06.-15.06.2011: Taschkent - Samarkand - Buchara - Taschkent

In Taschkent erfahre ich, dass die Grenze zwischen Usbekistan und Tajikistan bei Samarkand wieder einmal wegen Querelen zwischen den beiden Staaten geschlossen ist. Darum lasse ich das Velo im Guesthouse in Tashkent stehen und mache mich zur Einstimmung meiner Reise erst einmal per Zug auf nach Samarkand und Buchara.


Samarkand ist schön mit dem Registan und den anderen alten Mausoleen und Moscheen. Ich war im Bohodir Guesthouse. Kann ich empfehlen. Ganz nahe am Registan und mit einem gemütlichen Innenhof. Viele Traveller kommen hier vorbei und der Informationsaustausch funktioniert hervorragend. Am ersten Morgen machen der Koreaner Ju und ich uns auf, gegen eine Bestechung von 2.50 CHF den Sonnenaufgang vom Minarett des Registans zu sehen. D. h. aufstehen um 4.30 Uhr, Sonnenaufgang ist um 5.00 Uhr! Nach zwei Tagen Samarkand machen Ju und ich uns auf weiter nach Buchara auf. Wieder mit dem Zug Sharq, was soviel heisst wie Wind und nicht etwa Hai...


Buchara ist einiges schöner und entspannter als Samarkand. Das kleine B&B ist etwas ausserhalb, d.h. etwa 10 Minuten zu Fuss vom Zentrum... Hier in Buchara kann man noch etwas von der Seidenstrasse-Athmosphäre spühren. Am Abend hat es fast nur Einheimische oder Usbeksische Touristen hier. Da mein Visum fuer Tajikisten bald beginnt, mache ich mich nach einem Tag bereits wieder auf mit dem Zug nach Taschkent. D.h. eine heisse siebenstündige Fahrt im vollen Zug. Das Ticket muss man im Übrigen jeweils im voraus mit dem Pass kaufen, da der Zug meist rammelvoll ist.


In Taschkent mach ich noch ein paar Einkäufe, Travellers Cheques wechseln, da dies in Tajikistan nicht mehr möglich ist und bereite das Velo fuer die Reise vor. Von hier geht es dann südwärts zum offenen Grenzübergang nach Tajikistan bei Oybek.


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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