Uzbekistan so far has not impressed me at all with very repetitive landscapes with some hundreds of kilometers going through semi-dry flats. But after Samarqand, Uzbekistan changes. First you see beautiful green hills and impressive mountains in the east. The land is very fertile here, there are forests, grassland as far as you can see and plenty of water everywhere.
Cycling towards the Tajik border
Around 240 km separated us in Samarqand from one of the two border crossings which are actually open for tourists. There used to be a crossing 40 km east of Samarqand, however that border crossing is closed already for several years due to political issues between the two countries. Therefore we have to cycle some additional kilometers along the Tajik border in order to find a crossing that will actually let us pass.
The advantage of this route is that we will be following the Fann Mountains (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fann_Mountains) to their north entrance and then we can cross them completely from North to South towards Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital. We will cross two passes above 3000m and the mountains are supposed to be very beautiful.
Even though the scenery was very beautiful and after a day of rain the weather was beautiful again and rather cool with up to 17° C, which is perfect for cycling, the wind was definitely not on our side. As in the past days in Uzbekistan the wind came from easterly directions and hence was blowing us right in the face, and today with quite some strength. This slowed us down quite a bit, but luckily the terrain overall descended during the day so this compensated a little the head wind.
Another family dinner
It is almost no news anymore, but I mention it here anyway: When arriving in a small village close to Jizzax and next to a small artificial lake, we were immediately greeted by some locals and when asking them where we could put up our tent for the night, he immediately invited us to dinner and to stay at his place.
We seem to slowly enter the Vodka region. After already been offered Vodka for lunch on the road, there was also a full bottle on the dinner table and it was impossible to avoid drinking at least some of it. But since everybody drank in reasonable portions, nobody was drunk and we had a wonderful evening with the family.
Max elevation: 802 m
Min elevation: 323 m
Total climbing: 871 m
Total descent: -1226 m
Total time: 09:47:40