Desert, day 2 : Deeper into the steppe

29 Jul

Hmmm, where should we go now?

Waking up at 5.30 AM, together with the sun. Eating a lot of biscuits with Nutella, pack the tent, and get on the bike as soon as we could. We are now far from any kind of civilization, and feel alone in the world, with just a few truck drivers transporting gas or oil. It is beautiful, a bit hilly (uphill!), and the road is terrible. At least, we were warned.

Morning bath

On the way, we see several groups of horses and camels running around in the steppe, giving us an awesome feeling of wilderness and freedom. We also experienced the steppe solidarity : everyone passing by is stopping to chit chat, ask if we’re ok, offer water, shubat or koumis (fermented horse/camel milk). Here and there, you find underground mosques, built thousands of years ago, where you can get some rest in the shade, as well as company and food. We stopped late in the morning when we saw one, and met the people who were there at the moment : mostly people from Aqtau or around, going there alone or with their family for a spiritual retreat.

Little holes in the road

Sharing food with people

We were shown the underground, thousand years old mosque, and the ancient graves before being invited to share food with the community : tea and bread, then salad and even marinated meat! That was unexpected, especially considering we are here during Ramadan (as it was banned during soviet era, Ramadan here does not have the same importance as in other muslims countries). We took some rest there to spend the hottest hours of the day, exchanged with the locals in Russian and even a bit of French, and played with the kids.

Finding our way into the underground mosque

We sadly left the place late afternoon was a very enjoyable piece of cycle. The second half of the day is always better, as the sun is setting, with temperature going down. After 25 km in the steppe, we got back on the asphalte until shetpe, a little town with not much interest, where we stopped. We slept in a bakery, where we had some warm, freshly baked bread. Then a good rest.

Afternoon ride with the camels

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s