If there is one country I would return to in a heartbeat…

By Kara Van Malssen

…it would be Kyrgyzstan. This small, mountainous country had us completely enamored from just about the moment we crossed the border from Uzbekistan (which, though we have much love for, we were ready to leave). The beautiful landscape, friendly people, and easily accessible ATMs were welcoming and comforting. Here, let me show you:

Shortly after our arrival, we noticed the landscape was becoming hilly.
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We camped by the river our first night, just next to a necropolis. As we have been known to do.
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There was some good stone skipping action.
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The next day was one awesome mountain ride across the country from our campsite near Kara-kul to the capital, Bishkek.

View Karakul to Bishkek in a larger map
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We met some cool kids on cool bikes while we stopped for gas, money and food
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We ate a nice lunch
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Then we were back on the road, climbing a big mountain (approx 3500 meters)
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We saw how the mountain people live
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And tried some of the local kumis, fermented mare’s milk.
Mmmm...fermented mare's milk....

The reactions were mixed
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Before we knew it, we were approaching the chaotic capital of Bishkek.
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It had been one of the best driving days of the trip.