Within hours of crossing into Kyrgyzstan, we came across this brilliant sight. A herd of Kyrgyz horses, galloping across the road, with the stunning Alay mountains in the background. What better introduction to a beautiful country?
On our way to Bishkek from Osh, we pulled over on a disused road to set up camp for the night. Just as we were about to start dinner, a man appeared seemingly from nowhere. He invited us to join him and his wife for dinner, so we followed him back to his small farm, tucked away in a dip on the hill. His wife appeared from a small hut, no more than a wooden frame covered in cloth and plastic. She was unfazed by her unexpected dinner guests; she just cleared a space for us in the hut and laid out tender cooked beef, homemade yoghurt, bread and honey. After food and lots of tea, it was time to milk the cows. It was fascinating to watch, having never witnessed it before. The milk was warm, and didn’t taste like the pasteurised stuff we get in the shop, but I was glad to try some. It would be left in the roof overnight to settle, and the cream would be skimmed off in the morning and made into yoghurt, which was just amazing with honey and warm bread! We camped in their yard overnight, soothed by the sounds of thunder and murmuring cattle. Simple pleasures with a lovely family.
On our journey last year we spent a good deal of time in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek. While staying at the extremely friendly and comfortable Nomads Home, we met a group of French street artists (more…)
How we reconvened with other overlanders in Bishkek, had a drunken night out with prostitutes, tried to climb a mountain and finally used the packraft.
After a freezing final night in Tajikistan we (reluctantly) exited the country encountering few problems (the usual “problem” requiring $25 to sort out soon disappeared when we settled back into the car offering to wait for the right official to arrive) and took the long road down to the Kyrgyz border. We were ushered through the gates and into Kyrgyzstan with barely a glance at the car (minus a required customs declaration which will become apparent later), taking less than twenty minutes. It was lunchtime and obviously not a convenient time to check vehicles!
You have driven hundreds of kilometres all day on dirt tracks, corrugated and potholed tarmac roads, been stopped five times by the police for ‘documents’, then an unfamiliar noise emanates from the engine bay. Your still 10 km outside of an unfamiliar town looking for somewhere to stay that has secure parking and won’t blow your daily budget. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t need that damn (delete as appropriate) Visa/Registration Document/Permit/Customs Form/Flight Ticket/Spare Part. It’s the usual battle.