Late in the night our plane approached ''Manas'' airport. In the darkness, when we were coming through the clouds, some settlements could be seen dimly on the ground. After landing it took us one hour to wait in line at the immigration, pick our luggage and clear customs. Now we are sitting in the car and heading to Bishkek. From the banks of the street, a sign is greeting the visitors: ''Kosh Kelenizder'', ''Heartily Welcome''.
We arrived in Kyrgyzstan and our journey is starting...
''Kosh Kelenizder'', that is the concept the visitor to this country will meet at every turn. ''Heartily Welcome'' is everbody who takes by car, on horseback or on foot through the country and comes to a yurt camp.
For centuries, the Kyrgyz lived a nomadic life. They have set up their tents made of felt and wood in the high valleys or on the banks of outlying lakes in order to graze livestock, and to spend the summer. Still people are happy when visitors come and report from afar, drinking tea in the evening by the fire (and sometimes vodka). This tradition has retained until today.
Of course, tourism has started, also within this small country, whose name most do not know to spell -- even don''t know where it is. But, nevertheless, tourists are coming to the country and people start to make a living by the revenues the guests bring from afar. However, their hospitality the Kyrgyz people do have not forgotten.
I was always happy not to stay in a fancy hotel, but slept on a simple mat in a yurt -- the Kyrgyz tent -- and was able to breathe and absorb the nature around me. I have met wonderful people, kept good memories and some photos from my travels.
At this place on the Internet I would like to write about my experiences and invite all to take part in the memories of Kyrgyzstan. Reading this page you might feel the desire to visit Kyrgyzstan too. I invite you and like to share my experiences with you.
Yours Wolfgang Keller