Posts Tagged ‘Dushanbe’

The third farewell and best wishes were made. The group of cyclists gathered at Vero’s had reached 12. We joked about my tent being eaten by the turtle and took more photos. Finally, after 3 nights in Dushanbe I find myself on my way to the Pamir Mountains with a new cycling partner – Reece.

The cycling gang at Vero's

The cycling gang at Vero’s

We had all heard of each other.
‘Ah – you are the Australian who got held up at the Iranian border.’
They had heard of me through Monique – a French cyclist they had met, and who I had met twice – in Bukhara and in Samarqand. I met ‘the’ Swiss couple and the Belgian couple. Each had already heard the other’s stories from this closed group of Pamir cyclists.

Reece and I set off, not realising that the road climbed and climbed and climbed. We thought that happened 100km later. The mountains are just starting now, and we have an amazing camping spot next to a bendy river. Fed and cleaned (by the water fight we had in the river), we are ready for bed.

On the road

On the road

I walked through the door piercing the surrounding high wall, and entered touring cyclist paradise. Vero and her house and garden are famous – all touring cyclists come here before setting out on the Pamir Highway. And here I am, little Matthew. I’m about to set out on the Pamir Highway!

Vero giving us tips on the Pamir Highway

Vero giving us tips on the Pamir Highway

Three young French cyclists ushered me in, bikes in hand. These bikes looked hard-core, with tyres wide enough to fit on a small car. As I entered in further, more bikes were hanging around. In front of me was a beautiful verandah with armchairs and couches, and a big garden full of cyclist’s tents. Another cyclist was sitting on the verandah reading. A parrot in a cage welcomed me as I was shown inside.

I had heard of Vero from other cyclists on the way. Famous like Akbar in Marand, all cyclists find themselves staying here. I spent the evening sharing stories and dreams with the other cyclists, and before I knew it, it was bed-time.

Its great to be cool again. After my heat-stroke (was it that?), I stayed in Denov for a day, mostly lying in front of the fan, or sitting inside the air-conditioned supermarket. In the evening the cool change rolled in, and it was wonderful. I cycled to Dushanbe through the haze into a headwind, but was happy. It was cool again!