Kyrgyzstan: Jalal-Abad, Jalioos & Perfect Riding (part 1) – 10 July 2012 – mile 10,018

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July 10th 2012
Published: February 25th 2013
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riding into Kyrgyzstanriding into Kyrgyzstanriding into Kyrgyzstan

its all beautiful rolling hills, tall Tuscan trees and....
Kyrgyzstan: Jalal-Abad, Jalioos & Perfect Riding (part 1) – 10 July 2012 – mile 10,018

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 stylea traffic jam Kyrgyz stylea 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!!

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 23


sunrise at our lake side campsunrise at our lake side camp
sunrise at our lake side camp

its actually Andijan Resevoir
Lenin & local heros, Jalal-AbadLenin & local heros, Jalal-Abad
Lenin & local heros, Jalal-Abad

apparently seated Lenins are quite rare - allegedly there are 4 in existence.
Soviet style roadsignsSoviet style roadsigns
Soviet style roadsigns

it has a much more Soviet feel than Uzbekistan with all the roadsigns & war memorials
but all the gents are wearing their Ak-Kalpakbut all the gents are wearing their Ak-Kalpak
but all the gents are wearing their Ak-Kalpak

the traditional Kyrgyz felt hats
repairs Kyrgyz stylerepairs Kyrgyz style
repairs Kyrgyz style

when a car breaks down you don't move it, you just fix it on the spot
its only 9:30 but its already over 35Cits only 9:30 but its already over 35C
its only 9:30 but its already over 35C

at least the the watermelons are being kept cool - there are as many here as there were in Uzbekistan
double decker livingdouble decker living
double decker living

plus a European Roller on the wires
heading for the hillsheading for the hills
heading for the hills

97% of Kyrgyzstan is covered in mountains. We're heading for the Kyrgyz Ala-Too, the western end of the Tien Shan
snazzy colourful hillsidessnazzy colourful hillsides
snazzy colourful hillsides

TashKomur mining town - built in 1943 by the Soviets - it was once the largest Industrial town in Central Asia.
the cement factorythe cement factory
the cement factory

to be fair we haven't seen that much polution since we have been here

26th February 2013

scenic scenery!
Its fascinating how each country varies, how beautiful the scenery is and how well organised rural populations are. We do tend to forget there's a whole world out there where people are just getting on with their lives - and they are so very different from our own in many ways but interesting, but in some ways similar. I love the hats, I bet they need them come winter. And the roundabout? This region looks like a very enjoyable bike riding sector - not too rough? or is that yet to come?

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