Welcome back to all you Steemians! In the last post we wrote about our experiences in Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China and making it to one of the world's most remote border crossings, Irkeshtam.
Let's continue our journey crossing the border but on the Kyrgyzstan side. The border crossing itself was quite interesting and we met Yin Bin and Misha again who we had met in Kashgar. The border closes at lunch time and they had made it there just a few minutes after they had closed so we ended up meeting them there. They had managed to get a ride for free in a tourist bus that was going to pick passengers up at the border. The border crossing was fairly simple once it opened and we had no problems with immigration on the Kyrgyz side but we did however soon realise that hitchhiking to Sary-Tash, the next village, was going to be impossible as there was zero traffic and only a few taxis around.
Before getting a ride however, it was time to test out our first Kyrgyz toilet, it was an experience, let's put it like that!
After 20 minutes of negotiating with the taxi driver we managed to get a fairly good price and we all piled in, it was a bit of a tight squeeze in the back! Yin Bin had never seen snow before and after a few kilometres of driving we saw it, high up on the soaring peaks in the distance! We were all amazed by the dramatic change in scenery from the deserts of China to the lush green hills of Kyrgyzstan. We were all stunned by the beauty of the landscape. We spent the next couple of hours with our jaws hanging in amazement of the natural surroundings.
Halfway to Sary-Tash we saw a guy on sturdy horse and we stopped as the driver knew him. He was happy for us all to take it in turns to sit on his horse! It was a really magical moment for everyone especially because of the surroundings. A funny side note here, a few weeks ago the man with the horse actually wrote to us on Instagram, how he found our picture with him we don't know and this is after nearly 2 years, incredible!
We finally arrived in Sary-Tash, Misha and Yin Bin continued to Osh whilst the Japanese chap and us took shelter in a local home-stay. We shared a room and even had dinner and breakfast included in the price. Staying at the home-stay were a couple that had been cycling around the world for 11 years at that point (http://www.worldbiking.info/wordpress/) and are actually quite famous in the cycle touring world community. It was really inspiring to meet them and learn about their lifestyle.
Just before sunset we could see a snow storm hitting the mountains in the distance, the sight was incredibly dramatic but did make the temperatures plummet somewhat. Thankfully the home-stay had plenty of thick blankets to keep us warm throughout the night.
The next morning after breakfast we went for a small hike up to the peak of a hill near the house with our Japanese friend. The climb up was actually quite tiring as we weren't used to the altitude (over 3000 mts) but the views totally made up for it! It was the most amazing welcome to this spectacular country. Never before have we been somewhere quite so dramatic and full of natural beauty! We were really excited to see what else Kyrgyzstan had to offer!
As always, thank you so much for reading and if you have any questions please feel free to ask!
If you would like to see our video from this part of our trip you can find it below.
Here is a map of our whole route from Thailand to Spain: If you are interested in our route you can find it here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1dKeTjIFM0cgSP2Wefp8L3ZvOgTE&usp=sharing
Alex and Malin