August 13th to 19th 445km
There isn’t a whole lot to do in Murghab, but we re-stocked our food supplies at the bazaar and had a couple of decent meals. The Pamir Hotel is a strange place. After a week of isolation, suddenly we were surrounded by European tourists arriving by 4×4, motorbike or bicycle. It was especially busy as Murghab was hosting an annual horse festival that weekend. We went down to check it out as we were leaving. We ran into Kim the Korean cyclist, as well as Frenchies, Tim and Claire who were shooting video for their documentary. Being animal lovers (and vets) the festival was right up their street, but we were happy just to watch a couple of rounds of a horseback ‘kiss chase’ type game before hitting the road. And just as we did, we ticked over 13,000km.
August 5th – 11th Osh (Kyrgyzstan) to Murghab (Tajikistan). 420km.
Osh sits at about 900 metres above sea level, the lowest we’d be for a while, which means only one thing. We’ve been riding uphill. A lot. Well rested and fed, with panniers full of supplies for the coming days, we set off to the South-East on the M41. Our first day was all uphill, gradually at first through the agricultural area surrounding Osh. It was a hot day so we stopped regularly for drinks at roadside magazins, making the most of them while they were still available. At one stop we met a young couple from Scotland who’d just returned from an attempt to climb Peak Lenin, (7,134m) but unfortunately the weather forced them to turn back just short of the summit. Later we met yet another South Korean cyclist heading our way, Kim. He was heavily loaded and riding quite slowly, so we rode on ahead after a chat, but our paths would cross regularly for the next few days.