THE PAMIR HIGHWAY (KYRGYZSTAN)

15/06/12 - Hit the road 1100, hot, clear day. 4km mark passport check (turn left here for the Pamir highway. Going straight is a more direct route to Dushanbe and another border crossing into Tajikistan but this unfortunately is still closed to foreigners at the moment) ashphalt road, 28km mark, 1300 passport check and exit stamp. Deteriorating road, river flowing across parts of it, plenty of dirty brown water. Lunch at 3535m, huffing and puffing, 35km mark unsealed and walking. Views sublime here - I was bought to tears with opera music playing on the mp3 player! Road still climbing, 1630, 42km mark reached 3910m, temparature dropping to 12C. 43km mark broke through 4000m barrier, 14C. 1800 reached gaeloo at foot of winding ascent to a pass. I was knackered, so decided to spend the night here. Two families were living here, they invited me in even though I was happy to setup camp. Paid 50som for food, got 3 types of bread - deep fried, traditional flat bread andthin & crispy with sugar. As well as butter, yogurt and tea. No power here, house has small solar panel on roof to charge battery to power TV/DVD and lights. Dinner 2330, same as earlier. Good to be inside though - very cold outside - beaut starry sky. Bed 0100.

16/06/12 - On the road 1200, start altitude 4045m, walk up winding dirt road to pass. 1300 met ozzy cyclist Dave who came from Istanbul and was heading to Shanghai. We exchanged info on upcoming road condtions and bid farewell. This was the first of many world touring cyclists I would meet. The Pamir Highway seems to be the main passage for such travellers - definately one of the few places in the world where touring cyclists outnumber regular tourists.1345 reached the top of the pass at 4300m.1400 Tajikistan entry border post, new building under construction here. When I arrived a couple of soldiers were in the process of skinning a couple of those ferret like creatures I've seen running around. Even though I had arrived on the 16th, they stamped my passport with 15th June - probably because I was in no mans land for a day.

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