Tajikistan: an adventure on two wheels.

CAMCO in Tajikistan

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With this blog article we take you to an exotic place, in the most continental Asia: Tajikistan.

The protagonists of this story are Fabio and Mirco, two friends – and friends of CAMCO – who in September flew from Milan Malpensa to Istanbul and, after a stopover of about 3 hours, left again for Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.

With them, they had their two bicycles, a tent, and everything that could make them as independent as possible with minimal space.

Dushanbe was not their final destination. Here, they took a shared taxi and, with a journey of about 12 hours, arrived in Rŭshan, about 500km away, to the east.

Rushan is a small town of about 6,500 souls, at an altitude of 2,000 meters, on the border with Afghanistan.

From Rushan began their adventure on two wheels (two each, of course 😉).

The route consisted of a ring run counterclockwise.
Initially, this route developed along the border with Afghanistan, a border marked by the Pyandzh (or Panj) river first and then by the Wakhan Corridor, along the poorest valley in Tajikistan.

From here Fabio and Mirco undertook the ascent towards the Kargush pass, at an altitude of 4,200m. Mirco tells us that it was the hardest pass to tackle, due to the road being sometimes sandy or gravel, and it took them two and a half days to cross it.

Leaving the Kargush behind, they returned to the M41, the Pamir Highway, which took them to the highest pass of their entire journey, at an altitude of 4,655 meters:
the Ak-Baital pass, few kilometers west of the border with China.

To descend from these altitudes to 2000 meters a.s.l. of the Bartang Valley took 4 days, with an average of 60 km/day, traveled along a bumpy road made up only of pebbles and river stones. Mirco describes the Bartang as the wildest valley in Tajikistan. A valley in which, in spring, the Bartang river overflows, sweeping away what is known as a “road”.

This is for the cold chronicle of the journey from the point of view of the itinerary, which lasted two weeks, with a day of rest halfway through.

In addition to this, Mirco tells us some curiosities, sensations, experiences:

People are “extra-hospitable” and don’t remember how many people offered them tea every day, on the street or at home.
In the first half of the journey, the overnight stay was at guesthouses or in tents, but from then on, finding no more accommodation, they understood that it was enough to ask the people they met in a village to be welcome guests in their home, or to grant them the garden to place the tent.

The same goes for food: when they asked where they could dine or have breakfast, local products were offered and prepared (above all milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables) by the people they asked to, for which food Mirco and Fabio always felt like leaving an offer since no one has ever asked them for money in exchange for this hospitality.
On the other hand, in the few shops in the larger villages, the food supply left much to be desired – mostly snacks and industrial foods, often out of date.

A recurring curiosity when we hear the stories of those who have traveled to exotic places refers to possible encounters with wild animals: in this case, Mirco tells of having met camels for the first time in his life, free to roam the highlands, wild.

P.S. For the record, they’ve never had any problems of any kind, apart from a few holes in the tires… but it’s natural to have this type of accident when you cover so many km, especially on unpaved roads. An expected inconvenience, accepted with a serene heart.

Finally, a curiosity of our own about how the Bulètt and Bisbìn T-Shirts by CAMCO behaved, which both Fabio and Mirco have known since well before this adventure, but which with this adventure were tested in situations far from everyday life, even of those who have an active life.

They had already appreciated for some time the qualities relating to thermal comfort, the ability not to develop odors even in intense and prolonged use, the exceptional management of body humidity, and so they had decided to add them to their baggage, in adherence to the “few functional garments” approach.

In conclusion, they can add that not having had the opportunity to wash the garments every day was not a problem for the shirts, since they were not weighed down by odors and humidity, and indeed: they often chose not to wash them despite having the possibility because they found themselves as fresh as at the beginning of that day’s section of the trip.

…and, on the few occasions in which they wanted to wash them, they were happy with a further quality of the merino wool + TENCEL™ fabric: the extraordinary speed of drying!

Below are many photos of this bicycle trip along the mountain roads of Tajikistan. Many… but still only a small part of all those that Mirco and Fabio showed us. It was hard to select them. We wanted to stay on a dozen photographs, but there were too many that we just couldn’t exclude.

Good vision!

The first section, which runs along Afghanistan and the Wakhan Corrdior:

Some photographs among our favorites, randomly ordered

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