Leaving Berlin was as awful as it could get. A flight postponed twice due to sickness and issues with gear deliveries. The most stressful 60min of my life checking in at the airport (had I not had help by Christian who bravely tackled the challenge of packing my bike Emily, there would habe been no chance for me to make that flight). A night spent in flight and in airports. Arrival in Kyrgyzstan totally sleep-deprived and with sinking heart: would my bike Emily have made it? And if so: in how many pieces?
Waiting at the conveyor belt in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, biting my nails. All of a sudden, my fuel bottle shows up. Then one of the panniers that I had thrown into the bike box. The bike box that had clearly disintegrated somewhere between Germany and Kyrgyzstan. More mental nail biting. Then, an elderly lady with whom I had talked about my bike trip earlier taps me on my shoulder: ‘Is this your bike?’
Yes, it is! With minor scratches, but undoubtedly: my bike! In one piece! A caring airport official had rolled her out of the airplane. Sleep deprivation, level 2: re-organize your luggage and pack your bike (for the first time, actually) after 48h without sleep. After this challenge, I felt ready to fall asleep. Right there, on the floor. Instead, the 30°C heat of Krygyzstan was waiting for me. And the realisation: this bike is incredibly heavy. And insanely hard to move forward. Still, I AM actually moving forward. Not always in a straight line, but moving nonetheless. Until my body demands a break and violently so. Just a little shade, just a little pause…. The Ala Too mountain range at the horizon looks stunning, but I am more concerned with staying conscious.
A friendly Kyrgyz comes to ask whether I need help. Yes, I do. I realize that I was insane even thinking about this trip! Instead, of telling him about my self-doubts, I gladly accept the offer for a cup of tea. And then the offer of his neighbor. And then the offer for lunch. Finally, I dare to ask whether I could sleep a little on the sofa. I wake up 6h later in complete darkness. Without question, my spontaneous host family invites me to stay for the night. In the end, I stay with them for 24h, get to know all extended family members, watch the entire wedding Video, am given food and shelter- and we don’t even share a single language! Deeply moved about this heart-felt hospitality, I continue my ride the next day, the smell of freshly baked bread (a farewell gift) in my nostrils. Welcome to Kyrgyzstan!