Beyond Lake Issyk Köl

N41’49E75’23 (Kyrgyzstan), 19.06.2013

Today we made it, we left Bishkek finally! At 08:50 we arrived at the mechanic workshop with the team from Land Rover Almaty, and soon afterwards the Evoque was getting its final check. The front brakes got fixed, the rest we were told was OK and good to go. So we packed, took a picture with team Almaty and team Bishkek, fuelled up and left town. The first hour we drove on a bigger road and could speed up. Then the ascent into the mountains began and the road got worse. At lunchtime we finally saw it, lake Issyk Köl, one of the 10 biggest lakes and the second highest mountain lake in the world! What a sight, the deep blue lake with its turquoise borders in front of an endless mountain range covered in snow. Continue reading “Beyond Lake Issyk Köl”

One More Day to Wait

Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), 18.06.2013

We are so rested and recovered by now that we can probably drive from here to Delhi, India, without stops. This morning we were anxious to get back on the road, and started packing in the morning to check out and leave after breakfast. Since we had two days to get to the border, we skipped the “06:00 wake up and speed packing” program and took it a bit easier. Then at 10:15 my phone rings.

Continue reading “One More Day to Wait”

Resurrection

Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), 17.06.2013

Over the weekend we had made all kinds of plans B, C and D, researched solutions, routes, options. We had stayed in touch with friends that helped, contacted people that we hoped could help us to save our journey by getting the car going. And today was our all out fight to fix the situation and save this journey!

Continue reading “Resurrection”

Stranded

Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), 16.06.2013

An update for all those that don’t follow us on Facebook: we are still in Bishkek, and the Range Rover does not start. The guys at the car repair couldn’t fix the car on thursday afternoon, friday and saturday morning. We spent almost two days trying to find solutions, in a workshop where the air is filled with oil and diesel fumes and European and Russian pop songs of the eighties and nineties play merciless all day long.  Continue reading “Stranded”

Breakdown in Bishkek

Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), 13.06.2013

This morning started very slow at 06:00, admiring the lake and hills around the tent, with an espresso and some reading about our next destinations. China, Pakistan, here we come! After the Pamir Highway, the Karakoram Highway is the next challenge waiting for us. We left at 11:30, with a short drive to Bishkek on the agenda for today. The road went around a part of the lake and then into the mountains. Temperature went down to 9 degrees, the sky filled with clouds. The good tar road takes you easily to almost 3000m, in the green valleys local shepherds have pitched their yurts, sheep, cows and horses are fat around here, on the side of the street you can buy yogurt and cheese balls. Continue reading “Breakdown in Bishkek”

Through Green Velvet Land

Toktogul lake (Kyrgyzstan), 12.06.2013

The Pamir mountains landscape’s beauty is hard to top, and today was our hangover day. We woke up in this sh…, sorry, in this great hotel, with spacious clean rooms, modern shower, nice view. We tried to get some breakfast, but the crew of nine (!) young and uninterested kids for zero (!) guests managed to get us Nescafé tasting of old frying oil, vanilla ice with four cherries instead of the promised fruit yogurt, rancid condensed milk instead of normal one for the coffee, two boiled eggs that lost half their egg white as we peeled them, and eight small slices of bread we didn’t dare to try. That was it, the breakfast, and it came at snail speed. Continue reading “Through Green Velvet Land”

Back to Osh

Osh (Kyrgyzstan), 11.10.2013

Walking down to the river for the morning bath we were greeted by an army of oversize mosquitoes hungry for some fresh tourist blood. The bath was cold and refreshing, the mountain river felt so good after days of dust, camping shower and escaping strange locals. After breakfast we packed, and it was time to say goodbye to Diana and Nico, the German couple we met up here and not only hauled us out of the mud lake, but also revealed to be very fine people. Their trip is longer then ours and their car will take them to roads we won’t be able to drive on. Maybe we’ll meet again in Russia or Mongolia at the end of the year. Good luck guys! Continue reading “Back to Osh”

Hello Tajikistan

Murghab (Tajikistan), 05.06.2013

It was a rough start this morning. Drugged by the beauty of the Alau yesterday we forgot to mention that it was 5 degrees Celsius when we went to sleep and that I had started to breathe heavier once we had reached 3500m, feeling very exhausted in the evening after a rather normal driving day. Well, during the night the temperature further dropped. The last time we had camped in the mountains was in freezing cold Armenia, but this time it was worse. And I couldn’t sleep because of the lack of air, the heavy breathing. Continue reading “Hello Tajikistan”

Cruising through the Alau

Alau Valley (Kyrgyzstan), 04.06.2013

The day in Osh got us back our adventure spirit. It had been good to rest, forget the stress of the past days, get up to speed on things back in Europe, sleep, buy food and fuel. In the morning we went to stroll through the local market to get some fresh bread, fruit and vegetables. We even found an old man selling sweet popcorn out of an enormous sack he drove around. We spent another half hour for the few km to get out of this market and through the next one, traffic was crazy in Osh. At noon we finally hit the road and drove southeast into the mountains of the Alau Range. Continue reading “Cruising through the Alau”

Oshhhhhhh

Osh (Kyrgyzstan), 03.06.2013

Since the last couple of days were a bit stressful we needed a day of rest. Our next visa starts only on the fifth and it’s not too many kilometers into the mountains to reach the border, so we just stayed in Osh and took it easy for a day. Relax, do nothing, recharge. This will be a short post. If we think about the last hotel we stayed in longer, in Dasoguz (Turkmenistan) waiting for the visas, this is no comparison. And as we wrote yesterday, this is a run down soviet concrete block. In Dasoguz we were in the best hotel in town. But this place is so much more comfortable. A friendly security guy sitting in his chair instead of around ten strange guys sneaking around the hotel the entire day. In Osh we have internet (in the two days in Dasoguz we would have needed it) and it changes your day a lot, this way of communicating is fantastic, as our friend Aldo noted in an email exchange during the day. Continue reading “Oshhhhhhh”