From 6 degrees to 30 in one day: when we reached Osh, we were happy to find that the old Soviet hotel we were staying in provided everything necessary to cool down.
We paused for a day and then made our way to Daschalal-Abad, always watching out for traffic police lurking in the shadows.
After 150 kilometers of very careful riding we were pleased to leave the asphalt and get onto a dusty gravel road.
It was beautiful riding until nature stopped us. A landslide completely blocked the way. The scary thing: when we got there it was still moving. Veeeery slowly, but moving. Like a giant.
We had no choice but to turn our bikes around. Luckily there was a detour. A small trail led up the mountain to surpass the landslide. Suddenly we were in the middle of a thick forest. The track got muddy and very difficult.
The landslide cost us at least half an hour. We were happy when we made it. And a bit tired.
When we got back on the gravel track to Karaman we were soon stopped again.
This time it was easier to break through and we soon reached a pass at 3000 meters above sea level.
We continued in the direction of the mountain lake Song-kul.
But we had no chance of reaching Song-kul that day. Somewhere along the way a black hole must have sucked up a few hours. Or our offroad riding was slower than we thought it was. Nevermind. It got dark. And suddenly we were in our first off-road night ride ever.
But the track was good. And after an hour of riding we reached a little village that supposedly had homestays. And we got really lucky. While in Germany parents teach their kids not to open doors to strangers, that’s exactly what happened here. When we were standing in the middle of the road with our bikes, a gate was opened by a ten year old and his six year old brother. Their parents were still in town but came back shortly afterwards.
After a good night’s sleep and some nonsense we continued our way to Song-kul. Between two hairpin bends wet met two Czech bikers who were travelling with their families in support vehicles.
What they told us about Song-kul did not sound good. They said the lake was completely in fog when they left. It didn’t take long till the visibility dropped significantly.
When we got to the lake, it had cleared up a little bit. A little donkey was practicing his first steps.
His older brother was curious enough to approach our KTMs.
In the meantime, some horses were minding their own business.
We decided to leave the lake and head towards Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek. The track got a bit muddy again, but we managed to stay on our two wheels.
At times the scenery felt a bit like a wasteland. A beautiful wasteland.
We came across a graveyard by the side of the road. In most cases people get small houses as tombs.
What might look like a bird’s cage at first sight actually resembles a yurt, the region’s traditional form of housing.
We were still right up there in the mountains. Here and there yurts dot the landscape.
500 off-road kilometers in two days taught us a whole lot. We didn’t mind getting back on asphalt though because we were running late again (there’s always time for photos though).
Just like the day before, we didn’t reach our destination before it got dark. Even worse: We got to Bishkek around midnight. This was mainly due to a tempo limit of 40 and its constant supervision. When we finally arrived at the hostel, we discovered it was not time to rest yet. A police car pulled up right behind us and wanted to fine us for crossing a solid line. It took 20 minutes, some nerves and the intervention of a bypassing businessman before they let us go. Then we found out that the hostel didn’t exist anymore… Back on our bikes, back to super careful riding while everyone else was speeding like hell.
We were in bed by two and had the next day to take a look at the city.
Bishkek is pleasant but not blessed with too many sights. In other words, pretty laid back.
The next day we went to the border and left Kyrgyzstan with mixed feelings. Fascinated by its beauty, grateful for the great off-road tracks and slightly annoyed by the ever-present police. Let’s see what Kazakhstan is like. Next stop: Almaty.