No annual leave at the Mediterranean hotspots. Instead incredibly dangerous alpine roads, views of more mountains than we could imagine and slowly getting used to the high altitude we’ll have in Tibet, China.
Back to Laufaburg for our annual leave. Most important, we have to complete our equipment – a foldable solar panel to have enough energy to keep beer cool. Some spare parts for Prado. And some lousy t-shirts.
Our initial plan to spend the most important time of the year in Rimini at the classic Italian beach with deck chairs in one of the many rows tempered with the beautiful hits of Adriano Celentano featuring Pavarotti and eating everyday Pizza Berlusconi with Gorgonzola, Ruccola’n’Peperoni couldn’t be realised. Neither a few weeks at Ballermann’s in Mallorca. All was booked out. Every tourist normally heading to Egypt or the Turkish Riviera opted for political correctness and thus has chosen Rimini or Ballermann’s as his all preferred destination.
Finally we decide to get simply used to the high altitude of Tibet, China. We google for the highest accommodations in the Alps. And here we are.
The view of our life at a full moon evening and a night in the beautiful hotel up there.
A little bit later we spend a few days in Lech, Austria. Not really because of high altitude. Rather a cost-value ratio compared to Swizzyland extremely in favour of Austria and the need of a change from our Laufaburg watering hole led us to this decision.
23rd August; Alps
And then, just a week before we fly back to Osh, Kyrgyzstan, we’re seeking the real high altitude places:
A few days at the Stelvio Pass at 2750m. Not really nice, but high. And they have a watering hole called Tibet House to get used to our next destination. Nevertheless, an area for some nice side trips and to enjoy some Italian food.
Then on to the Diavolezza Mountain Hotel at 3000m. This time a really nice place, surrounded by glaciers, mountains of 4000m and the hell a lot of guys keen to climb them. Not being real hardcore climbers we felt slightly intimated. Nevertheless, we compensated this feeling of inferiority by making much nicer excursions to nearby places.
Osh; Kyrgyzstan, 1st September
On 31st August we’re ready to continue our way to Punta Arenas, Argentine. Well, to start with we drive to Zurich Airport: We eat with huge enthusiasm our last meal (Henkersmahlzeit) in Swizzyland in a famous fast food chain …
… and off we are. With Turkish Airlines to Istanbul and Osh. Little strange feeling to fly with this airline knowing the recent development in this country. Nevertheless, the situation in the plane largely remains as to industrial chicken farming – such a lot to observe and even more to suffer from. In Istanbul we nearly miss our connection due to late arrival. Believe it or not we manage to change planes within 15’ so much we dislike staying in Istanbul for an extended period.
Somehow at prime time – 4 am – we arrive in Osh, go to TES GH where they’re so kind to find us a room immediately. Later on we find Prado impatiently waiting for us at MuzToo’s. A little dirty, but well’n’sound. Prado gets its spa, later on we install our latest Investment, the solar panel, and have a chat with other overlanders seeking all kind of adventures. A little later it happens. Prado’s starter battery definitely gets sick, time for the car to do some socializing with its neighbouring Landrover. And then it’s definitely time for our well-deserved sundowner.
Son-Kul, 5th September
The next day we’re on the bazaar, buying for Prado a kind of Korean starter battery. And then we’re on the road to Jalal-Abad some 100km in the north-east of Osh. There as usual to the Möl Möl Hotel – an old style rather cruel Soviet accommodation at its best. A little maintenance could create wonders.
The next day on to Son-Kul. The lake at an altitude of some 3000m – an opportunity to further get used to Tibet’s highlands. Some 300 km, 8h on a mediocre gravel road with great views. The same we already used in June this year.
In the evening we arrive at the lake – just in time for a sundowner. We stay at the Yurt Camp Jolaman. Nice place at its best lakeside location with quite some other guys traveling from Nowhere 1 to Nowhere 2. Great opportunity to find useful information and spread useless rumours.
The next day a tour along the lake. Admire some nomadic life, observe the large herds and the huge pastures around the lake. The afternoon unfortunately slightly different: cloudy, windy, very cold. In the evening some snowfall.
Naryn, 6th September
Today we have to drive on to reach the Chinese border on time. A last gaze to our Yurt Camp and off we are.
A beautiful road winding up high above the lake followed by a steep descend towards Naryn. Dear friends in Lesotho and South Africa please accept it’s not Sanipass.
In Naryn, after all this nomadic life an opportunity to wash everything.
So far the beginning of our adventures. On 8th September our guide/ watchdog will expect us at the Chinese border at Torugart Pass. We’ll travel for the next month thru Western Xinjiang, Southern Tibet and Yunnan to finally reach Laos.
As Chinese regulations stipulate a day by day programme of the whole trip accompanied by a certified guide and probably 200 other procedures we’re not aware of, we don’t know when we’ll publish our next post. No idea whether or not we’ll have the time to do so, or if we’ll access our site or we’ll have internet or electricity in these tiny villages of the Tibetan highland.
In the meantime