Day 44 Into Kyrgyzstan

11 Jul

Day 44 Into Kyrgyzstan, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

Up early and it’s a cold day at 12000 feet. Even colder when we’re soon up to 15300 feet for the highest point of the trip at the top of the Pamir highway. Downhill all the way from here, and we are both elated at reaching such a milestone. After a while a fence appears alongside the road, continuing for mile after mile. Eventually i glance down at the map and it dawns on me that it’s the border with China. It’s a unique feeling to suddenly realise that you’ve ridden your bike all the way to China, or at least a stone’s throw from it, which we prove by chucking a small piece of Tajikistan over the fence. Lake Karakol is pretty in a wild sort of way, but not very attractive for camping so we decide to make a run for the border. We stop for lunch first and out of nowhere 3 british bikes and a landrover arrive. It’s Tim and co, who have already been through Mongolia and are heading home the way we’ve just come. For the second day in a row we’ve seen nothing on the road all day except british bikers. The road from the lake onwards gets very rough and is slow going. Fortunately the border crossing is fast. It must be the most remote border post in the world, 13000 feet high, miles from anywhere. The border guards give us hot chai and we sit on their bed while they copy our passport details. There are 4 postcards from england on the wall so i add to their collection with one of the harrogate postcards i brought with me. The guard seems very pleased, and it amazes me to think that for years to come there will be a postcard of harrogate on the wall of a guard hut in Tajikistan that i carried there all the way from home. Onwards into Kyrgystan. The roads are awful, lots of dogs chase us, but the scenery is spectacular, and suddenly completely different colouring and texture. Eventually we find a great camping spot above a river and surrounded by steep mountains. There are some yurts down by the river and some kids come up to say hello, then an older man comes over to shake hands and greet us. We make a delicious pasta dish with vegetables left over from last nights curry, and for a one pot dish on a camp stove it’s indescribably delicious. Washing it down with a bottle of vodka, we reflect on where we are and how far we’ve come, and it seems both of us are overjoyed to be here and loving every minute of it. It really feels like something very special now.