The Russian summer

The Kyrgyzstan summer months evidently equate to the temperature edging closer toward zero degrees Celsius, without actually reaching it. And so our lightweight summer sleeping bags and tent were an absolute joy.

Summer in Kyrgyzstan

The first night in Kyrgyzstan was spent being rather cold. The two occasions throughout the night spent clearing snow from the tent were worthwhile, but also an indication of things to come.

We waited long enough in the morning for the weather to relent slightly, but not long enough for the Tonmurun pass to become passable. After the well-insulated Russian police at the passport check had told us the pass would not be possible on bicycle, we headed up to corroborate their claims. They were corroborated.

Barely halfway up, and with a ditch in the road as our only realistic option for some respite, a worried but kind Kyrg truck driver named Norlandbek stopped, looked in disgust that a man would treat his wife in such a way, and then placed the bikes into his truck. The snow drifts meant cars were not able to get through, but Norlandbek seemed to take the whole situation in his stride and delivered us safely down the other side.

In summary: don’t come to Kyrgyzstan expecting a summer holiday, unless – like Norlandbek – you are as hard as nails.

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