BEATEN BUT NOT DEFETED

Mashad. It has been to many days we are waiting for the permission from the Turkmenistan government to enter. Time is being way overdue and Matteo and myself are starting to wonder if such a permit will ever be granted to us.  Time is running out and phone calls to the Agency in Rome that is following our application to enter Turkmenistan are seriously increased over the past two days. After a not to exited of a lunch we finally get the message we were waiting for. Unfortunately our transit visa to Turkmenistan has been denied.

Shocked we realize immediately that Turkmenistan is the only way to get to the Pamir Highway, (our final destination). There are no secondary alternatives since Iran is bordering with Afghanistan which is not a feasible option for us. The only possible way to reach the Pamir from our location was to board a commercial vessel to Kazakhstan across the Caspian Sea. This option would have required much more time on the road and we did not have adequate documents. The procedure to get them from Iran would have been to long.

In 2011 Matteo and I crossed Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on our way to Mongolia. Honestly it is a surprise to us why Turkmenistan has denied our transit visa. It is hard to understand why such a country is “closed” to foreign visitors since it is probably the least interesting country we have travelled through so far.  It is a pitty to have made it all the way to east of Iran and be stopped by a desert, crossed with an asphalt road in the middle. Frankly nothing interesting in Turkmenistan.  To our comfort we heard that other people faced our destiny when applying for the Turkmenistan transit visa. They describe it like a lottery drawing. Some people get in and some other don’t. I guess 2011 was our lucky year for Turkmenistan.

We are now 6,000 kilometres from home. Beaten but not defeated, Matteo and I, in front of a bottle of water and a chay, are forced to come up with a “B” plan. Since we are now here in Mashad, why not get as much as possible from Iran, we tell ourselves? Why not plan alternative roads that will lead us west again toward Europe ? We will plan the Pamir Highway in the future. We are confident that another opportunity will be presented to us. The Pamir Highway still remains a goal for both of us.

We are forced to pass again Mt Ararat. a definite crossway of our mototravellers experience since 2011. A strange feeling crosses our minds since we are welcomed by a heavy thunderstorm followed by a magnificent rainbow. It would be lying if we were not somewhat sad of not being able to have reached the Pamir Highway as planned,  but the rainbow was interpreted by both of us as a sign of positiveness in our future travels.

This new positiveness as given us new strength to plan many new trips and adventures for the future. Including of course the Pamir Highway. First on our list.

We are now in Dogubayazit in Turkey ,planning a new route to return to Italy. With finally a good cold beer in our hands, which was forbidden in Iran, we are now determined to find new roads . I had travelled a couple of years ago with some friendst to the Balkans and that seems to be our best option for the return trip back home. We are now heading to Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Croatia. We will plan to attempt the Pamir Highway in a couple of year passing through the northern route.

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