There are only 2 days left before we leave for Xi'An, the start/end point of the Silk Road.
The preparations for the 2nd part of our adventure were much less extensive than last year. On the one hand, we can profit from the experiences of the last trip, on the other hand we already have the necessary checklists, the material and especially our bikes, which of course had to undergo a service check. So, it was mostly a matter of working through the lists, collecting clothes, camping equipment, tools etc. and stowing them in our panniers. We only made one major change: we bought a bigger and therefore more comfortable tent. The only disadvantage is that Markus will have to carry a little more weight, but that's definitely worth it 😉😉
At the same time, we looked intensively at the routing. Even though we have been reading many blogs, travel reports and books, it didn’t really support our decision making. Like last time, we had to admit to ourselves that we finally had to make a "map decision". Whichever routing we take, there are interesting things to look at, it will have difficult sections to pass, the weather forecasts are unclear, it can have sandstorms or hot temperatures, even snowfall is possible. And what kind of wind we finally will have to cope with - tailwind or headwind – is still a big question mark! Anyway: We have ordered pleasant temperatures, not too cold and not too hot, lots of sunshine and above all only tailwind. We are wondering whether “Petrus” will fulfil our wishes.
We outsourced the process to obtain our visas for China and Tajikistan again, according to last year’s good experiences. These visas are the be-all and end-all to be able to start our adventurous journey at all. Everything worked out perfectly well. As requested, we received a visa which allows us to travel 90 days at a time in China without having to leave the country in between. That’s just great!
We got the necessary vaccinations in March, most important of all was the last rabies vaccination, which was still pending. The medicine bag is also completely filled again, especially in case of gastrointestinal diseases that most cyclists on the Pamir Highway go through. We are also prepared for any altitude sickness.
Today we will take the bicycle boxes to the luggage storage in the airport. Our car is too small to carry bicycles and all panniers at the same time. This little Sunday trip isn't bad at all. On the one hand, we can already get some of the travel feeling, on the other hand we can shorten the waiting time a little bit until we definitely leave on Tuesday.
We are a little bit excited. In contrast to last year’s trip, where we had enough time to adapt ourselves to a new country, it’s culture and habits, we start our new adventure right away in a country unknown to us. We don't know the language, we only received behavioural tips from the story telling of other travellers and from reading travel guides. What I’m also a bit worried of is the Chinese food. As good as the food may taste when eating it at home, the thought of eating pasta and rice with side dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner does not really appeal to me yet!
Let’s take it as it comes! It’s anyway going to be different than we have thought.
All right, let's go! We look forward to keep in touch with you!