After the very very hot Uzbekistan, I was enormously relieved to finally ride into the colder and more mountainous Kyrgyzstan!
People here are very hospitable and with the little bit of Russian I learned, I was able to perform some (very basic) conversations, which always ended up in drinking a lot of vodka. Probably to drink away the awkwardness and misunderstandings during our high-end talks. The vodka here is cheap (a few dollars for a bottle), and actually … surprisingly good! Even when they offer it to you at 9 am in the morning…
Driving through the Toktogul District, I bumped upon a funky horse game.
Rugby or polo on horses with a dead goat? It exists! “Buzkashi” or “Kok Boru” is one of the most famous traditional horse riding games in Kyrgyzstan (and central Asia). Goal of the game? Try to throw the goat carcass in the goal!
There are two teams with 12 participants each, which only 4 players of each team are allowed on the field at any time. It is played in two halves of 45 minutes and looks quite exhausting!
Sometimes they hang upside down onto the horse in order to be able to retrieve the goat from the ground. Absolutely amazing!
Riding further towards Bishkek I was surprised by the amazing bitumen! The Tieo Ashuu mountain pass in Kyrgyzstan was just truly mesmerising! Great views, no cars, nice weather and perfect cornering. For once I wished I had a street bike…
Off road heaven and abandoned buildings Since I’m in off road heaven, I decided to do a 4-day loop deep in the mountains crossing the Tosor pass, which has some notorious reviews online. Let’s see how my Belle will handle this 4000m high rocky pass! On my way to Tosor I passed by the Aalam Ordo complex near Issyk-kul lake. Constructed in 2009, It was a centre supposed to be for science, culture and spirituality. The community would live in more than 360 yurts. The former president’s vision was grand and they hoped to foster a new generation which could bring a nobel prize to Kyrgyzstan. Unfortunately it failed and is now abandoned. Yurts, fading murals and some statues are the only thing that’s left…
Climbing up the 4000 m alt. pass was hard. It was snowing, my engine was having a hard time due to lack of oxygen but I was enjoying the views and ride! Grass, gravel, rivers, mountains, snow, cold weather, difficult terrain, insufficient engine power and great views, this pass has it all! Going down the other side, I entered a lovely valley! It stopped snowing, the sky cleared a bit and from time to time the sun was able to cast her last rays onto the meandering river. This must be the perfect place to set up camp. So let’s do it and set up camp for the day!
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