Hi.

Welcome to our blog. We are starting to document our Silk Road journey.  We will start with some of the planning and preparation!

K4 - on the way to Bishkek

Just a normal day really.  Another monument where we stopped to have lunch.

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A valley where we stopped to have a walk for a couple of hours.

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An historic monument en route (Burana Tower - 10th Century) which Jim wanted to visit, which had an amazing site with lots of archeological finds.  The tower is the remaining minaret of a former mosque and fortress, belonging to the former city of ancient Balasagyn, a city established by the Karakhanids at the end of the 9th century. (Who were they?). The hills to the North lead into Khazakstan and the mountains to the South are the white peaks of the Tian Shen in China. (Heavenly mountains).

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A place to top up our water.

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Then we rolled up into Bishkek in time to watch Uruguay beat Russia in the World Cup.    Bishkek has yet to be explored but is relatively young, having been founded when the Uzbek Khan of Kokand built a small fort on a tributary of the Chui river in 1825.  It was an important stopover town connnecting several routes along the Old Silk Road through the Tian Shan mountains.  It got the name of Bishkek in 1991 and is now a modern city teaming with cars and people with a population of 1m.  Soviet period buildings still dominate the City Centre but new buildings are still emerging in a growing city.

The next day was fun as we went off looking for BF Goodrich tyres in the car parts section of town.  However, it seems that we can only source BFGs over the border in Kazakhstan in Almaty, a place for which we don’t have a visa.  We then met Ali who has a mate in Almaty and he is offering to get us our tyres!  We will see. 

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We then went off looking for Toyota oil filters and the correct Total Quartz engine oil in the huge car Bazaar and found them!   However we did not find a Toyota brand diesel fuel filter.  So something for me to hunt down another day. 

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Ethnically, Kyrgyzstan people are very mixed.  They can look like Russians or Europeans, but equally they can also look very Chinese and lots of things in between.  For example our garage man says his family originated in Turkey.  What is true is that Jim and I stick out as tourists. 

The Great Game and the Pamirs

Kyrgyzstan 3 - Horses