7th of August, 2014
This was meant to be a “desert day”. And it was, somehow, but not the way I expected it to be. There were supossed to be some border issues as well, but nothing at all due to something unexpected…
I started heading north from Batken. People told me that was the way to avoid having to cross Uzbekistan (to where I had no visa). This area is a nightmare of small portions of land whithin a country that belong to another country, so depending on the route you need to cross borders every so often. The one I chose, acording to Gmaps, was going to take me through Tajikistan, which I couldn’t since I had a single-entry visa, but everybody told me it was ok, that I didn’t really need to go back to Tajikistan. I decided to trust them.
And they were right. But not the way I expected: I thought there’d be a road not shown on maps avoiding Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, but I found they have modified the borders, so this piece of land belongs to Kyrgyzstan now!
It’s great to see countries agreeing on border modifications for the common benefit!!! So many other countries should learn!! (and especially Spain!!)
The road here is really desert-y. Don’t expect a shadow for first 30-something kilometers. That changes the second you cross the (only) river. After a short and hard uphill, you’ll be in a green valley surrounded by desert mountains. You might not be cycling under tree shadows, but the green provides a feeling of freshness. Also, there are good places for a stop here and there, either shadows or shops. The road countinues like this (and flat) all the way to the crossroad towards Uzbekistan (km 53). If you’re thinking of stopping somewhere either for food, sleeping or whatever, this crossroad is a good place, with lots of bars and even a small market.
From here onwards the road turns drier. You’ll still see green bits every so often but not near the road. Towns and stoppimg points don’t dissapear though (except for some unending 10 kms straight line right before Alga; that feels like the desert!), so don’t worry too much.
The hardest part are the last 8 kms actually. 6 of them are uphill, and it’s not an easy uphill (or maybe I was just tired after the day and the hear). Also, I had to suffer quite a lot of drunk people, both when I stopped for a drink and also while riding (they were scary in their cars…).
And finally I arrived to the not very interesting town of Kamadzhai. It’s basically a crossroad, and the leftovers of some Russian factory. The best: it has an open air swimming pool. The worst: the only place to sleep is sh*t and expensive as hell (but you can bargain a little bit at least).