Statue of stron Kyrgyz msn
In Bishkek, after over a month of traveling, we managed to get a portion of pictures from the trip out on Flickr.
They can be viewed at:
Our Common pool, witch is not completed yet is at Strangeways pool

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek is the Capital of Kyrgyzstan. Until a few years ago it was called Frunze, named after a bolshevik hero. Since the new rulers are not very bolshevik they gave the city its new name almost similar to the old name Bishpek.
We have spent a couple of days here at a truck park. It's a bit funny how we always end up at such places. It may have something to do with our habit of arriving places late in the evening with a big bus. Anyway, it's a nice place. A bit shabby but with nice and helping people. We have had some time to build more furniture in the bus. Yesterday we played football with some of the truck drivers. Some of them even spent the whole evening with us, jamming and singing kyrgyz folk songs for us.
There has been some time for the usual holiday activities as well such as visiting local bazars, looking at the President Palace and bla bla. Most exiting was a trip to the local banja, a kind of public bath with sauna. Since foreigners seemed not to be very common at this place, we got a lot of friendly attention and good advice. Two hours later we came out of the place cleaner than any of us have felt ever before. At least more clean than we have been since we left home.

When we came to Bishkek we were met by the only Norwegian living here, Ivar Dale. He gave us a guided trip through the uptown part of the city's nightlife. We ended up at Bishkek's most posh place, were a band played cover versions of early 90's hits.
Mr Dale, the very helpful man, has offered us to use his office to do some research on the Pakistan business. Therefore we will stay here a couple of days more than we had planned. We hope to get back to you with more info on our route in the next days.

Andreas comes to town on Tuesday, and then we head towards the mountains south east of Bishkek, on the way to China.

We have added some new pictures to the blog. Scroll down a bit to find them. More pictures coming up soon.


Ps: I`m adding a couple of photos, one from our fantastic Central Asian dinner with Ivar, a night that ended in splendor at a posh nightclub dancing to the music of the Kyrgyz band "Liquid Cactus". The other one taken from the back door of the bus, and depicts two of the guys we`ve been hanging out with at our current truck stop. It`s a good place, with nice people running a café, and a truck driver called Russland who plays guitar as well as the local Kyrgyz three stringed thingy I can`t remember the name of at the moment. The two guys on the picture are listening to a recording Torkild made of Russland playing. Thank you Bishkek, thanks Ivar and Alina, thank you Angela who washed our clothes, and thanks to the friendly truck stop people (especially our young friend Roskilde). Now on to the beautiful lake Issyk-kul. Ingrid

Steppe, ørken, badeferie

Etter skyskrapergalskapen i Astana har vi hatt noen dager med mye kjøring og de sedvanlige overnattingene på truck stops. Bursdagen til Torkild blei feira med øl og vodka, på et truck stop, selvsagt. Vi begynner å bli gode på truck stops. Vi kan omtrent alle fra Murmansk til Astana. Slikt står det ingenting om i Lonely Planet, kanskje vi skal skrive et kapittel for dem om det.

Da vi nærma oss Balkash-sjøen var vi heldige og fant noe som viste seg å være en slags resort for folk fra Karaganda, som vi hadde kjørt forbi litt lenger nord. Bak en anonym fasade åpenbarte det seg asurblått vann og en stor sandstrand. Balkash-sjøen er verdens fjerde største innsjø. Forstå det den som kan, men det har seg sånn at den vestlige halvdelen består av ferskvann og den østlige delen er saltvann. Vi var ved ferskvannsdelen. Bortsett fra at det var ferskvann og at alle rundt oss snakka russisk, var det som å være ved Middelhavet. Bussen ble parkert i en låst bakgård, og vi feira Marias fødselsdag. Dagen etter blei en fantastisk dag med bading, avslapping og tid til å bygge litt i bussen.

Etter denne lille badeferien la vi ut på veien igjen mot Almaty. Steppene blei til ørken, og bortsett fra noen kameler i ny og ne var det lite å se før vi kom til et sted der det var satt opp en lang rekke med boder hvor det ble solgte shashlik, grillspyd. Mens vi spiste slakta de lam rundt oss. De skulle på grillen dagen etter. Eksotisk.

Ny dag i ørkenen, og nå er vi i Almaty. Her blir vi en dag eller to før vi kjører videre mot Bishkek.

Astana - under construction

We had a somewhat rough transport to from Kostanaj to here. About 200 km north af Astana we became involved in a traffic accident. A man was hit by a speeding car, and rolled under the bus. We had to pull him out and someone brought him to hospital. He lost a leg, but is otherwise ok. We had a long night together with the police. Guro, who drove the bus at the time of the accident got status as witness. We had a long and exhausting night, but everybody is ok now, and we are happy that the man survived.

We have been in Astana for two days, and had some time to be tourists. Astana is a huge construction site where scyscrapers and official buildings are shooting up everywhere. They are building a new administration centre that is planned to be opened in 2030. Some buildings are already finished, among them an arch de triumphe that looks like a newer version of Brandenburger Tor, the President Palace (not very different from the white house in Washington), and a 105 m tall tower with a golden apple. Inside the apple you can place your hand in a golden handprint of president Nazarbayev himself. Together with a 360 degree panorama of the city and the surrounding steppes - Its nice!

Last night we celebrated Martin's birthday at a Jamaican restaurant together with Martins cousin Simone and her boyfriend Alex. Good food, no reggae.

Today we wil hit the road again, heading south towards Almaty.


Due to the tense situation in the northern Pakistani region Kohistan, we are now considering whether we will drive the Karakorum Highway through Pakistan to India or not.
Here are some alternatives we are considering:

1) Friendship Highway from Tibet to Nepal. This is probably the fastest route, and probably the most expensive.
2) Kirgisistan-Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-and then somehow from Iran to India. Long and expensive, but maybe the only way to get to India if Friendship Highway is closed.
3)Drop India, and drive somewhere else.
If anyone has useful information or experiences, we would be glad if you share them with us.

Kostanaj, Kazakhstan

Yesterday we spent about six hours to get into Kazakhstan. Four of them were spent on getting out of Russia. When Russian border authorities are extremely slow and thorough, the Kazakh seem to think that the Russians do the job for them. One of the Kazakh guards even spoke english: "Norway? You guys crazy!"

We are now i Kostanaj, a small town about 150 km south of the Russian border.
We are not that much in a hurry any more, and hope for a couple of days without driving somewhere before we reach Astana.