The morning walk up the hill through the forest and along the river was refreshing. Because of the 2100 m we did feel the altitude. In the park there were several campsites with fixed yurt’s to rent. Large family parties with food and drink were already making their way up when we drove down the hill to Bishkek which lies at 800 m. In the capital we managed to park Passepartout almost in front of an internet cafe. The coffee and sandwich wrap were good and the speed of the internet was adequate. Still it took over 2 hrs to get the text and the photo’s uploaded. Jamaliah was becoming inpatient. She had an appointment with the ladies team far out of town. In the end I had consumed all my allowed space for photo’s and had to pay for a second upgrade. Hopefully the transfer went OK.

Bishkek is actually a beautiful capital with large long tree covered streets. The atmosphere in the centre was very cosmopolitan. Lots of European (Russian?) looking people. The drive out was also relaxed with no dense traffic. We made a stopover at the Burana tower. This is the remains of a 11th century monument inside an older Citadel. Again there was little more than a hill and a sand ring left of the once fortified silk road stopover. On site there was a collection of 6 – 10th century Balbal’s as well as a small museum with artefacts found at the site (coins, lamps, brass belt buckles etc).

On the way to the meeting point/bush camp we got stopped by the police. I was driving 73 km/hr in an area where only 60 was allowed. Guilty as charged. With pictures the officer made clear to me that I was still driving within the city limits and hence only allowed 60 km. After some negotiation etc the fine dropped from 300 to 200 to 100 to 0 som’s. It is sometimes an advantage to not speak the language. We met up with the ladies and camped on a large field with a view of the mountains. Again a lovely spot to stop for the night.