Our hotel was located near Jelondy Hot Springs. And the hotel had the hot springs water pumped into the pools inside. So it was very difficult to for us to not take advantage of it. Oh, how I love hot springs!
We left Jelondy at 09:00. As we drove, I could feel my ears popping and a slight headache brewing. We were getting high up in altitude.
There was absolutely nothing around as we drove except snow and mountains.
We stopped for lunch at 11:30 Kyrgyz time or 10:30 local time at Alchin, this remote village of mostly Kyrgyz people. The village all had flat roofs with a lot of wear on it. It could easily have been a ghost town if we didn’t actually see some life there.
The rest of the drive changed from meters of packed snow to desert. It was quite dramatic to see such a variety of terrain on the same stretch of road.
We got to the passport checkpoint at around 14:00. Ten minutes passed which was a bit longer than usual, so we started walking around. One military guy just kept talking to us in Russian but what we could gather, after he asked if we were married, we asked him the same. He said look around. It was all desert. “Where can I find a woman here?!”
Another military guy then invited us for tea. The driver’s were busy ripping off the black tint on the windows of the Land Cruiser because now, black tint wasn’t allowed anymore. Funny how the other checkpoints didn’t point that out. Eventually, the drivers gave up because they didn’t have the materials to peel the tint off properly. And to the chagrin of the military guy, we didn’t have tea with him.
Murghab is Tajikistan’s highest town at 3,618m (11,869ft) above sea level. And when I arrived, my head was pounding from the altitude. The drivers dropped us off at the guesthouse then headed off to see their sister who lived in Murghab. I attempted to sleep off the headache and was out for the rest of the day. Be prepared… but at least at the guesthouse, we had a nice fireplace in our room!
We stayed in Filyra Guesthouse for 120TJS $14.16) for the both of us. This did not include food or a banya (a small room or building designed as a place to experience dry or wet heat sessions, or an establishment with one or more of these facilities). Also, showers in this part of the GBAO is pretty much out of the question as water is very scarce.
- Number of kilometers driven: 350
- Number of checkpoints: 1
- Number of roadblocks: 0
- Number of bribes: Maybe 1…