Finally, cycling! 3 days of no sleep and unending travels were left behind the second we jumped into our bikes.
We started cycling at 7.30 and it was already hot as hell. The road, very nice. Paved all the way until the end, bumps everywhere but not a problem for a bike, but above everyhing the heat. Recommendation: if possible, start cycling at 5 am (there’s already daylight).
First police checkpoint is 3-4 kms past Chilas. They asked for all our documentation and to fill some forms, they made couple of phone calls (no, actually they sent some SMS), and they let us go… with a car following us. Everywhere. At our speed. It was a pick-up, with 5 soldiers on it, and a heavy gun above it pointing at us sometimes. Crap. It didn’t feel very safe (and neither very necessary!!). The funny momeny came when I had a flat tyre (yes! Only after 5-6 kms! Sh*t!), so we had to stop on a side of the road (under the only shadow we saw); they came around and told us to keep moving forward! I was like “I’d love to, you know, but that’s not happening now…”. In the end, they stayed next to us and waited until I was finished. Then they followed us again, until they grew tired and just drove by.
The views are stunning, with snow-covered peaks showing up little by little until the famous Nanga Parbat shows itself at its best. Impressive. Great view!! Still, it takes a while: you won’t see it (unless you climb some mountain nearby) until you’re almost at Talechi. By the way, we stopped for food at km 49: great place for food and a rest!!!
Last kilometers, once you take the northbound of the river at the Raikot bridge (and passed a police checkpoint), the asfalt gets so much better. And the greatest snowy peaks show up. So yes, that a great end to the day. The guesthouse where we stayed in Talechi will hardly be improved during the rest of the trip, honest!!