Rumsky's Australasia Walkabout travel blog

A warm welcome to Kyrgystan!

Our stunning route through the Kyrgyz mountains

Dramatically changing landscape

Top of the world!

We know exactly where we are....

Becoming re-aquainted with snow

Bush camping in the mountains near a family in a yurt

Top-down view of our campsite near yurt

Spectacular alpine views

More eye-candy

Harmless-looking man in characteristic felt hat

Man tries to grab Rinske despite two others fending him off

Our first herd of yaks

Remote camping spot by lake Sunkool

Delicious food in tiny spot in Karakol

These ladies run the best restaurant in town!

Yurt stay near Karakol

Our hostess prepares a delicious tea

Milking the mares is not easy

I help churn the fermented mare's milk

Butchering a horse for our meal

Rainy hike around hot springs near Issyk-Kol

Our itinerary....

Weird cultural center has a pool in one building

Fran makes a wish...

Cheetah petroglyph shows signs of previous wildlife inhabitation


Immediately after crossing the border, the terrain changed from Uzbek's primarily desert scrubland to Kyrgyzstan's lofty mountains. What a dramatic difference to go from hot, sunny days slathered in sun-screen to a cool, rainy climate complete with snow on the mountains. The culture also transitioned from a more "Middle Eastern" and Muslim feel to a nomadic people, still finding their way following independence from Russia. As a result of very little development, a lot of our time in Kyrgyzstan was spent driving through glorious mountainous scenery, passing yurts and tiny towns filled with clusters of cobbled-together buildings. We primarily bush-camped by lakes and rivers. One of my highlights of this country, and in fact, the entire trip was an evening spent hanging out with a semi-nomadic family. While they live in a tiny "town" in the winter, they spend their summers up in the mountains in a yurt, living primarily off of their horses. They treated us to delicious food featuring horsemeat and noodles, warm salty-milky tea and bread with butter and home-made preserves. We watched as they milked the horses and even helped churn the fermented mare's milk. I tried the milk and it wasn't too bad, but admittedly not something I have had a hankering for since! I had great fun playing with their two daughters and dealing with their sibling rivalry (that phenomenon certainly transcends cultures!). Altogether it was amazing to just be a part of their life for a day, made even more sweet by the welcomed break of staying in a communal yurt, altogether, instead of camping and cooking in the wind and rain!

Unfortunately my camera was broken and I borrowed several trying to splice together photos. I finally got a new one in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which was a mission in itself (to be explained in the next blog). The bad news is that my photos of Bishkek are very limited (ok, well, nonexistant), despite it being a fabulous city with some lovely fountains, squares, and monuments. We had great fun hanging out and I'm sure the long-sought-after sunshine helped with our positive attitudes towards Bishkek as well. Instead of staying with all eighteen-ish of our truckmates in a communal dorm, we decided to spend our anniversary savoring the air-conned privacy of a snuggly hotel room (and later yurt), complete with buffet breakfast, manicured grounds and refreshing POOL. Top this off with a nearby snazzy open-aired restaurant serving upscale Kyrgyz meals and especially, Blue Hawaiians (the real thing!), and we celebrated our 27th anniversary in fine style!

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