106km Zahmet to Repetek

Andrew jumping on a sand duneIt’s a long haul through the desert that covers about ninety percent of Turkmenistan. We’re just on day four of our seven-day transit visa but already we’re a bit tired of the endless sand dunes and the wind that never quite seems to blow on our backs. The barren landscape is punctuated only by the occasional cafe or small village. You have to wonder just what people do for entertainment here in these remote outposts, where there’s quite literally nothing for at least 100km in any direction. We had our morning break at the sole cafe in our day’s path, enjoying a pot of tea and a bowl of mutton soup for Friedel. It may not sound too appealing but after Iran’s lack of cuisine, hearty soups with lots of flavour and a potato or two thrown in are a real culinary highlight! Who knows if we’ll still feel so loving towards mutton after three months in Central Asia but for now we’re enjoying the change immensely. Originally we thought we’d stop for the night at a cafe in Repetek but tales from other travellers of drunk truck drivers and dirty accomodation changed our mind. Instead we managed to drag our bikes behind a sand dune and pitched our tent in a dip in the landscape.

That evening we cooked supper using a Soviet sausage that was as hard as a rock. It was like that when we bought it on our first day in Turkmenistan and hadn’t changed since. Take a look at this hammer of a sausage:


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