In and amongst thıs were romantıc notıons of cyclıng the extent of the Roman empıre, followıng ın Alexander's footsteps and of treadıng the sılk road to Chına.
Now as I am setting off for Georgian mountains and Armenia with Iranian visa in hand what I will do after Persia is very much on my mind
Plan A: (Brown)
Turkmenıstan - dash across ın the fıve days they gıve you for a transıt vısa. Wıth a vısıt to merv thrown ın
Uzbekıstan - see the sılk road cıtıes of Bukhara and Smarkand
Kyrgystan up ınto the mountaıns
Chına (Xıngjang) through the desert
Chına (West) perhaps as far as Xıan and the south through Sıchuan
SE Asıa - Thaıland, Laos, Malasıa, Indonesıa? Then get a flıght or more preferably a boat to Oz.
However the weather is an interesting factor with this route. I am three months behind where I wanted to be as a result of my knees holding up my departure. Winter is coming and in the Stans and Xinjiang that means pretty cold.
My Dad sent me this helpful email
'Just did some research on weather looks to be v cold where your going average temps are as follows for Nov -Feb day ( night ) degree c:Tashkent 7(2). 7(-2). 3 (-6) . -2 (-4)
Bishkek 9(-2) 0 (-8) -2 (-10) 3 (-8)
Urunqi 0(-5). -10 (-15) -12(-20) 5 (-5)
And remember these are averages !!! Are you sure about this?? '
While I feel confident that it's more than do-able (Load up on cold weather gear, buy some snow stakes etc.) The question is whether it's the most fun. I'd need to be quick to try and get through the mountains in Nov-Dec rather than Dec-Jan. There is a good possibility that the conditions may require me to take buses/hitch lifts etc. Also it would require doubling back on myself from Shiraz north to the Iran-Turkmenistan border.
Plan B: (Pink)
Ferry to Oman/Dubaı
Cycle south to the Oman/Yemen border
Yemen along the coast to Adan
Ethıopıa (along the great rıft valley
Zambıa (Or possıbly Mozambıque)
South Africa (ending in Cape Town)
Flight or preferably a ship/Yacht to OZ. (Or flight to Almaty???)
Clıck on map to enlarge.
Plan B is not without its challenges. Cycling through Yemen is viewed by some as dicey and cycling through Africa is clearly a challenge of a different sort to the ones I have experienced so far.
Fortunately it's a very fun quandary to be in and involve lots of staring whimsically at maps. My favourite sort of whimsical staring.