Anyway, we got to Bishkek at 22:00, and after the long day we just wanted to go to sleep as next day we had to wake up early and go to the Kazakh embassy to apply for the last Stan visa. We met Kuba, the owner of the place we rented, and he accompanied us to the apartment. A quite big, clean and nice place next to the center of the city. But it had one big problem: Internet was only working at some times. Kuba even sent the technical service there but they didn't fix anything. In the end, we found out internet was ony working at night, strange but true, so we could only work during that time all those days.
The embassy is far away from the center so we decided to take a taxi there and then find out how to get back to the city by public transportation. We were the first ones there, and when they opened we were given the application form, asked for a copy of the passport (it must be A4 size) and two pictures and then sent to pay the visa fee to a bank. No problems at all this time! With all the previous Central Asia visa applications experiences, we though that some problem would come out, but no, this time everything worked as it should.
The only annoying thing is that the bank you have to go to pay the fee is on the other side of the city. Not everything could be perfect. We had to rush as the embassy closed at 12, so asking around and showing people the paper with the bank address we were given at the embassy, we took the first marshrutka going to the center, then another one and finally we found the bank.
At the embassy we handed in the proof of payment, our passport and we were told to come back on Friday (it was Tuesday) at 6 in the evening to pick up our visa. Great!
Now we could just devote our life to hang out in the apartment and to write and write and write to update the web after so much time without being able to do it. And that's what we did. All the days in Bishkek were spent basically at home. We only went out to eat something, to buy some food and not much sightseeing. Bishkek is another Soviet city with no special sights, so it was perfect to not do anything. Yes, we went to Ala Too square and a couple of more places to check a bit the atmosphere, but really, nothing going on there. Not even a Christmas feeling, as Kyrgyz people celebrate it on the 7th of January instead of on the 25th of December. Only a few Christmas trees and some creepy Santas in some squares and that's all.
On Friday we went back to the embassy at 6 in the evening. And surprisingly in 5 minutes we had the passport with a nice Kazakh visa stamped on it! It had been, by far, the easiest Central Asian visa to get! Now we were allowed to spend 30 days in Kazakhstan within the next 3 months.
To celebrate the good news and to finish our days in the Kyrgyz capital, on Sunday we decided to go to Ala Archa National Park. It is a park located 30 km from Bishkek but to get there there's no public transportation, so according to what we read on the Internet we had to take one marshrutka to a village and from then hitch-hike to the park. As it was winter we were not sure if we would make it, but we decided to, at least, give it a try.
We got off the car and were offered tea and cookies by those people. It was a family spending a trekking day in the mountains. There were two members from Russia, two more from Ukraine and a Kazakh guy. Really nice and friendly people who offered us going trekking with them. As we actually didn't know where to go, we just joined them on the way to a waterfall, some 4 km from there.
We said goodbye to the family in the middle of the trekking, as they stopped for lunch and we continued walking, and once down we took a ride back to the village. this ime it was the director of the park who drove us. Then waiting for the marshrutka to go back to Bishkek and end of the trip. We finally made it! Although we had doubts on finding transportation, in the end there was no problem at all and we could visit this beautiful park, which is fully recommendable, as it is close to Bishkek, easy to get to and it offers spectacular views of the mountains.
For more detailed information about Bishkek and about the Ala Archa National Park, check our Travel Guide!