After a relatively easy border crossing we were welcomed by Tajikistan. Not by locals who without any interruptions were waving at us like they did in Uzbekistan. No we were welcomed by a waving president on big, overwhelming billboards. Everywhere we look we see him, posing in between some tulips, in the mountains, in front of an official building and with the national flag. Without a doubt we’ll recognize this men if we see him walking down the street. Reactions from as well other travelers, but also from friends and family at home are all the same: Tzatziki? Tzadziky? Tajikistan? Where is that? What do you do there? Only few people have heard from this amazingly, beautiful country and that’s not fair. We are soon enough impressed, not only by the incredibly, crazy way of driving of the locals, but more by the beautiful nature, the extremely high mountains and the most friendly people.
To give you an impression, Tajikistan has borders with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and Afghanistan. Until 1991 Tajikistan was part of the Sovjet Union. The language people are speaking is Tajik and that’s a form of the Persian language which is also the official language of Iran and Afghanistan. Tajiks was written until 1928 with the Arabic alphabet, from 1928 until 1940 with the Latin alphabet and since 1940 it’s written in Cyrillic. Tajikistan is a country full of mountains and more than half of the country is situated above 3000 meters. In the east of Tajikistan you’ll find the beautiful Pamir range and that’s also the part of Tajikistan we’re mostly looking forward to. We’re finally here and it will not take long anymore for us to start driving the famous Pamir Highway.
But before starting the Pamir we had to wait for our new cooling hose. Our own cooling hose was by now hanging together with more tape and we were convinced that this construction would not survive the heights of the high Pamirs. We had a few relaxing days at the Green House Hostel in Dushanbe, we went to the bazaar to buy some last necessary things and we shared our room with a few Iranian guys who all had some sort of sleep apnea. After a few days in Dushanbe waiting for our cooling hose we decided that we as well could go into the mountains and wait there for it. So we exchanged our Iranian roomies for some nice fresh mountain air and the sound of singing birds.
We drove over the pass, through the snow to Iskanderkul, a beautiful mountain lake where even the president got a summer house. Because the president is never there it was no problem for us to find a nice place to camp. In the afternoon we found a nice spot and besides a few friendly locals we didn’t see any other person here. We enjoyed the views over this very big, beautiful, blue lake and most of all the calmness. It was quiet and there were no snoring iranian guys. Consciously of the cold which would come that night, the lake is on a altitude of 2000 meters, we prepared pretty well. We bought some stuff that supposed to keep us warm on the Pamirs, now was the time to see if it was all working good. We filled up our warm water bags and put on our Tajik slippers, we were ready for some cold.
Lucky for us it didn’t get to cold that night. Although it was around zero degrees, this was not cold anymore for us. We were getting more and more used to these kind of nights in the tent. After an idyllic breakfast at the beautiful shore of Iskanderkul it was time to move. We still wanted to go to Haft-Kul, the seven lakes, but tomorrow our cooling hose would be in Dushanbe and we also wanted to go there and get it. The seven lakes were another 175 kilometers drive from where we were and although you’ll drive that pretty fast in some parts of the world, here in Tajikistan, it will take a while. After driving a beautiful road we reached the thirth lake around three o’clock. We decided that this would be our home for the night, but first we went further up to the seventh lake, so we could see them all.
On our way to the seventh lake we passed beautiful small villages far from civilisation. People were extremely friendly and everybody waved enthusiastically when we passed. Of course we paused at every lake to take a picture and finally we could fly our drone again. In Uzbekistan it’s prohibited to bring your drone into the country, so it was hidden very well somewhere secret in the car for the last few weeks. In the last village, just passed the sixth lake we asked some locals if it was possible to reach the seventh lake by car, the roads were getting smaller and steeper by the minute. According to these people it would definitely not be a problem and it wasn’t. Our Suzuki, including our taped cooling hose were just fine.
Around 18:30 we were back at the thirth lake, the place we decided to camp. We found out that we were not the only ones there. A group of locals were enjoying a big picnic and curious as they are, within a minute they were all standing around our car. With sign language, google translate and our three words of Russian that we now speak we had a kind of conversacion with them. We showed them the tent, they inspected our car, we made selfies and they sang songs for us. Before they left they came to bring us four breads and all kind of herbs which were leftovers from their picnic. Then they had to start their car to go home and although we laughed already a lot with them, this was by far the most funniest moment. One behind the steering wheel and the rest had to push. After about a hundred meters of pushing the car was starting and while all laughing they drove away. Meet the locals, it was another great experience.
The next day we drove back to Dushanbe, to the garage. We enjoyed again the beautiful views along the way and for almost the first time, the beautiful weather. Spring had sprung for a day, it was more than 25 degrees and the sun was shining big time. The cooling hose had arrived, we bought ourselves an ice cream and now we could finally go. For us this was the beginning of our Pamir adventure. We still had some kilometers to go until Khorog and the opinion of people is very diverse about the starting point of the Pamir, but this, here in Dushanbe was our starting point. We had the cooling hose, we did all our groceries and we left Dushanbe. We were ready, new adventures!!