Bishkek is another big city with many buildings dating back to the Sowjet times. We don’t do much of sightseeing; the grey and rainy wether is not really inviting to stroll through the city. In a big shopping center we update ourselves for the continuation of our last bit of journey: we buy some additional windstopper gloves in a sports shop.
We spend two evenings with a nice German couple, Ursula and Fritjof, whom we meet in our hotel. We go out and have a nice dinner in a Japanese restaurant, where we get great sushi. The price for it is nothing compared to what we would pay back home. It’s an ideal place to fill our bellies!
The next morning the sun is shining from a blue sky, but it is cold outside. We have put on warm cloths, as we did when starting our trip in March: long trousers, buff, jacket, long pants, ski socks, covering shoes, hat and of course our new windstopper gloves.
We are in a good mood. A day with tail wind is ahead of us – although it finally resulted in only a half day. Like that, biking is really fun. We take some last pictures of Bishkek. With the sun shining, the city looks completely different! As soon as we get out of town we face a fantastic picture: the mountains are covered with snow, the leaves of the trees are coulured, the steppes shine in a great golden colour. And every once in a while we see a herd of horses. It couldn’t look better. We enjoy the day, every one of us is just pedaling, letting thoughts wander trough – nothing special happens, and nevertheless it’s a beautiful day. We enjoy the moment. Early enough we start looking for a calm camping site and find it nearby a side road, with hardly any traffic. As the evenings get rather cold, we bought a huge plastic that we can spread over our biciyles. Like that we can sit underneath it and get some windprotection and keep some warmth while having dinner. Back to basics!
October 2nd is a day to memorize. After a strenuous ride with some meter of hights and haedwinds as usual and passing an impressing valley we made it. Our speedometer shows the magic number 10’000km! We stop, take our pictures and celebrate the event with a piece of cake and a sip of cognac. Even though we would’nt mind drinking some more cognac but we are reasonable enough not to do so as we still have a couple of km ahead of us! Markus and I realise that even though we just biked 10’000km we are not overhelmed at all of the fact as such – it is more the way to get that fare what makes the difference. We definitely wouldn’t like to miss any piece of this great experience.
In the late afternoon we finally get to the lake of Issyk Köl, which is the second largest alpine lake of the world, after the Titicaca Lake. We have reached a hights of 1700m. This will be the case for the next couple of days. The landscape is unique with mountain ranges on both sides of the lake. It is only a petty, that rather a lot of builfing ruins disturb the nice view.
The area around the lake is very touristic, at least during the months of July and August. The Kirgise people are spending their weekends along the lake and in the nearby mountains, hikers stay here for trekking or horse riding tours, people are swimming in the lake, rent some jet skis – everything is available as we are used to. But we are here in October! Almost everything is closed. All the little shops where you can buy food and drinks, souvenirs, local products have been closed for winter. The same applies to all the hostels and guesthouses. We really have difficulties to find a place to stay. Finally we find this ugly hotel that we don’t want to keep in our minds. It is a mixture of rehabilitation center and hotel but not comparable to any Swiss standards. It is a huge Sovjet building, which would need some repairs and restauration. At least the garden area is nice. The rooms are clean but not cosy at all. In the reception room, there are all these awards the hotel has received in the past – we are wondering how they got it, looking at the rusty bathroomhandles. While Markus is handling the administration I wait in front of the hotel, looking after our luggage and our bikes. Other guests are looking at me as if I just arrived from the moon. Out of their discussion I figure out that they are talking about us. Finally we get our room for the night. We are happy to have our sleeping bags with us. At least this gives as a little bit a feeling of “home”. Dinner and breakfast times are strictly given: breakfast is from 9.00am to 10.00am, dinner is from 7.00 ti 8.00pm. Unfortunately there are no alternatives around. But somehow we will survive the next two days in this surrounding.
The next two days the wetherforecast predicts rain, that’s the reason why we stay here. Once we leave this hotel we will have to camp for 2 nights. We prefere to camp when the good and sunny weather is back!