Safe Landing in Uzbekistan

First contact with Uzbek culture... I decided to write the blog in english because i meet here many ather travellers and english is the language to communicate.

 

After a first little shock because on the frankfurt airport all the bikeboxes were sold out when i arrived there on monday, 6 i fnally managed to get my bike on bord flight hy 232 without a box after about 3 hours of going from one desk to an other. i safely landed in tashkent last monday night and heard by coincidencce that the border between uzbekistan and tajikistan at Penjikent is closed so i had to change my plan allready. i travelled west to samarkand by train leaving my bike back in tashkent where i will get back to cross the boarder somewhere close to Tashkent (at Oybek). Now I am sitting at the Bahodir Bed & Breakfast in Samarkant and it is very, very hot outside here in the desert. this morning i got up very early at 4.30 to go to the registan and climb the minatret to see the sunrise. I had to bribe the Police to let me before it oficially opens at 7.30 in the morning. I went there with a Korean traveller and we were all alone in the registan. Very nice. tomorrow i will continue to Bukkara and stay there one or two nights before  heading back to Tashkent. My visa for Tajikistan is valid from 14.6. and I want to go as soon as posible to the mountains and to the pamir highway, where it is a little bit cooler for bike riding...

 

The internet is so slow here, i cannot upload any pictures yet. Probablely this will only be better in China in a couple of weeks.

 

  With love from Uzbekistan...

more info in german... 

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Kommentare: 1
  • #1

    Barbara (Mittwoch, 15 Juni 2011 11:40)

    Schön von Dir zu hören - hoffe, Du kannst die Grenze dann gut überqueren und die kühleren Winde geniessen!Have a safe journey and many more beautiful sunrises.

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Coming home 2

Coming home 10 months after I have left
Coming home 10 months after I have left

Going for a big journey is one thing, but coming home is another. Just today I've got a qoutation from Albert Camus from a cycling buddy:

 

"What gives value to travel is fear. It breaks down a kind of inner structure we have... Far from our own language, stripped of all our props... we are completely on the surface of ourselves. But also, soul-sick, we restore to every being and every object its miraculous value."

 

I think this is very true and gets the very point of the adventure of going for a big journey. And now coming home is another adventure. And it breaks down another inner structure again. After so many months on the road with no home but the tent or a hotelroom, the routine of getting on the bike every morning, looking at the sky and the weather, the impression of so many so different people, animals, landscapes, sounds, smells coming home is like another big adventure. An adventure at least as big as the going away. Coming home with all these impressions, life will never be the same again.

 

After two months of asylum at my parents house in the north east of Switzerland I found a place to stay in Zurich in April. So it was time to go for the last bit of my journey: riding the 80km back home to Zurich. I took some small roads through the hills of the Hinterthurgau, crossed the Lake of Zurich on a ferry and reached Zurich Wollishofen almost exactly 10 months after I have left the town by bike (see photo).

 

This is the end of my journey.

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From +30 to -20 degrees Celsius

Snowcovered hills back home
Snowcovered hills back home

Taking a plane with a bicycle always makes me a little bit nervous since there seem not to exist any definitive regulations and it always depends partly on the goodwill of the clerk at the check-in desk. After organizing a carboard-box for the bike and a taxiride to Bangkok International Airport I was checking in as early as possible with 38kg instead of the allowed 30kg. The woman at the counter did some phonecalls but in the end gave me boardingpass and ticket and I didn't have to pay any overweight!! Yeeeesss! It could have been 40$/kg overweight!

 

After one night in Colombo my plane to Switzerland took off at noon on February, 3 and by sunset we landed in Zurich. The temperature outside: minus 11 degrees Celsius and still dropping! And it dropped as far as minus 22 degrees the following night. The next day - exactly eight months after my departure - I cycled the last few km back home through a beautiful snowcovered landscape.

 

Total time: 8 months

Total km: 8'864 km

Total countries: 7 (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kirgistan, China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand)

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The dewdrop has reached the ocean

After more or less eight months and 8800km of cycling I have reached the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

 

After two weeks in Chiang Rai I missed my bicycle. So I took a bus down to Bangkok again just to take my bicycle on the train and head for the Cambodian border at Aranya Prathet where I crossed the border three weeks before. I decided to make a little detour through Cambodia before heading south to the sea. I passed through the colonial City of Battambang and continued from there south to the borderprovince of Pailin, known for gemstones and beeing the last "Khmer Rouge Resort". From here I cycled straight down to Trat at the Gulf of Thailand and took a boat to the remote jungle-island of Koh Kut (picture).

 

The Island is the perfect lonely-beach-paradise and endpoint of my pilgrimage from the Central Asian deserts over the Himalayan Plateau to the jungles of Southeast Asia. So I pass my remaining days here at the white beaches of Koh Kut.

 

On february, 2 my flight leaves at 7 p.m. from Bangkok International Airport direction Switzerland...

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