I never used to be a big enthusiast of monuments, preferring the serenity of green spaces and clean mountain air. There’s something about Communist pride and the grandeur of that era, though, that makes me love exploring the endless epitaphs of Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan was part of the Soviet Union and nearly everyone speaks Russian. Not everyone knows why there is a monument that looks suspiciously like a UFO right in the middle of the city, however.
Every city and town we’ve visited in Kyrgyzstan is proud to have a statue of Lenin prominently on display. It’s always the largest statue by far.
Here in Bishkek, you get those socialist philosophers, Marx and Engels, too.
In front of the parliament building, there are two guards whose job is to convince you they are, in fact, also statues.
We’ve spent the last week in the mountains and pastures of rural Kyrgyzstan where there are cows and horses everywhere. Well, you see them, in monument form, in the city too.
We’ve really enjoyed our short stay in Bishkek but the mountains are calling and we must go.
One of the things I love best about long walks (and travel in general) is the rich history waiting to be discovered. Like the ruins of this Augustinian Priory, built in the 13th century. (In)famous Robert the Bruce loved this place so much he endowed it in 1317. Continue reading “Scotland is falling apart”→
I had the chance to visit Death Valley this spring. I loved exploring the desert, camping and backpacking throughout this vast park. The wildflowers were out-of-this world, adding a splash of colour to such a tranquil landscape. When I heard about the forgotten Panamint City ghost town I was really excited to make a backpacking trip to see it but I had no idea what sort of hike I was in for. Continue reading “Panamint City Ghost Town Backpacking Trip”→
Last December I visited Ballarat, the historic Australian gold boom town. Unlike many mining towns, the gold continued to flow for decades and the town grew large enough to survive even after gold production declined. Nearly 50 years after the discovery of gold in the hills not far from Melbourne, another rich gold find popped up, this time half way around the world. Taking its name from the now famous Australian city, Ballarat California was born in 1897. I’ve just had the opportunity to visit and the contrast between the two towns couldn’t be more striking. Continue reading “Ballarat – A Tale of Two Towns”→
The Great Ocean Road stretches for 250 km along Australia’s rugged southern coast. Built by soldiers returning from World War I and dedicated to their fallen comrades, it’s the world’s largest war memorial. It also has some of the best scenery in all of Australia. After having such a good time cycling in Tasmania, I was keen to tackle the tight turns and steep climbs of the Great Ocean Road but I hadn’t counted on the intense traffic (thousands of tourists came during Chinese New Year). After my first day, I decided to leave the bike behind and simply enjoy this stunning place as a road trip. Continue reading “Australia’s Great Ocean Road”→
I’ve just finished a month-long, 1,500-km cycle tour around Tasmania. This remote island is a pleasure to travel by bike with long winding roads that pass through incredible scenery with little traffic. Its diversity is striking. There are vast temperate rain forests, tropical white sandy beaches with turquoise water, rugged coastlines with towering sea cliffs, and peaceful sheep pastures and lavender farms. Tasmania’s history is equally rich. From its notorious convict beginnings to hardy miners who struggled to make a life in the remote corners of this island, there’s so much to learn. Whether you stay in campgrounds or treat yourself to character-rich B&Bs and historic hotels, you’re sure to discover some real gems along the way. Continue reading “Tasmania Cycle Tour”→