The Pamir Highway
The minus 15° Celsius turned quickly into a lovely plus 15° when the sun claimed over the mountain range of the Pamirs. And so we are enjoying the first morning in the altitude of 4000m.Matatu doesn't like the cold and the altitude so much and showing that with a staggering start of the engine. He also should enjoy this trip and that's why he gets his ten minutes to warm up too before he needs to work again.
The road leads us along the lake shore of lake Karakol, passed the village of Karakol and into the ascending to the highest point of the Pamir highway.
The road is sometimes in perfect condition and sometimes full of potholes that a golf course could get jealous. The changes coming so abruptly and unforeseen that we spend most of the time starring at the concrete rather than at the stunning scenery. Traffic is rare. Five cars a day is already a lot.
It takes us a few hours and a few stops, to cool down the engines, to reach the peak of the Pamir highway: 4655 meters!
Holly cow, that's the highest point I've ever been! My last record was Mt. Rinjani on the island of Lombok. Those 3727 meters were much more exhausting - instead of Matatu I had my girlfriend with me.
Short before sunset we reach the town Murghab, the biggest town up here.
As we are bread lovers we want to buy here a loaf for dinner. It turnes out to be pretty tricky to find bread here. There are little stores but they are not signed. We need to ask our way through - the only problem is that my Russian is better than the local ones.
As we finally manage to find one, we discover that they do not sell bread. Everyone here is backing their own bread. But we got one as a present from the shop owner, she doesn't want that we starve up here.
In Murghab is also the first checkpoint, which we could pass quite quickly if there were not these two Russian Hick hikers. They were waiting the whole day without any luck. As the police officers are fed up by them, they force us to take them along.
So we drive with those unwanted guests for the next two days and try everything to get rid of them. Finally we succeed!
Do not understand us wrong, we like to take people along but only as long as they are not annoying.