Hailing from a small island nation has its ups and downs. You lack the bad press that comes with being an American (unfortunate, yet true), but despite the best efforts of U2 and a legion of Irish pubs stretching from Boston to the Baltic, anonymity is often the best you can hope for. Having said […]
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Sakura Guesthouse was a lovely little family-owned establishment in Bishkek, run by a very pleasant Japanese couple. A popular destination, it had evidently been doing good business in recent times. There was a band-new accommodation block, the upper floors still being painted and decorated at the time of our visits. The reality was far-removed from […]
S-T-O-P. Not to be confused with a street name as I did Vodka mixers on sale at every corner The Bishkek Opera House Guarding the flag City Square
Ever since we arrived in the Stans there have either been these mini tank kind of things on the side of the road or drinking barrels on the side of just about every corner of town. While walking back from an unsuccessful visit to the Kazakhstan consulate in Bishkek my curiosity got the better of […]
The stop-start-stop cycle of visa extensions and applications has been a wearying and frustrating necessity for the BB team in the first half of our journey to Ireland. We’re sick and tired of waiting instead of riding. However, there is nothing much we can do about it. The only alternative would be to jump on […]
It seems that tourists here go one of two ways; Sitting around with cups of coffee and a cigarette hanging with a blank expression on their face waiting to be mucked around by the usual visa paperwork and governmental bureaucracy, or going on a kebab binge found on nearly every corner around town. Kebabs, known […]
Braking Boundaries: We do more riding by 9AM than most folks do all day. …especially when it’s 35 degrees by 9:30 and over 40 in the afternoons. We love the people of Uzbekistan, but not its summer climate. Thank God for Chai-kanas (teahouses).
We’ve seen a lot of horses grazing by the roadsides on our way from Almaty to the Kyrgyz border. Sadly, a lot of these fine steeds are not destined for the Grand National at Aintree or a lifetime of lazy equestrianism, but rather the dinner table for Sunday lunch. Horsemeat is quite a delicacy in […]
Arriving into a new city after a long day on the bike is not a good way to see us at our most alert. In our haste to to get settled into an actual guest house with a roof and working shower, rather than kipping in a tent in a thunderstorm, we often neglect to […]
Relates pages for this post Azerbaijan LOI (letter of invitation) Uzbekistan LOI Stan Tours Contact information Originally our plan was to spend a whole month in Kazakhstan getting to know the culture while pedaling the entire length of the 9th biggest country, but as we have fast learned on this trip, routes through this part […]
As I mentioned in the last post, for the most part the people of Almaty are very cold and unhelpful. Their city on the other hand is gorgeous. I took an afternoon to wonder the lush tree laden streets of Almaty and walk through their numerous parks. This is some of what I saw.
I mentioned in my post “First Impressions Count” about how friendly the people of the Kazak country-side were. If Almaty is the first place you come don’t hold your breath. The experiences I had with the people in the 5 days that we stayed here were far from pleasant, enough so that I have no […]
Converstation with my dad the other day when I phones to check in from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Jared : Don’t know when I’ll be able to call again as we have no clue what Uzbekistan will be like. Dad : How big is Uzbekistan Jared : About 26 million people or so, and get this. Apparantly […]
Quote from Katie as we went through a couple of dodgy tunnels in Kyrgyzstan “You need to 1-800 Korea this shit”
Bishkek to Osh: 6 days on the bike, but a mere 50 minutes to fly back on the plane.
I thought it would be worth a mention as to how to catch a taxi in Almaty as it is definitely nothing like hailing one of the million cabs in South Korea or China. It’s relatively straight forward really. Simply stand on the road with your arm out in a downward fashion 45-75 degrees to […]
Kazakhstan fast become the land of little luxuries for Team BB- 3 nights in a real apartment, home-cooked dinners, regular food in the supermarkets. A far cry from sleeping in tents in a sun-streaked desert, washing oneself with a parboiled packet of baby-wipes. In fact, I think one or two of us would probably have […]
As mentioned in previous posts, while in Almaty a bunch of vacationing Peace Corps helped us out. One of the most useful things they taught us was that there are apartments for rent in most major cities at less than the price of a hotel room. So after spending a couple of nights in a […]
Katie and I have tried to keep up a daily (most days anyway) routine of push-ups to help keep our backs strong after a day of being hunched over our handle bars. That includes finishing late at night in a desert.
On day 3 of riding in Kazakhstan, with no water left and after a rough and windy night in the desert, we pulled in to a little oasis happy to be able to refill our bottles. While consuming various sugary drinks, two Belgian cyclists pulled up. They had just come from the Sharyn Canyon and […]