Marta Bucholc, age 35, Head of Design in Web Agency, Rome, @we_wander_everywhere
Gabriele Ferrazzi, age 37, IT manager in production factory, Rome
We are a couple with exact same passions: traveling and photography. We both live in Rome in Italy, but only Gabriele is Italian, I am originally from Poland and have been through a long way till I get to meet a person to share my vision of life with. Gabriele traveled more than me visiting many countries in Africa and Asia while I had a chance to travel a bit to study and work in England, Ireland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and obviously Italy.
We have traveled together a bit in Europe through Italy, Norway, Czech Republic, Corsica, Greece or Netherlands. Gabriele joined me while I was working in UAE to visit together Oman and Sri Lanka. We have organized three weeks of self-drive safari in Botswana and just last year we drove through the entire Rajasthan in India. One of the most surprising trips we have done together was a trip to Kyrgyzstan in August 2018.
About traveling to Kyrgyzstan
I have hardly heard about Kyrgyzstan before, one day I have seen a polish travel blogger who was describing her experiences from Kyrgyzstan on YouTube and I got really curious. I felt I wanted to go in that very moment but only after we established our itinerary and booked the flights, the hotel for the first night and a beautiful brand new UAZ 4x4 to drive around independently I felt it was all real.
We have stayed in Kyrgyzstan for 16 days. Since we have rented a car we were picked up at the airport and then were able to proceed to the hotel we have booked for the first night in Bishkek, the capital city.
Ala-Archa is really stunning and offers many trekking paths with one of a kind views
The very next day we have visited Ala-Archa national park which is quite close to Bishkek. Wandering around the park for a few hours let us relax before the trip we were about to start. Ala-Archa is really stunning and offers many trekking paths with one of a kind views.
The very next day we drove towards Toktogul, a small town by the beautiful lake surrounded by quite particular mountains. Right after we headed towards Arslanbob, a tiny village, and large wild walnut forest. We slept there in a tent that we have put next to the river, such a suggestive night also because of the earthquake that woke us up in the middle of the night. Locals are used to those episodes but we got a little bit scared. Arslanbob has a lot to offer in between trekking or horseback riding in beautiful scenery composed of mountains, walnut trees, and waterfalls.
Another place worth mentioning is Tash Rabat, a 15th-century caravanserai located at an altitude of 3,200 meters. The origins of the building are still unknown but it could have been a 'guest house' on the Silk Road, serving caravans passing the mountains to nearby China. The way up is really picturesque and you will find loads and loads of chubby marmot hanging around.
Another night in a yurt we passed at the shore of Song-Kul lake in northern Naryn Province at an altitude of 3016 m. It is a beautiful place but it is known to be not so easily accessible, which we fully confirm. It wasn’t easy to get there especially in pouring rain but it was totally worth it.
We drove all around the great Issyk Kul lake admiring amazing mountain formations near Bokonbayevo or Karakol id the famous Jeti-Ögüz Rocks or Seven Bulls. We have closed the circle around the lake with a breathtaking Chong Kemin National Park where we have slept in a tent that emerged in nature.
About expectations and impressions
We had literally no idea what to expect. A couple of years ago the international tourism has been just starting to live so we did not have so many indicators beforehand. We knew we were going against a nomadic culture, yurts and beautiful landscapes, we knew nothing about the people or the local cuisine.
We went there knowing nothing, we came back full of memories and Kyrgyzstan in our hearts
The infinite wild nature unspoiled by a human, the local tradition you can see almost everywhere, the local people so proud and tough and resistant in any conditions, living side by side with wilderness, scenic roads and infinite drives through never-ending and always changing landscapes. All this experience was an amazing discovery that opened our eyes to some extraordinary places, beautiful traditions, friendly people and overpowering nature. We went there knowing nothing, we came back full of memories and Kyrgyzstan in our hearts.
About people and culture of Kyrgyzstan
There is a difference between major cities and people living in villages all around the country but one thing is sure, the culture and tradition are present everywhere. What particularly remained in our memory is bread. It is incredible how much Kyrgyz people respect the bread and how much effort they put in decorating every single piece with geometric and floral patterns.
The nomads are incredible people, living in quite harsh conditions at times, always smiling and ready to invite you in for some tea. For them it is such a natural gesture to welcome a traveling stranger into their home, they are constant travelers themselves. Kyrgyz people are very curious, they may look harsh at first but one smile is enough to make new friendships.
The nomads are incredible people, living in quite harsh conditions at times, always smiling and ready to invite you in for some tea
They seemed to be very sentimental also, since we were driving UAZ, one of their classics but it has been put back into production just a few years ago, men were quite often stopping us to ask a few questions about the car and just have a look. Kyrgyz people would never miss a chance to say hello and ask us where do we come from. We can easily say we felt welcomed everywhere.
About Kyrgyz national cuisine
We have tried various local dishes, monty, for example, is meat, onion, and fat-filled dumpling which is very tasty if you like a flavor of mutton. Lagman stands for meat, vegetables and noodles served in a broth, a yummy dish but messy to eat. One thing we did not appreciate that much was Kashk, fermented milk products. What we loved though is homemade marmalade. In Kyrgyzstan, GMO is not allowed therefore the fruits you can find there have such a natural and intense flavor as we remember from our childhoods.
We do have a dream. The city life starts suffocating us so we would like to abandon our office work, buy a truck and change it into a home on wheels, become full-time travelers having an online job.