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Published: October 23rd 2013
Less than a day in Kyrgyzstan: From Irkeshtam to Sary Tash to buy food supplies and then off to the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan.
I entered Kyrgyzstan around 4pm after a long taxi ride through the no man’s land between China and Kyrgyzstan. The very first thing I noticed once in Kyrgyzstan was the snow-capped mountains everywhere around me: incredible scenery! I was in a new country, a place I had dreamed off for many years. In my mind Kyrgyzstan sounded mysterious, remote; a place where very few people go; a place that no one knows how to spell… I felt over the moon when I crossed the border and I screamed out loud “Hello Kyrgyzstan!” I was flying high!
I decided to ride as much as I could on this first evening before finding a quiet place to camp. After more than 2 months of riding in China (through the mountains of Gansu and the inhospitable Taklamakan Desert) I felt very strong but I apparently wasn’t completely ready for the roller-coaster of mountains Kyrgyzstan was challenging me with. It was all ups and downs and sharp inclines from the Chinese border to Sary Tash. It was so steep
and I guess the altitude got to me too. I found it hard to breathe but really enjoyed the scenery. I set up my tent in a field and admired the sky changing colors at sunset. I was in Kyrgyzstan and it was even more beautiful (and serene) than I expected.
The following day was a tough one to Sary Tash with lots of hills and wind. I stopped a lot to take pictures and catch my breath. I met some local cowboys and young kids herding sheep. Southern Kyrgyzstan is magical with very high peaks (up to 7000m high) covered in snow and beautiful blue sky in the summer. And my personal favorite: almost no one on the road! For anyone who wants to get away I would strongly recommend this area of the world.
Sary Tash is a village surrounded by green fields, blue rivers and rocky mountains. I stopped in a shop to buy lots of food as I knew I wouldn’t find any store on the road to Tajikistan for at least 3 or 4 days. In the shop I was able to buy yogurt, noodles, carrots, chocolate. I wanted to buy eggs but
the man didn’t understand what I wanted so I tried my best to imitate a chicken and pretending I was laying an egg… when I heard a very loud laugh from behind a door: the man’s wife came out and in perfect English told me “would you like some eggs?” Haha!
As I found out the Kyrgyz border to cross into Tajikistan was only 35km away and it was only 2pm, I decided to head for it. I hope you enjoy the pictures. I rode on a small road with grasslands on each side and big mountains looming in the background: absolutely sensational! I crossed the border and found myself in no man’s land at night time where I camped next to a big river. The following day would be tough with a sharp uphill until the Tajikistan border (from 3600m to almost 4300m of altitude).
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