Previously on anotherlametravelblog… I drunk vodka for breakfast, got in a Gaz and was left in an unpaved road in the middle of nowhere.
After 3 hours with no vehicles a marshutka came. The scenery was amazing and I enjoyed the company who would sing non-stop next to my ear (free showers included) the Kyrgyz traditional music greatest hits.
I slept in a village which name I don’t remember and next morning I aimed for the remote Song Kol lake at 3016m. It’s a 2 days uphill walk but I was hoping to find someone driving that way. It happened after 2 hours. It was a fully packed 4wd and they asked for some money. Of course food and vodka were included. This time the drinking was at 10 am.
Song Kol is a the perfect to observe nomadic life with plenty of yurts, green pastures, horses, sheep… Due to their isolation, herders here are happy to trade milk, kurut (the stinky cheese balls) and kumys for tea, salt, sex, sugar, socks, cigarettes or vodka, the last one being the most appreciated.
After hitching/walking around the lake and spending one night in a yurt by the lake next morning I was ready to leave from the other side. On my way a shared taxi was coming and we agreed a fair price. The car was breaking and we have to push it a couple of times. On the way we stopped at someone’s house were I had a 2nd abundant breakfast with orange juice. Kidding, kumys (yeah!) and the almighty delicious vodka. I was quite sick but to be polite I accepted the 5 shots I was given, after all I don’t need to have fun in order to drink. Third day in a row I had vodka before noon, life is not easy.
With another shared taxi and a marshutka I made my way to Karakol, a town which not much to see-do but I needed to recover there before going trekking. On the second day I went to Altyn Arashan, a beautiful valley with some pretty hot springs on a kind of cave next to the river with amazing mountain views.
As my second pair of shoes was destroyed I borrowed some soviet style boots from the guest house owner and started the trek back to Karakol. One of the most beautiful places I have seen in this trip, especially the lake Al Kol (even the name is pretty). The night at the lake was very cold, the water in the ponds was frozen at the morning. Luckily on the way I met very friendly Germans who saved me from freezing and have a great time with an amazing dinner. The trek was very strenuous and challenged my height fears a couple of times. On the second night I was extremely tired when back in Karakol and the following day I left for Bishkek.