Tag Archives: Holidays

Day 9 – Bishkek and posh frock…..again.

Our yurt!

Not a bad night. A certain little Amir stirred several times but very quickly went to sleep again. He was up at 7 though so an early start for us all.

Breakfast in the big yurt and then back to Bishkek.

Fairytale canyon

The original plan was to visit a local majestic formation in the mountains, the fairy tale canyon, but unfortunately Sultan had to fly to Tajikistan that afternoon, and we needed to get back for the children getting out of school.

So we retraced our steps and travelled to the intersection of the north and south roads around Lake Issyk-kul to pick up Aina’s Mum. We stopped for second breakfast at a local spotless cafe for coffee and a break before the longer drive to Bishkek. The mountains had more snow on them today.

The children were delighted to see Mum and we were then reminded that we had been invited to a second reception with the U.K. ambassador at a local hotel. So the posh frock came out again. And we met up with the pipe band and Highland games athletes once again. We were delighted to see the young Highland fling dancer demonstrated the sword dance.

UK ‘athletes’ demonstrating once again at the Ambassador’s reception.

We also met several people we had seen at the previous reception and got into conversation with the Chief Executive of a local tour company about the potential that Kyrgyzstan has in the tourist market. As a result we were invited out for lunch next day to discuss this more!

Day Two – Sauna and Trout.

Ian slept well although I had a bit of a restless night. More due to time change than our bed I think. Over a leisurely breakfast of bread bought from the baker on the street corner, Kyrgyz honey with seeds, natural yoghurt, various cheeses we chatted more. Altynai and Umar ate rice porridge and buckwheat porridge respectively.  Literally as it sounds, grain with milk cooked in the microwave with added sugar. They are off to school for an induction day. One very pretty little girl was beautifully dressed.

Then Aina proposed a leisurely day rather than a long drive or flight to another part of the country so we drove up in the mountains to a spa hotel, to enjoy sun, swimming and sauna. No sun though, just clouds; the weather had changed from mid 20s to just 18 degrees and in the afternoon it rained!

So we spent four hours relaxing, swimming, having a massage. Now the latter was a different experience from back home. No preamble, please remove your clothes, no privacy to do so or towels to cover up, and a massage that started and ended with the feet. No great time spent on neck and shoulders. Having said that, it was good! Aina had a chocolate wrap…..

Time for lunch thereafter at 4pm although we have had plenty to eat and I had not felt hungry earlier. We stopped in at a trout farm/restaurant where Umar had been previously where you catch your trout which is then fried for your lunch. Luckily (?) the fish were not biting so we selected from the menu. A very interesting but tasty lentil soup for Ian whilst Aina, Umar and myself shared kebab and salad. Washed down with tea of course, jasmine this time. Ian had two cups of coffee none being in evidence on previous days. The trout farm had special enclosed rooms for Groups. 

Home to pick up Altynai and Amir from nursery, and time to relax before going out for dinner. Not so much relaxing as playing with a little rogue on a sit on car! Amir spends his time bombing round the place, getting into everything he can reach, with a wicked grin on his face.

Dinner in a very posh restaurant, still not expensive, but with the best kids play area I have yet to see, with a series of dressing up and pretending rooms. These kept all three children amused whilst we enjoyed dinner. Ian had mutton chop with seared veg and cheesey potatoes, Aina had sushi, and I had grilled trout with orange marmalade. Well, we had intended trout up at the fish farm. The little ones had pizza. 

Aina told us the Kyrgyz people never ate fish until the Russians came and introduced the concept. Despite lakes full of fish, and people starving, they never thought to eat the fish.

And so Day two ended.

Travelling to Kyrgyzstan

And so our adventure begins. An overnight stay at the Holiday Inn next to Edinburgh airport, highly recommend this for a reasonably priced but comfortable stay, off to the long term parking and at the airport in really good time. All very smooth so far. Onto a plane with Turkish airlines and left on time. Loads of films to choose from although I was not in the mood and went for a downloaded episode of my current serial The Good Wife.

So what is our adventure going to be like? A good question. We don’t know a lot as yet. We are staying with our host in Bishkek for a couple of days and she has suggested exploring Bishkek and then off to the World Nomad Games some 70 kms away and will be taken from there to view the beautiful mountains and lakes. 90% of Kyrgyzstan is over 1500metres I read on Wikipedia. That’s higher than Ben Nevis!

Trip advisor tells me there is not a lot to see in Bishkek. Having been invaded by a series of people’s since the Mongols, and latterly being a communist country under the Russians, the buildings are very utilitarian, it says and not many truly historic monuments remain. There are some interesting looking bazaars which I am really looking forward to seeing. And smelling I guess as there are bags of spices and loads of breads.

The mountains and lakes appear glorious. There are a number of blogs on the internet from travellers who seem unanimous in their praise of the beautiful sights and friendly people. And some hot springs it seems. (I also noticed that there is a high chance of earthquakes in Kyrgyzstan, something I have not yet experienced. Not sure if that is a wish or a fear!)

The World Nomad Games look to be the big pull in the country. Really looking forward to these. Again loads written about them and loads of photos.

And finally what will living conditions be like? Aina commented on all my nick nacks round the house so I am expecting a fairly simple style of living. Will the toilets be European? Will I remember to take my shoes off before entering every house, yurt, home stay? Will Ian, 😊! The food seems to consist of lots of meat, beef, horse, lamb, goat, chicken, noodle broths, bread and it’s a good thing we are not vegetarian- apparently there is no catering for vegetarian very few vegetables on offer. Lots of fruit though. Then we have Kumiss to look forward to, fermented mares milk.

I am looking forward to staying in a yurt at some point. There will demos at the games on constructing a yurt. That too I am looking forward to as well as a Master Chef competition between 6 countries. Cooked on an open fire, the advert says.

But all of that is 14 hours away after two five hour flights and a four hour stopover.

Exciting, scarey, possibly challenging. We shall see.