Tuesday, October 15, 2013

At-Bashi to Naryn

Following an adventurous first two days into Kyrgyzstan, we elected for a half rest day in Naryn, just 45km north of At-Bashi. A bustling metropolis of 34,000 and peppered with soviet-era relics, Naryn was the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon.

We found a tourism office offering community based tourism (CBT). This seems to be an effort (along with the relaxation of visa logistics that was passed about one year ago) aimed at promoting tourism in Kyrgyzstan in a way that directly benefits rural communities. It's like airbnb, without the technology.

I like it.

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Hanging out at the CBT office offered us an opportunity to encounter some other tourists (the first noticeable (western) tourists that we've seen since we entered Kyrgyzstan). We met a girl named Helen, whose journey started out with pedaling a bicycle through Mongolia and Russia. When she arrived in Kyrgyzstan, she needed a break from the bike, so she bought a horse and has been trekking through the mountains on her own for the past couple of weeks. Seemed like a cool trip - but one that would be a lot more fun with a companion.

We also met a swiss couple who cycled here from Switzerland on a tandem! This might be one of the happiest and coolest couples that I've ever met. Full of stories and curiosity and a strong sense of adventure...and love. They just found out today that they were granted some extended visas for China...so their trip will continue south and east and for some time to come.

It is quite possible that, combined, we represented all 5 western tourists in this town on this particular day. And none of us had come by the main road (from Bishkek) or by traditional means (car). I thought there was something really, really cool about that.

1 Comments:

Blogger Helen said...

Impressive!

October 23, 2013 at 4:45:00 AM MDT  

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