My trip to Kyrgyzstan was so different from my trip to Armenia. Both are post-Soviet countries and both are very mountainous. Also, as a means of public transport, you mainly travel overland with marshrutkas – and the people rarely speak English but Russian. Both countries are also comparatively cheap and the people are friendly.
And yet my two journeys could hardly have been more different. While in Armenia I was constantly saddened by the unhappy history, the smouldering war, the patchwork constructions, the brute Soviet architecture and the poor economy, in Kyrgyzstan I was rather cheerful. The worries were masked by grandiose scenery, pleasing architecture and positive people. Today I wonder to what extent this impression has to do with me, my point of view, my approach to the environment. Did it only seem so pleasant to me because I was “in a good mood” myself? And how much influence did the much laughing Rakhat have on this?
After my bumpy start with flat grey landscape and Soviet dreariness, everything quickly turned into the opposite and I felt as if I had found my second favourite country after India.
In Armenia, I was eager to learn more about the history and today’s situation, trying to sort out the new impressions and translate them into pictures and words. In Kyrgyzstan, the tourism worker in me was in full swing. I constantly had ideas about how to prepare something for guests, was curious to explore and implement it in tour plan sequences, and seriously considered expanding my travel offer. Not that it didn’t cross my mind in Armenia, again I think I had found something that could be a good experience for travellers. Maybe it was because I was travelling with another tourism worker, especially at the beginning. We also talked a lot about possibilities – but constantly slowed down by thoughts about Corona and the Russian war. And yet ideas kept popping up.
But Kyrgyzstan is also a great country! Just this varied mountain landscape. So much beauty and so much to discover. Coupled with its own national history and its long time in the Soviet Union, the result is an extremely rich entity with many facets, which promises an extremely interesting experience.
It was also clear to me that this trip was only a small impression for me, which definitely needs to be expanded by at least one more trip. I was able to enjoy my limited 3 weeks very well with the thoughts “Next time…”.
What I found funny was that I realised that I am not a “good traveller” at all. I need a project, a job – something that connects me differently to the place. In Armenia, it was kind of my own translation of my impressions. I was thinking more along the lines of “writing an article” (which I haven’t done to this day 🙁 ) and finding my own words and pictures. Here in Kyrgyzstan, I looked a lot at how it could actually be implemented for others in terms of travel. And as in India, I was eager to discover special things and to experience them on myself.
Besides all these “work thoughts”, however, I was often just happy when I was roaming around in the mountains. That always works – no matter which mountains wherever. And I also did a lot of other walking, always with my camera around me, slowly hunting for details, impressions and discoveries. It was indeed a round trip with variety, composed of mountain hikes, city walks and marshrutka/collector taxi rides. And of course not forgetting the wonderful people I met and spent some time with. Every slower movement holds opportunities for small moments of happiness, triggered by discoveries, encounters, surprises – and sometimes digestion of the experiences, when simply nothing big or small happened at all. It is these experiences that I enjoy so much myself – and would also like to make accessible to others. Yes, that’s exactly how it is.
So I am very positive about Kyrgysztan. There is only one problem: this great meat-heaviness. And with that, the preference for fatty mutton. Culinarily, it was a limited pleasure on the trip – and next time I would probably take vitamin tablets with me.
After every trip to a new country/territory, I ask myself: would I want to come back? With Kyrgyzstan, it’s a big “yes”. I’m curious if and when that will take place.
And after all those words, here are a few pictures with me on them – and a video!
It’s actually stupid to have the highlight time right at the beginning. On the other hand, I was already in a good mood and relaxed and very positive. And when I look at the pictures with me: I should have more of these.