top of page

8.-11.6.23, bye bye hotels, off to the desert

8.6.23, we are excited to see what awaits us in the next three weeks. But what is already clear is that from now on there will be no more luxury. We set off with fully loaded bikes in the direction of Uzbekistan. It didn't take long before civilization was finished and we left the rather large city of Aktau behind us. It is warm, only a few small clouds can be seen. We are protected with a high sun protection factor and the new desert outfit provides shade for our face and neck. We can't get lost under any circumstances, because only one road leads to the east. We kick off our daily target of 100 km and are amazed that the first gas station only comes after almost 90 kilometers. We got tired of the meanwhile about 30 degrees warm water in our bidons on the first day and so we rush to the refrigerated shelf with the drinks in said gas station. Interestingly, not a single drink that we know of, but the pictures on the labels give an idea of the taste. The 1.5 lt. Pear water was history within seconds, we were so thirsty. Strengthened, we set off and look for a suitable campsite. We make out a few hills in the distance, not much higher than from a mole but at least a little privacy and windbreak. We're pitching our tents for the first time, it's been forty years since Dad's last night in a tent. The installation went smoothly and easily. After washing the cats, Nicolas takes over the cooking. It felt like an eternity until the water started to boil on the gas stove. But the timing was perfect, because the Pasta Genovese was al dente hand in hand with the sunset and tasted delicious. The best conditions for a good first night in the tent.

9.6.23, didn't sleep too bad at all... The morning meal was limited to a few crispbreads with Nutella and after the morning toilet outdoors and packing up our camp we set off at 8.30 a.m. for the second desert stage. It's more strenuous than expected and we're having a hard time making headway with the strong headwind and side wind. Strictly speaking, we had an average speed of 15 km/h and covered 130 km today. But the wind also had something good and made the heat more bearable. We saw many animals along the way, but mostly camels. Such an accident before our eyes. It ran down the street, stressed by a car, and jumped the guardrail. Unfortunately, it touched them and crashed to the ground on the other side, its hind legs tangled in the crash barrier. We stopped immediately, as did two repairmen in a pick-up. Without further ado, they fitted the gloves and dragged the heavy animal away from the crash barrier. Luckily nothing happened to him, it seemed.

Unfortunately, it was a long way to a gas station today, but after about 60 kilometers we met an angel. A Kazakh stopped on the right and gave us 3 liters of cool water and handed us some money. We had to assume he said something about 'tradition' and insisted on it. Anyway, despite the brutally hard desert day, we were very lucky today. So we met a Chinese guy by the name of Guam Shou Jun who gave us a tip on where to stay . He strongly recommended this to us because camping in the desert was too dangerous because of the wolves. We just had to pedal another 45 kilometers for this, but it was worth it. In a fast-food shop in a 'village' with 3 houses, we were allowed to sleep on the ground in an adjoining room and were thus able to save ourselves the procedure of setting up the tent. The people here are very welcoming, we sat at the table with them for a long time, drank tea and talked about us and Switzerland. Questions rained down and the brothers were very interested. The mobile phone with Google Translate switched back and forth. Dastan, 25, runs the shop with his 14-year-old brother. It would be a big dream of his to be able to travel to Switzerland one day. Who knows, sometimes dreams come true..

10.6.23, we clear our sleeping place, do the morning toilet outside because there are no sanitary facilities in the house, eat a few slices of toast and say goodbye to Dastan. The headwind was even stronger today than the two days before and so we needed two hours for the first 22 kilometers. We still managed 110 km today. There was only one possibility to eat again after about 60 km. We didn't imagine the desert to be so brutal, but here everything is demanded of both of us - physically and mentally!

11.6.23, despite a hard day and the corresponding tiredness, we really enjoyed the evening in front of the tents. There was almost a four-course. Coconut chips for an aperitif, chilli noodles with tuna for the first course, vegetable noodles with tuna for the second and a Nescafe with biscuits for dessert. In addition, a magnificent sunset and the entertainment of Nicolas, who rapped flawlessly in a duet with his favorite dialect musician. We both slept well that night and were not plagued by wolves or snakes.

In the morning there is no need for an alarm clock. The sun is able to heat up the tent so quickly that we always want to go outside quickly, although half an hour later it is already nice and warm there again. We clear our camp and make our way to Beineu. We were even able to find a hotel here on Google and accordingly we are looking forward to the first potential shower after 4 days and hopefully a real bed. For the first 20 kilometers we need another 2 hours due to the strong wind. It's really grueling standing in place almost 10 hours a day. We often stopped at the side of the road to take a warm sip from the bottle and today, almost at the end of our strength, said Nicolas; 'What do you think, if I stick my thumb out, will someone take us to Beinau for the last few kilometers'? No sooner said than done, and lo and behold 'jackpot' - the very first delivery truck stops. After a short conversation with Nikita from Russia and his girlfriend Anita from Aktau, he quickly makes room on the loading area and we are happy to escape the wind for a short time. We invited the two to a little snack before they continued towards Moscow. Before that, however, we had to refuel, because the wind is also having an impact here. Nikita said that he needs 30% more fuel for the same distance without wind and steering is also more difficult, he has to countersteer almost constantly. We knew only too well what he was talking about..

The hotel Nicolas found on the internet even existed, was open and okay. The nice young man asks if we would like a room with air conditioning, which we of course agree, and collects the equivalent of 14 francs for it. If we were to check into this very hotel in Switzerland, with a trickle of water from the shower, shower and toilet in the same square meter without separation, rusted fittings and much more that would cause us to complain - but nothing like that, we feel for it these first four desert days here like in paradise! And thanks to the existing internet, this blog post can finally be published..

Tomorrow we will reach Uzbekistan - depending on the wind. So see you sometime, who knows.. 🙋🏼‍♂️🙋🏼‍♂️


bottom of page