Almaty > Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 236km
We were about 30km from the border when we were pulled over by the Police. They took Charlie to their car and showed them a photo of us caught on their camera doing 107. Now, our 250’s would happily do 100++ on the flat, but this was uphill and into a headwind and there was no way! Charlie just kept saying no, no, no and when he called out to me from the car and told me, I just laughed. The Police soon saw the fake photo scam wasn’t going to fly, so they let us go.
The border crossing was very efficient, only about a half-hour. Not even interested in our bikes or checking any luggage.
Stayed at My Hotel in Bishkek, the most comfy beds, a substantial breakfast, a great place to stay.
Had a walk around the city centre. A mix of cultures here but a very strong Chinese heritage – we are still pretty close to China. Lots of fountains and gardens here too.
These drink vendors are everywhere, and very popular
Vans are the common bus here – waiting at the bus stop – different styles of dress.
Bishkek > Kadgi-Sai (on the shores of Lake Issyk-kol) 284km
We need to be in Osh by Friday to get our bikes serviced on Saturday, so we wont have the time to go right around this very popular lake. However we didn’t want to miss out on visiting it so are going to head to the southern side which is apparently more scenic and underdeveloped. The northern side is more developed as many visitors from Russia and Kazakhstan come here for their holidays (which is now).
It started out very hazy from the city and the mountains were hidden, but as we got further away the air cleared. Beautiful craggy snowy mountains off in the distance, changing terrain as we rode through, including a long gorge. Just beautiful.
We stayed at a small village right on the lake to “smell the roses”, spent some time on the beach enjoying the relaxed holiday atmosphere, perfect. The lake has thermal activity so the water wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be, and was very clear.
Spot the difference to a NZ beach – you don’t see too many camels on the beach at home.
Lots of shops selling these, and nearly everyone has one.
A different influence for café seating
Stayed at the Art Hotel, just a short walk to the lake – it’s a family business, lovely courtyard gardens, secure parking, big breakfast, lovely family. People often ask us how old we are – I suppose we are a bit out of the box from the usual age of adventure riders – so Charlie replied 66 and 63, to which he replied that he thought I was only 53! A gain of 10 years 🙂 I thought he was a very nice chap – haha.
Return to Bishkek
We don’t mind retracing our steps because it looks different coming from the other way, different time of day, clouds, etc.
Here are some pics of the journey, from both directions
Kids come running out all excited and wave
Yurts on the lakefront
On the way back we saw evidence of flash flooding, people emptying out the contents of their yurts, one had been crushed under a big tree that had fallen, flooding everywhere – all this happened since we were through this way yesterday.
Saw this ahead so stopped for a coffee and snack and …
… this is what it was like when we came out – only about 1/2hour later.
This little guy came straight up to us as we pulled in to shake our hands – made his day to have his photo taken sitting on the bike.