After rather challenging days cycling through the Taklamakan desert, we had big expectations for Kyrgyzstan! A country where one doesn’t need a visa to enter, where due to the nomadic culture camping is no problem, and where the mountains would offer a great alternative to the sometimes dull days in the desert.
Kyrgyzstan didn’t let us down! Entering the country was a great experience – a lonely soldier with his Kalashnikov at the border, a handshake, a small checkpoint, simple procedures, friendly border guards! Welcome to Kyrgyzstan!
But our first day in the “Switzerland of Central Asia” kept on getting better! Cycling through the first village we knew right away that this place was a bit different. High pitched voices yelling “Bye bye, bye bye, …” greeted us and swarms of kids started running towards the street, waving their arms like crazy! Just asking for a store, we got invited into a families home right away being fed until we couldn’t eat no more.
For the rest of the day we cycled up mountain roads until we met the majestic Pamir mountain range, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful we have witnessed so far!
Setting up our camp we suddenly spotted four little dots, slowly moving down the road! Could it be true? Other cyclists? Like mad we started running towards the road, yelling, whistling, throwing our arms in the air! Would they see us? One of them passed, another one, the third one as well! It seemed like they didn’t see us! But then, the final cyclists stopped! Yes, the effort of our sprint at 3300 meters high seemed to pay off!
We are not quiet sure if non-cyclists will understand but meeting the first other touring cyclists after almost two months on the road makes you so incredibly happy, it’s hard to describe! The smile across our face must have been so big, it could probably only be matched by the ones of the small Kyrgyz kids!
As the two young women from the Netherlands and the two lads from the UK were just on lookout for a camp spot we invited them over to our tents! After setting up all the tents, the before remote hill in the Pamirs suddenly looked like a little campground. Five tents in the middle of nowhere – what a wonderfull sight! For the rest of the evening and until late in the night we shared our stories, laughed, cooked dinner, played cards, and just enjoyed each others company!
Ryan and Charly, an Englishman and a Scott, had already started their journey in the cold days of January. Cycling from Venice to China they follow the ancient silk road and are quiet close to finishing up their trip soon! Anna and her friend (we forgot her name – sorry) had just started their trip in Osh and intend to cycle the Karakorum Highway to Pakistan! Not all the way to Islamabad because, as they put it, the last miles to the Pakistani capital were “a bit too terroristy” but to Gilgit instead. We were heavily impressed by the company we got to enjoy this night!
As we cycled off the next morning we realized that the very day the marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II!
Two Dutch, two Brits, and two Germans celebrating life in the middle of the Pamir mountains of Kyrgyzstan – We couldn’t think of a better way of celebrating 70 years of peace!