Central Asia cuisine consists of simple and tasty, often hearty dishes – the kind of dishes that help you get through a harsh winter in the heart of the steppes. A mixture of Turkish-Asian-Russian influence and nomadic traditions, there is a lot of grilled meat (mutton, horse) but also vegetarian dishes made of fresh vegetables and herbs that colour the stalls of street bazaars. We took pleasure in watching these foods being meticulously prepared and then cooked in steam, in a wok or tandoor (traditional oven used in Uzbekistan). But most of all, we enjoyed eating them by hand – the traditional way of tasting food in Central Asia!
Big bags, full carts, dust, speechless faces. How not to notice us, with our big backpacks, stuck in the middle of a crowd of locals, our bright red burgundy passports in hand? Uzbek customs officers came to our rescue, all smiles: in all their careers, they didn’t have to see many tourists passing by Izbozkan, this small pedestrian border lost in the middle of the fields…
Bonjour, Hello, Ciao, Dober dan, Dobar dan, Mirëdita, Geai sou, Merhaba, Barev, Gamarjoba, Salam! Welcome in our series of travel stories which traces, chapter by chapter, our great hitchhiking travel. You are now reading chapter 12 of our travel stories: Getting higher – Roadtrip in Kyrgyzstan.
In 2012, Kyrgyzstan embarked on a major project to establish World Nomad Games, an sports event similar to the Olympic Games, in order to preserve and promote sports that are part of all around the world nomadic people cultures. These include horse-riding, hunting, wrestling, archery, tug-of-war and intellectual games (ossicles, marble games). For the third edition this year, the World Nomad Games brought together more than 2,000 athletes from 77 different countries, including France. And we were there!
Bonjour, Hello, Ciao, Dober dan, Dobar dan, Mirëdita, Geai sou, Merhaba, Barev, Gamarjoba, Salam! Welcome in our series of travel stories which traces, chapter by chapter, our great hitchhiking travel. You are now reading chapter 11 of our travel stories: Steppes conquest – Roadtrip in Kazakhstan.
Planning a trip to Kyrgyzstan? You’ve probably heard about the famous Ala Kul trekking and Altyn Arashan hotsprings – and maybe you’re even planning to go there!… We understand you: having the opportunity to hike in the green Kyrgyz mountains, walking on a ridge, somewhere at 3900m above sea level; picnicking on the shores of a high altitude lake and meeting Kyrgyz nomads doesn’t happen every day!… On the other hand, you may not know that it’s possible to make this trek without a guide and in complete autonomy? The exact location of the free hotsprings in Altyn Arashan? Nor how to prepare this trek, in how many days, with what equipment? All the answers to your questions can be found in this trek guide!
Borders almost closed, cult of the president, control of media: by crossing Turkmenistan, we knew that we were going to live a rather… unique experience! On the other hand, we had no idea how warmly Turkmen people finally welcomed us. After a short passage, we relive with you our Turkmen journey – an experience we won’t soon forget!
When we traveled in southern Kazakhstan, one thing struck us: endless arid steppes have just given way to huge mountains with green slopes and snowy peaks. We were delighted to see this mountain range – hiking is our passion, and mountains are our favorite playground! We wasted no time in asking locals: “What to see in the surroundings?” “Do you know any good hiking trails?” They gave us several names, showed us pictures, pointed out places on a map. Among them was Kaindy – a spruce forest sunk in a high-altitude lake, whose specificity aroused our curiosity…
In order to continue our adventure towards Central Asia, we had to travel through Turkmenistan. Problem: this country, rather closed, is known to regularly refuse visa applications, without any valid reason… We still tried our luck by making a request for a transit visa transit for Turkmenistan in Tehran, Iran. And we got it!