Saturday, June 11, 2011
Karakol Capers, Altyn Arashan and some serious Mountains
I have spent the last few days in the east of northern Kyrgystan and it's certainly an amazing part of the region. Karakol is a bit of a mountain-frontier town at the eastern end of the Lake Issyk Kol. This large lake in itself is amazing - 170km long and up to 70km wide, the second largest alpine lake in the world.
It was a six hour bus ride here past the northern edge of the lake. The town isn't amazing, but is full of houses from a different era, and has a bit of a rural France feel about it. This wooden church (above) was something special. Lots of friendly and helpful people about the place.
Yesterday I took a jeep up to a place called Altyn Arashan, a valley with a few houses/buildings there. Stunning scenery too, real Kyrg. rural life on display. Hot springs as well prove popular with the locals. I stay in a ramshackle house with some real character. I group of Kyrg. tourists arrived last night and well, there was eating and drinking as one can imagine. I escaped lightly only having three vodkas and three glasses of surprisingly good Moldovon Sauvingnon Blanc. The only issue I had with the place was the outdoor pit toilets, but theres no water pumps and no electricty, so what could I expect?