Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bye Kyrgyzstan!

Location: Kara-Kol (Tadjikistan)
Counter: 5241 kms

It was a wonderful time in Kyrgyzstan! What a beautiful country!

Internet connection is really bad, I can't upload any photo. And I will be more expressive in a few days, after having ride the M41.

We (together with 4 swiss), left Sari-Tash (Kyrgyzstan) and made the big ride to the Tadjik border at 4280m. Those swiss guys are great, and even under the rain, mud, cold, altitude, we all 5 have a big smile on the face from dawn to dusk ;) Landscapes are crazy up here!

See you in Khorog!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Kyrgyzstan - Holiday in the holidays

Philippe joined in Bishkek for a cycling round trip in the country. We climbed great passes, enjoyed 5-stars rides in beautiful gorges along rivers, camped in front of terrific mountain sceneries, spent intense moments with Kyrgyzs families and workers in yurts/houses/mine...

We announce you that we officially extended the world grading system for the rate of beauty of camping places. We introduced a sixth star on the one-to-five-stars scale. It was very useful, specially around Song-Köl.

How many stars for this?
And for this one? (It was the same place ;))

We also enjoyed the company of many cyclotourists. Kyrgyzstan is a crossroad for many world-drifters, and an oase in this world ruled by visa and permits: you get your 60-days entry in Kyrgyzstan for free, without visa! We met cyclotourists almost every day on the road. It was great to share those moments on the bike, to spend evening cooking, talking, joking, playing cards, etc... Thank you girls & guys!

But we fell twice in the 'Nomad's Home' trap in Bishkek. Around ten to twenty cyclists every night. People resting and waiting for the next visas, sometimes during long weeks (No, Francesco, I won't give any name ;)). It's just the perfect place... Philippe managed to escape for Munich a few days ago.

I obtained nearly all the visas I needed, and will leave tomorrow for the Pamirs ;))

Philippe and a Lada-sport on the road.
If you like mountains, climbing, lakes, beautiful landscapes, sauvage places, then you should pay your visit here. Kyrgyzstan is small enough to make every kind of travel easy, and big enough to offer every kind of landscapes: even a huge salty lake (Issik-Köl) to give you a feeling of Mediterranean see, but with 5000's for horizon. People are also really nice and friendly. The country is quite stable at the moment, although North part of the country (Bishkek government) and south part (Osh unofficial government) didn't solve their tensions (see 2010's revolution).

On the road to Kizil-Oy

PS for all the climbers friends: you certainly know Tommy Caldwell, and maybe saw films about his great climbs on The Nose and El Capitan. I recommand you to google his name + Kyrgyzstan, and you'll may be really really really surprised, as I was, when you will read what happened to his group in 2000 in the south west of the country.

Road for the first pass after Bishkek.

This one had only 5,5 stars.


Two Kyrgyzs practicing wrestling on horse

Kyrgyz woman chasing a man... She won!

On our way to a 6-stars spot!

Ooooh, my bike was happy to have company!

A taste of Mongolia. On the way to Song-Koel.

Siesta after a great food with a Kyrgyz family.

Hot climb in mineral landscapes!

Bye-bye Philippe! It was great to ride with you...