It took us long. It usually takes us longer than we’d like and then when we both get to the same conclusion it still takes a few more days to make the final decision based on it. So we took a holiday from blogging, we have spent awful amount of time travelling by trains, buses and even cars between Telecí and Prague (and occasionally Brno and Pardubice), we have had a few arguments about not speaking about the important issues and we have had a very pleasant days when we realised all is just well. What took us so long you might be asking?
Well, by the end of August we knew that we are not going to leave in the early September as we have originally planned. We were not really bothered with that as plans always do change, mostly for good, and we still thought we can make it somewhere sunny and warm before the winter coldness strikes. However, even before that we have decided to change our route, for the passage way through Pakistan to India seems to be very difficult. At this moment, here in Czech there is hardly anyone who would advise you to travel to Pakistan as two Czech girls have been kidnapped there in the spring this year while travelling to India (and soon after that a group of international mountaineers were shot dead in the Northern Pakistan). This is not surprisingly caused huge anxiety amongst our parents and immediate family and our friends as well. For the peace of their minds, and to be completely honest for ours as well, we have been looking into the possibility to get to India by a different way. We came up with a route that has been very popular in the touring world – Pamir Highway and then southwards following Karakorum Highway. The part of Pakistan that we would have to cross is supposedly safer and a couple has just cycled through the same way. However, nothing is ever simple and for us planning the route is a real challenge. I would love to visit India but the thing is that it is almost impossible to get from there to South-East Asia but by a plane or a ferry/cargo ship. The easiest would be to cross to Nepal and then to China. But what seems to be easy on a map renders rather impossible in the real world. In order to cross to China we would need to follow the Friendship highway. As nice as the name sounds the only friendly possibility to get from A to B is to pay for an organised trip when they carry all your luggage, you stay in hotels and are accompanied by a vehicles in case you feel sick, tired or else. The ways through Assam or through Burma are still closed for tourists and so we would have to go back via Karakorum Highway this time going to China.
And so we opted for, in our perspective, the easiest route through the Central Asian republics and then crossing to China through which we would eventually manage to get to Vietnam or Laos. But there is always a “BUT”. This time the freezing conditions during winters and the fact that it is possible to cycle the Pamir Highway only during few months in a year – well, not really such a surprise. So we thought we can cycle to Turkey and spend winter time on a farm WOOFing. Then at the end of winter we would set off and pedal through Iran and Central Asian republics during spring, China in the summer and get to South-east Asia by the next autumn. Another reason why not to hurry to Kyrgyzstan at the moment is an outbreak of bubonic plague in Issyk-Kul Lake area in the north-east of the country. When Adam told me this I thought he is pulling my leg, but the truth is he was not.
And so we almost laid our minds to rest thinking that in few days this will become the final decision. It took us a week or so to do so. And I know that after reading all this you won’t be surprised but it is completely different. At a certain point in thinking about it all, it occurred to us that my mum will be spending the upcoming winter on her own in a huge country farmhouse. Last winter she was here with my brothers but Jonatan and his girlfriend Veronika left for Edinburgh recently and Milan is now spending most of the time in Brno where he’s attending nursing school. We, on the other hand, would be looking for someone to help out with a farm somewhere in Turkey while mum would be looking for someone to help her here. You see the paradox? So we finally came to peace with a decision that seems to work out nicely for everyone. We will stay in Telecí until spring 2014 and then (if nothing else/worse happens) will finally head off south-eastwards.
At first we were feeling a wee bit unsure about this decision but in the end it brought peace not only to our minds but also to our families. So now we have plenty of time to do the proper planning for the coming journey, we have time to get the vaccination done and we will enjoy the Czech winter in its full blast with loads of snow and skiing, mulled wine, wood chopping, knitting, series watching, with friends, doing the little autumn and winter jobs around the house, etc. But as we wish to resume writing this blog on a regular basis again I will keep the recent news for later… but soon!