This is a small memory from my travel diary.
Kyrgystan had quite an impact on me and every corner surprised me again. If you like mountains, horseback riding and empty beautiful countryside where horizon and heaven seem to overlap, I do recommend you check out this “almost” forgotten country in central Asia.
(EU passport holders do NOT need a visa for Kyrgyzstan! 🙂 )
In the northeast of Kyrgyzstan lies the beautiful Issyk Kyl lake. It lies at a height of 1600 meters and is more than 180 kilometres long. Because the lake never freezes, it has been given the name “Warm Lake” (Issyk Kul)
Although … warm?
After a winding route through the mountains, we arrive at our host family. There is a strong wind which smells like snow.
“Pretty fresh in here!” Anna shouts while putting on her jacket
This morning, in the city of Karakol we walked around in summer blouses. Up here is it quite different. A threatening grey sky is coming towards us.
We are directed to the kitchen-tent of the family. It is not really a tent, but rather a hut made of aluminium corrugated iron. The roof extends slightly to the left. Great for the chickens who shelter under it from the rain.
It is nice and warm inside. I take off my boots and go sit on blankets around the table. These blankets are called: tochoks. These are a kind of thicker duvets that, if you put a few on top of each other, could also function as mattresses. I have been looking in different towns already to see if I can find a smaller version of this blanket. They are beautiful, handmade, colourful and made of different fabrics. I certainly want to take one back home.
I crawl into the corner where the thickest blanket lies and take small sips of the hot tea. Outside the storm begins to make more noise.
The youngest daughter of our host family comes in a bright pink jacket.
She asks her mother something and points to the table. She probably wants to drink something as well. She takes off her shoes and takes a seat next to me.
Her mother gives her a small cup of tea and puts down a bowl of biscuits and typical Kyrgyz delicacies. I’m still not entirely sure what some of those sweets are exactly made of. For sure it’s sweet… and sticky. Perfect for a harsh day in the mountains.
Anna comes in. “There will be a storm. They recommend starting the trip tomorrow” she says.
I think that is an excellent idea. With this wind and rain, I do not feel like starting a trip on horseback.
The family is pretty fine with it all. We can sleep in their guest tent this night. The son will soon make a fire in our tent so that it is nice and warm inside.
Anna takes a small homemade memory game from her pocket and tries to explain to the little daughter what kind of game this is.
After some hesitation, she wants to play along with her. I look out through the window. The rain splashes against the plexiglass. I see the vast countryside with snow-covered peaks on the horizon. It seems like an illustration from a fairy tale book. I cannot wait to explore this region tomorrow.
If you liked this travel story you might want to read the one about N.E.P.A.L – Never Ending Peace and Love
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