May 10, 2018
On to Chorough – perhaps ?
The next day.
It’s three-quarter to six (in the morning !!!) There’s a knock on the door.
The KGB is here to take us in – Or so is our first thought – and we are up in seconds. Thank god it’s is only the boss who draws our attention to the fact that there is water flowing, however – not for too long.
So quickly out of the bed, wash up. For additional safety, there stands also a bucket of water in the bathtub, the only reserve bucket in case of water flow failure.
We take breakfast with the boss, who gives us a portion of almonds as a way supply. Quickly we take a few pictures and off we are.
It’s about seventy kilometers to Kulob, and the road looks alright. We cruise there, only occasionally stopped by many police and military controls.
All security officials are friendly, they want to memorize our passports and write our names in fat books. A soldier wants to take photos with us, but then changes his mind about displaying his gun, a photo should not display his weapon, and he asks me to delete them again. You Song stores it on her phone nevertheless.
We are invited to taste the fruits of a mulberry tree and dumplings from the soldiers, thereafter we continue. You Song, unfortunately with one incisor less, ( it just broke ). I still love her and comfort her with the prospect of a repair in Korea.
From Kulob a side road branches off towards M41 and Pamir. I’ve been afraid for days because on the map it is highlighted yellow ( side street ), while everything we have driven so far – even the trail through the hills yesterday – is red ( main road ). How will that look like in reality?
The road is well paved up to the mountain but soon turns to a gravel road, if not as extreme as yesterday. At the pass, then again a turnpike and behind the sky. A brand new paved dream road that could not be better in Europe. Contrary to our fear that this will probably only be a few kilometers, the asphalt dream stretches almost all the way to the intersection to Dushanbe.
Only the last few kilometers we sneak over gravel and potholes again.
But first, we drive through a vast panorama: a green valley with villages on a river, framed by majestic mountain giants with a blue sky and glorious sunshine.
This part of our trip represents the best of all episodes so far; the beauty here, captured in photos, alone has made the ten thousand kilometers worth of travel worthwhile. For several hours we drive along the border with Afghanistan, separated only by a narrow but raging river.
Occasionally we also see villages and people or soldiers on the other side.
At the intersection with the M41 is a small village, we fill up on gas, and although it is still early afternoon, we do not want to continue. A small guest house is found quickly, and we rest for the day.
CONTINUED : CHOROUGH ( FINALLY ) NEXT