One month of winter
We finished our trip in Central Asia by visiting Kirgizstan and Kazakhstan, two similarly different countries. Meeting the snow we enjoyed some of the winter sports!
Travelling to Central Asia is like going to a cinema you only know the title of. Very little information about these countries appears in the news flow in Sweden, and if someone actually know the name of the capitals they would be considered really knowledgeable. Arriving here you really don't know what to expect, but maybe you would guess that all of the countries are quite similar while at the same time very different from Europe.
Crossing the border from Tajikistan to Kirgizistan you immediately notice that there is horses everywhere, and a lot of men are riding as they are herding. In Tajikistan shepherds were walking or using donkeys to carry firewood. We were surprised to see how many different cultures that meet on this geographically small area. There are regional languages. Chinese, mongolian, arabic, russian or persian influences. History of being a nomadic people or settlers. Entering Kazakhstan the landscape also changed from pointy mountains with lakes to gigantic flat fields.
Of course there are also similarities - like the rice dish Osh or Plov; the Turkish influenced language shared in Kirgizistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan; and the history of being part of Soviet Union. People on the countryside still live a quite simple life in all of the countries, but the big cities are more or less similar to Ukraine and Moldova. The cities offers a rich variety of things to the inhabitants with frequent public transport, a lot of shopping, entertainment like concerts and cinemas, as well as excellent cafÃ©es and restaurants.
The winter came suddenly with snow landing softly on the cold streets making everything look white, cute and fluffy. Of course we wanted to try out some of the winter activities offered in Central Asia. The most popular is downhill skiing and ice skating, but we also went to a hot spring and some sauna bathing. One of the best things we did was a day tour horseback riding up a mountain and then free riding down on skies. Linus made a short video with the highlights from our skiing in Karakol. Check it out :)
After being 7 and a half week in Central Asia we now have a lot better knowledge of the region and what to do here. We would love to come back to visit Kirgizstan and Tajikistan in summer to hike in their mountains to many of their beautiful lakes. (There is a train from Moscow to Bishkek that would be convenient). However, one of the drawbacs with the cities here in Central Asia is the pollution from old cars and coal fired fireplaces. For this reason we have sometimes been hiding out inside. Compared to the air quality in Eskilstuna, 8, Bishkek is really polluted, 118, according to a new cool website visualising the air pollution. Check out your city!
As it hasnâ€™t always been super easy to get around, especially with regard to communication, we have sometimes spent hours just getting a couple of kilometers to the right place in a new town. There have also been times when we just point at the menu hoping for the best. There have been disappointments, frustration and happy surprises. However one of the best things with travelling this way is that you will appreciate the comfortable life you have at home even more when you get back!Album of Kirgiz- & Kazakhstan:
Why a Honeyyear?
The honeyyear is part of our ambition to live a more sustainable life. We want to explore the world, enjoy the amazing things in life and grow as human beings - all in a sustainable way. Travelling the old silk road by train will be a great adventure to start with! Read more here >>
Design: Johanna Lakso | Updated: 2017-07-30 in Stenungsund