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How Kyrgyzstan nearly broke us…

It wasn't easy to decide which route to take through Kyrgyzstan. Whichever route we took we would first have to take the main highway north out of Osh, which weaves around the Uzbek border to Kyrgyzstan's third major city, Jalal-abad. Our friends ahead of us told us that it looked busy and dangerous to cycle,... Continue Reading →

Çay

An old man gestures enthusiastically at us as we roll through his village. 'Çay?’ Every village seems to have a social club, a room where men of all ages hang out and drink the strong, sweet, black sugary stuff that I will now forever associate with Turkey. We smile and lean our bikes up against... Continue Reading →

The Kazakh steppe

There is a 500km section of road between the ferry port Aktau, and Beyneu in South Kazakhstan, that is renowned amongst cycle tourers for being desolate. It goes through the steppe; almost but not quite desert, this is a semi-arid, scarcely featured landscape with nothing but low scrub as far as the eye can see.... Continue Reading →

Weyn wajar? (Where does it hurt?)

‘What's on her mind?’ I was attempting to understand what had caused this young woman to have such a severe panic attack, when she had been making slow but significant progress over the previous few weeks. I had seen her on an almost daily basis, usually with one of her four children. She was nursing... Continue Reading →

Turkish hamam

I lay down, as instructed, on the hot flat marble floor in a steamy atrium. As I gazed up at the light streaming through the holes in the high domed ceiling, waiting for my pores to open, I found myself wondering what was in store... Stripping down to your pants and being scrubbed mercilessly from... Continue Reading →

D’ya like dags?

Cycling in the rain in northern Greece was when I learnt to keep my mouth shut and not lick my lips. This is to avoid ingesting splashes contaminated with the decomposing insides of a dead dog. Unfortunately not much can protect against being splashed on the face in general. (It's worse if you ride at... Continue Reading →

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