Monday, June 06, 2011


Another day, another Central Asian Republic you may or may not have heard of. Actually, Kyrgystan is the main country I orginally wanted to visit in Cetral Asia. It had some polictical and ethnic strife last year but things are pretty quiet today and I have enjoyed two days of superb weather, which is great.
Monument, Victory Square, Bishkek.
So I left Almaty three days ago, found a mini-bus to Bishek at the bus station and within half n hour was on my way to the next country on my itinerary. Kyrgystan is a smaller country with a lot of mountains and  really nice capital city - Bishkek.
The journey here was through the steppe (plains) that I saw all over Kazakhstan. Yes, Kazakhstan has some amazing places. Also, a lot of nothing! Not that that's  bad thing.
Border crossings are always fun.
This statement is true if you change 'always' to 'almost never'. I would say never outright, but I am hopeful one day one country will throw a party in honour of my arrival. So far though...
So I was shunted through the Kazakhstan exit and then into and through the Kyrgystan entrance where I went to a special office to get my stamp and I got some evil looks like I was cutting the queue but well, I did wait in line as long as anyone else.

Theatre for Opera, Bishkek
 Anyways I found myself in a guesthouse with other travellers. This might be expected but I can honestly say in 18 days in Kazakhstan I only saw three other travellers like myself! Here there are at least 12 others at my guesthouse alone. Kyrgystan is a bit cheaper than Kazakhstan too which is nice, Astana in particular has no backpacker scene and thus is expensive.
So Bishkek.... nicest city so far in Central Asia for sure. Lots of beautiful parks. Yesterday walking around I saw wedding parties and even had a hit of table tennis in the park. The buildings are Soviet, and the mueseum has a whole floor devoted to Lenin, nevertheless it's very pleasant here.

Weddings, parties, parks in Bishkek
I have had a culture fix yesterday too. A Russian Children's play in the morning and then in evening I went to see an original Kyrgystan Opera! The army even came to see it! The stories created much conjecture as we tried to work out what was happening!
So tomorrow I am on to Karakol and the mountains tomorrow for around 3 days of easy hiking. Stay tuned!
Inside the Central museum, Lenin is well represented in bronze Soviet statues.

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