while Oli fixed up six inner tubes.
Ate another excellent dinner of cabbage soup, salad and potato-mutton combo.
Watched Idiot Abroad on iPad – first tv for a while.
Great sleep. Filling breakfast of salty porridge and pancakes with jam, and black tea.
Set off around 10.30am after paying up and collecting a packed lunch of the potato dish. Beautiful stretch of grassland with horses spoiled by swarm of horseflies and wasps following the bikes! They only left once we went up the hill and away from the river but knackered us trying to run away from them up a very steep incline. Felt like the Idiots Abroad.
Did not fill up water in town as there is abundance of mountain streams but took a while for us to find a decent one. All ascent, wanted to eat next to stream so we could wash the pans from two days ago but everything was dry. Ended up eating potatoes off nan bread with chop sticks. Dessert of snickers was a disaster as the chocolate had at some stage of its long life been doused in petrol.
Thankfully landscape still awesome, now a little like the lake district. Found great camp site on side of hill on the grass.