Je bekijkt de reis...
22 juni 2015
Kyrghyzstan is Central Asian's Switzerland: offering a different beautiful (mountain) landscape every 10 minutes! The highest peaks are above 7000m -we are close to the Himalayas- and as there are so many mountain ranges in the country, a view from the top of one pass already shows the next one further ahead between the next set of peaks. As you can imagine, we have been making pictures like it was a full-time job...!
Which brings us to the roads, which are not yet up to Swiss standards yet (except for the Chinese built highway from China to Kazakhstan, note the lack of interest by the Chinese in building other roads). Not that the poor state of most roads bothers many: they are still good enough for brand new Landcruisers and Escalades, somewhat older BMW 3 series, 1990 Audi station wagons, 1980 ladas and of course for horses, cows, goats, sheep and the spurious camel. The animals actually prefer walking over roads, creating interesting new (old) ways to bring down the speed of cars to very safe levels: 1 car is no match for 50 sheep.. It is also quite fun to 'wade' through a herd of sheep, horses or cows by car! Mooww.
The roads brought us (slowly) to beautiful places to stay the night. Homestays, boutique hotels and of course Yurts (= big round 'mobile homes' aka tents used for nomads and tourists). They are made from a wooden structure with felt around them, so warm and cozy on the inside, funny looking on the outside. The warm was good when we slept under the cold night sky of Song-Kol, about 3000m up, next to a very pretty mountain lake the size of Lunteren: while at ~sea level (like in the country's capital) the temperatures are above 30c, high in the mountains we did not get to even 15c. Even more, we were caught in a nice little thunderstorm, hiking in flat empty grassland just 15 minutes after we left the yurt camp. Fortunately, we were able to run back (without being 'blasted to the past' by a lightning strike) before all hail broke loose right above the Yurt camp, covering the yurts in about 5cm of icy white snow! More beautiful pictures of course ;)
People here are very friendly. There was the old lady from the yurt who helped to kick-start the horse Merel was riding. There were the boys with their parents who ran the small yurt camp on the jailoo (= green valley where people go to be nomad again when in the summer months) who invited Paul to play football with them. There was the waitress at the restaurant who advised another sjaslick menu option when the first choice was not available (ok, yes, Paul did get meat from the BBQ as asked for, but it was a 4 person piece, so the advice wasn't that great in hindsight!).
Besides being driven through the country side, making pictures along the way, we also did some things ourselves, notably hiking and horse riding. We made various small hikes around the two yurt camps that we visited, and a very big one south of Bishkek, to a glacier. It seemed to be a short walk, about 5.5 km to the glacier before going back the same route. However, we also went up from 2300m to 3600m. This made that it took us about 8 hours to make a few nice pics and to punish ourselves for the too big sushi plate we ate the day before. Back in the hotel, our knees, our legs, our souls hurt from the trip up and down the slippery slopes, covered with rocks and sand. However, it was beautiful and a good workout and a great walk. And with some foresight, we did book a massage at a spa in the city. Not too bad after all!
We have not met many other travelers - despite the various travel agencies that offer their services, it seems still quite unexplored from our perspective. Tourists that are here come mainly from Kyrchyzstan itself or from the neighboring countries like Kazakhstan and Russia - the country was firmly embedded in the Soviet tourism books before and they even have left the Lenin statues standing to show for it! Because of the relative emptiness, especially when compared to the busses full of French tourists in Uzbekistan, and because of the roads, the emptiness of the lands and the horse riding, the trip feels quite like a mountain safari which is great fun!
Foto's bij verslag (27)
22 juni 2015 22:35 | Door: Mama
Zo wat een prachtige reis, ik kom graag alle foto's bewonderen
22 juni 2015 22:35 | Door: Ronald van Wanrooij
beautiful story to read about all your adventures
23 juni 2015 14:43 | Door: Anny P
Ik wil die reis ook wel eens maken. Marion & Ron, zin om mee te gaan?