Posts Tagged ‘Kzyl Choo’


My tent is set up at the end of a sandy road, metres from the water lapping the shore of Issy Kul lake. The sun has just set, and I see the silhouette of the mountains behind the opposite shore of the lake slowly fading to grey. Today is the day of the lake.

Sun bathing on Issykul

Sun bathing on Issykul

Today has been a repeat of my trip to the lake with public transport. I saw the familiar town of Balychy, and even saw my train arrive.

The train to Issykul

The train to Issykul

I went for a swim behind the old soviet sign that we also saw earlier. I ran into a group of kids that cycled around the lake last year to raise money for the poor in Kyrgyzstan. This year they were playing football.

Soviet monument

Soviet monument

The group of footballers/cyclists

The group of footballers/cyclists

It was hard to get away from the masses to camp. I investigated the whole little sandy peninsula, including the massive pile of cars and swimmers near the yurts, before deciding on (what I thought) was a remote, secluded place. Unfortunately some more campers arrived and have just started their loud music. Oh well..


After nearly 2 weeks of rest in Bishkek, and a lovely visit from a friend from Germany, today I was not motivated at all to press on. I miss my friends, and felt lonely heading off eastwards towards the vastness and heat of China with little prospect of meeting a cycling partner for a while. The kilometres ticked by on the boring busy road with only diahorrea stops and food stops to break up the cycling.

Camping spot

Camping spot

In Bishkek the touring cyclists flocked to the ‘AT House’. There was always a tent city in the garden, people coming and going, and lots of bike and cycle route discussions. My friend from Germany, Tim, came to visit, bringing lots of spare parts for the bike. With a friend, transported in from my old life in Europe, it becomes clear that I have changed. Like the others, I sit and tell cycle stories, discuss routes, visa applications and the like. The cycle community has become my pool of peers. I don’t talk about work, deadlines, colleagues, management. The emotional depth of the discussions is the same. Just the topic is different.

Today, my close friends are now over 14000km away. On the good side, my Australian friends are a few kilometres closer.

I like my cycling friends and the great hosts Angie and Nathan in Bishkek. A group of us went away with Tim to see something of Kyrgyzstan. We chose Issykul – the second biggest alpine lake in the world. We camped near a mud-bath and salt lake, next to the bigger Issykul lake. Our day was spend rolling around in the mud, and drinking kymys in a yurt.

Wallowing in mud

Wallowing in mud

We got there by a 5 hour, 150km train ride for about 1 euro.

Ready for the train ride

Ready for the train ride

Tim and me in the train on the way to Issykul

Tim and me in the train on the way to Issykul

Now my break in Bishkek is over and the vastness of China looms. The trip, and life in general, is always in motion. Happy will be followed by sad. And then by happy again. Its OK to be sad sometimes.