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Published: February 25th 2013
riding into KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan: Jalal-Abad, Jalioos & Perfect Riding (part 1) – 10 July 2012 – mile 10,018
its all beautiful rolling hills, tall Tuscan trees and....
Kyrgyzstan immediately feels different from Uzbekistan.
We're riding through beautiful scenery; gently rolling hills and you can't predict what's going to be over the next rise. Sometimes its a vast expanse of green dotted with tall slender tress that look like they should be in Tuscany, sometimes its harvested wheat fields, sometimes its bright yellow sunflowers in fields so big that they just disappear off to the horizon. Somehow there's a sense of freedom and you want to be riding through it.
We stop briefly in Osh to top up on money and petrol – both experiences totally unlike Uzbekistan. There you have to track down the “official” black market money changers and try at least 3 or 4 petrol station before you find one with petrol. Here its straight to the ATM then take your pick from the row of petrol stations. All topped up we head back out into the hills to a scenic lake side camp site.
The next day heading north from our lakeside camp the scenery is spectacular – quite unbelievable. Its up there as one of
the best days riding we have ever done. We even have time for a diversion into Jalal-Abad to see a very rare statue of Lenin - he's sitting down.
Back on the M41 we weave our way through the hills & sunflower fields. Its the main road to Bishkek, the capital, but its not that busy and its a good quality surface so we can blast along round the twists and turns. It's all a bit more Soviet than Uzbekistan. The Soviet style war memorials, road signs & statues of Lenin are back – most of these have been replaced in Uzbekistan. But you know for sure you are in Kyrgyzstan as all the gents are wandering along the road in their Ak-Kalpaks (traditional Kyrgyz felt hats).
We gradually climb higher and higher and the scenery gets better & better. These are the Kyrgyz Ala-Too Mountains, the western edge of the Tien Shan Mountain Range. They're full of folded and gnarled rock faces in amazing colours ranging from green to purple. We're following the Naryn River through the hills. As part of Kyrgyzstan's hydroelectricity programme there are 5 dams along this stretch “the Lower Naryn Cascade” - this
a traffic jam Kyrgyz style
and in the distance there's a petrol station - unlke Uzbekistan there plenty here and they all have petrol to sell!
makes for enormous stretches of beautifully coloured green and blue reservoirs which provides perfect reflections of the colourful mountains. Once upon a time the Naryn River used to flow all the way to the Aral Sea.
We keep going higher to a 3000m pass. The scenery is still spectacular so I have far too many photos and will have to split this entry to fit all the photos in. I never did get the hand of the “less is more” concept!!
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