An apple,  a cow, a surgeon and a pigeon: Pamir highway part 3! (4th Nov)

An apple, a cow, a surgeon and a pigeon: Pamir highway part 3! (4th Nov)

(none of which feature in the photos..ah well!). This morning [well not this morning obviously as everything in blog world is at least a week behind..] a cow stole an apple from my bag. H left for Dushanbe with 3 blokes who we returned to find occupying the other beds in ‘our’ dorm, and P and I managed to get the owner of the Pamir Lodge to arrange places for us in a vehicle going to Murghab (140 somoni each). We had to wait quite some time for him to get us as he needed to acquire to more passengers first and while we were mooching around at the front of the lodge, a cow wandered in through the side gates and came to investigate my shopping bag full of Pamir highway emergency goodies. One of the women from the lodge shooed her away and off she went, with my apple in her mouth 🙂 I was just grateful she hadn’t found the Bounty bar, though the wrapper would probably have been a challenge.

The M40

Copyright David Dixon (

The M41

I think I prefer this one..

Once we were on the way, the scenery was soon as jaw dropping as I’d expected with jagged mountains on 3 sides now that we were no longer travelling alongside the river Pyanj. There were various opportunities to get out of the car, during which the altitude gain was brutally apparent from the decreased temperature and howling wind. One stop was for hot springs but P & I were hot-springed out and the other woman on the back seat with us wasn’t up for them either so it was just Mr Front-seat who went for a dip.

When he got out the driver said something about ‘doctor’ but I wasn’t really sure what he was on about. While we waited, one of the boxes in the back of the car started rustling and moving which was slightly disconcerting – it turned out to contain a rather irate pigeon. [Which I’m guessing means pigeon is on the menu tomorrow in Murghab’s finest restaurant – only joking, Murghab doesn’t have any restaurants!] Once we were on the way again the driver eventually turned the music up but there was no ignoring the distressed pigeon now which provided an additional soundtrack for the rest of the journey. [no photos, to protect the pigeon’s anonymity..]
At some point the serrated snow capped mountains gave out into a stark, clay coloured high altitude plateau. It’s desolate but I love looking at these kind of landscapes (from inside a warm vehicle!). It was quite reminiscent of south west Bolivia which is another area I’m a big fan of.

We had a meal stop in a village called Alichor in the late afternoon – the people in this region of the eastern Pamirs (with the exception of Murghab) are mainly Kyrgyz and the couple running this café clearly were, their features markedly different from those I’ve seen for the last few weeks and the man wearing a kalpak hat.

And now here we are in the wild east- I thought of staying two nights but it’s so end of the world and cold outside (though we have a toasty stove in our room..) that we can’t really bear to so tomorrow we’ll try and find a ride to Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Which makes this probably my last night in Tajikistan! A shorter visit than I intended due to my chaotic planning- but all the more reason to come back…


4 thoughts on “An apple, a cow, a surgeon and a pigeon: Pamir highway part 3! (4th Nov)

  1. That word “highway” always sounds so romantic in a traveling context (“Highway 61 Revisited”, “Route 66”, “Is this the way to Amarillo”… (well, maybe not) ).

    Also impressed by the use of initials!

    And yes, I think the M41 has it!


    1. Initials: to spare innocent participants from being plastered all over the internet, plus sometimes I don’t quite catch people’s names and then after 3 days it’s too late to ask! 😉
      Yes all those highways do sound evocative and romantic – though I like the Russian version even better: Pamirsky Trakt!


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