hiking

Headless horseplay: goating around in Kyrgyzstan 

(A slightly-delayed post from the summer…be warned it’s a little long!)

Two weeks in Kyrgyzstan, a small, mountainous, partially “democratic” ex-Soviet republic in Central Asia – this land of soaring peaks and stunning green-carpeted vistas was the antidote to our city-hopping in Uzbekistan. Two weeks turned out to be not nearly long enough to explore properly as there are lots of places to go to, and travelling around is quite slow and frustrating. There is almost no public transport – between popular places there are shared taxis and minibuses, but as soon as you leave the most central highways, you’re utterly reliant on hitchhiking. More prepared travellers than us arranged car hire, and on balance this would have been a great idea, though apparently there are very few cars available to hire so you must book far ahead. Plus, the number of crashed-up car wrecks we passed on the side of the road suggests it’s not the safest place to drive… However, once we had managed to get to each place we wanted to visit, we had a fantastic time! (more…)

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Travelling solo in Java

“Hellllllo mister!” (The ubiquitous greeting in Indonesia)

“Where are you from?”

“England”

“Are you travelling on your own?”

“Yes”

“Do you not have any friends?!?!?!?!?”

This was the oft-repeated exchange I encountered during the two weeks I just spent traversing the Indonesian island of Java, from the sprawling capital of Jakarta on the western end to the port of Banyuwangi on the eastern point, tantalisingly in clear sight of Bali. Indonesians really don’t understand the concept of travelling solo, and I was continually asked in puzzled tones like this where were my family or friends!  (more…)