Day 25: Reaching the Turkmen Border
After a good night in Abravan we left today at a more decent hour in hope of good wind. However, even though the traffic and the road conditions were slightly better than yesterday, the head wind was already strong in the morning, and my stomach was still causing some problems to me, so it was out of the question that we would cycle the remaining 140 km to Sarakhs in one day. So we decided to cycle to Shurak Maleki, a small town 30 km after Abravan and take a train from there to Sarakhs.
Waiting for the train
When we arrived in Shurak Maleki, we saw a train leave right in front of us. I somehow had the feeling that this is a bad sign, I did not expect many daily connections on this route. Nevertheless, we went to the train station (which was placed around 1 km away from the town limits) and asked an employee when the next train would leave. He said in 3 hours, so we decided to take some rest and wait. He invited us into the building to drink tea with him (and watch a movie). But after a bit more than an hour, he suddenly decided that we have to go out of the building, and that there will be no train and we should take a bus. Any subsequent attempts to figure out if there was really a train or not today to Sarakhs were without success. So we decided to go back on the highway and try to hitchhike.
Riding a truck
Hitchhiking was easy. The very first truck that approached us stopped on our request. We loaded our bikes, entered the truck and after a very interesting ride through nice mountains we descended to Sarakhs, the border city where we will cross to Turkmenistan tomorrow. Somehow it was a pity we could not cycle at least part of the route because of the wonderful scenery, but because our Visa for Turkmenistan is fixed on the 18th of April, we had to reach Sarakhs today.
Arrival in Sarakhs
As soon as we loaded off our bikes from the truck, a local stopped and invited us to his home for dinner and the night. That went quick. We were already a bit worried where we would camp for the night, because border cities are supposed to be less safe. After we went to his home, the usual program started with dinner, getting to know each other, and now, finally going to sleep.
Next days in Turkmenistan
The next two days we will most likely not cycle because we get a ride to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s capital, where we visit some friends and hope to get to know a bit better the Turkmen people that actually still live in Turkmenistan (compared to the Turkmen people in Golestan). For that reason, the live tracking will most likely only be enabled again on Thursday. And even though the Internet in Iran was far from good, I expect the Internet in Turkmenistan to be even more restricted, so blog posts might follow with some delay.
Detailed Track (Cycling)
Max elevation: 941 m
Min elevation: 801 m
Total climbing: 232 m
Total descent: -371 m
Total Time: 04:27:25