Blogs from Karakol, Kyrgyzstan, Asia - page 4

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Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol September 7th 2008

We were wet through from two days of rain. On the morning that we were due to leave Djety-Oghuz it actually snowed on us. When we looked up we realised that the snowline was now on the pastures that we had visited yesterday. We were due to head for Song-Kul Lake. The lake was another 1000m higher so we didn't think that we would be able to get in and out due to the snow. We decided to head back to Karakol and the warmth of Hotel Amir. We were able to dry out the tents and sleeping gear and have some more time in the town before the next couple of nights of bushcamping on the way to Osh.... read more
Russian Orthodox Church

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol September 6th 2008

We stayed the night in Karakol after Lake Issy-kul. A wierd place - orange and pink - it looks like a ski lodge but had the best beds .....and breakfast. Karakol was a great little town. Short drive from Karakol to Djeti-Oguz. Djeti-Oguz is about 25km away - at the mouth of the Djeti-Oguz Canyon. It has Red Sandstone cliffs - one was called the Broken Heart and the name Djeti-Oguz means nine bulls after the nine main bluffs (or maybe 7 bluffs). It was a beautiful day so we pretty much set up camp and took it easy by the river. Some people went up further into the valleys. There were 5 bridge crossings - we tried the first one but the bridge moved under the weight of the truck. We camped low down. The ... read more
Djety-Oguz 2
Djety-Oguz 4
Djety-Oguz 5

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol September 2nd 2008

We headed back into Bishkek to sort out Uzbek visas. My Letter of Invitation still had not arrived however my photo had gone missing. My spare photos were in the back of the truck so I couldn't get to them so I went shopping for more passport photos. I was very impressed - the little man wiped away all the wrinkles on my forehead and got rid of my sunburnt nose! We got back underway and headed to the biggest lake in Kyrgyzstan - Lake Isy-kul. It was a bit of a slow day of driving and we set up camp at the lake quite late. We found a really good spot. I camped under the stars on the sands of the lake .... aaah it so tough! I didn't realise it buyt Isy-kul is the ... read more
View near the lake

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol August 3rd 2008

There is so much to digest about the Kyrgyz way of life and the culture so I thought I should shed some light on some of the customs and traditions that are still upheld here. Kyrgyzstan is made up of about 80 different ethnic groups and two thirds of the population live in rural areas as nomads. Apparently there is double the amount of livestock here than there are people! Not a bad thing considering the word vegetarian does not exist in Kyrgyz vocab. Everyone eats meat here and it is normally mutton, with A LOT of fat. As they have to learn how to survive on their resources, they use sheep for just about everything from eating to building yurts with them! Camping - Kyrgyz style The art of building yurts is fascinating and shows ... read more
the tyndyk (wheel)
a young suitor
me trying the kumys

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol July 15th 2008

The previous night's queasy cocktail of menace & vodka turned uneasily in my stomach when I woke, but I felt myself very quickly invigorated by the thought of what lay ahead... Three days up in the Tian Shan, (Mandarin for 'Celestial Mountains'), a mountain range which LP claims "comprises perhaps the finest trekking territory in Central Asia". I'd decided to explore it for myself rather than hiring a guide; both for financial reasons and also because I knew it would be more of an adventure on my own. Which it certainly was - probably the highlight of the trip so far! =) Day One: Jeti-Oghuz to the mouth of the Teleti Pass I'm travelling fairly light this time - a 42L Osprey Stratos about two-thirds full - so I decided to just take everything with me, ... read more
Packed up & ready to leave my room at the Jeti-Oghuz sanatorium
South of Svetov Dolina, (the Valley of Flowers)
Camping at the foot of the Teleti Pass

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol July 9th 2008

Friday 6 June - Bishkek to Kemin (1123m), 108 km A flat road today, gently rising 500m in al. I managed to keep up with the Reds for 80 km but then got tired and slowed down. There was a following wind in the morning, but later it turned round into a srong headwind. It was a cloudy day, very grey over the mountains, and we feared we would have rain, but didn’t. Arrived at our school early afternoon, I got a shower in the lorry and washed out my cycling clothes. Sleeping in a classroom with 9 other people. Couldn’t sleep because the person next to me snored loudly and continuously; in the end I took my mattress into the corridor and slept there. Saturday 7 June - Kemin to Kara Talaa (1620m), 110 km ... read more
Me at col Keskev-Bel 080608
Lake Issyk-Kol 080608
Lorry in the sand 090608

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol July 9th 2008

Kyrgyzstan is the most beautiful country I've ever seen. It's known as the mountain kindgdom and for good reason. I have no stories to tell, I spent two weeks bush-camping the most glorious countryside, taking hikes through the mountains up to waterfalls and glaciers, watching herds of wild horses run through the camp-sites, and then a couple of days in the capital, Bishkek, before heading into the world's most populous country. China.... read more
Stunning scenery
Hike to the glacier
A lake in the mountains

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol November 13th 2007

Hallo nach Deutschland oder sonstwohin (irland, laos usw.) Wir sind von unserem ersten nennenswerten Ausflug in die Natur Zentralasiens zurueck in Bishkek. Am Freitag den 9.11 sind wir ziemlich frueh in Richtung Issyk Kuul Lake aufgebrochen. Wie vor jeder bisherigen Abfahrt wurde uns mal wieder mantra-maessig prophezeiht wir wuerden uns im osten Kirgistans den "arsch abfrieren". Am morgen unserer Abreise sah es zunaechst so aus als wuerde sich diesmal diese wiederkehrende Vorwarnung bewahrheiten - ca. 20cm Neuschnee in 1 1/2 stunden - Bishkek war ploetzlich weiss! Nach anfaenglich kleinkindhafter Freude ueber die fallenden Flocken sickerte nur langsam eine Ahnung zu uns durch was genau Schnee in Kirgistan bedeuten kann. In der Erwartung an dem hoeher und zwischen sehr sehr hohen Bergen gelegenen Issyk Kuul Lake eine winterliche Landschaft mit all den dazu gehoerigen Reisetueck... read more
Zweit groesster Viehmarkt
Transport
Red mountain

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol October 16th 2007

The original idea for this trip came from my friend and co-worker Amy McGoldrick. She is the director of ACCELS, an NGO that along with administering the FLEX Program, (which I have taught for the past two summers) which takes Turkmenistan high school students and places them in American High Schools, but it also oversees the work of the American Corners throughout the country. I had planned on spending my last vacation as a Peace Corps Volunteer of Turkmenistan in Northwestern India. However, when I realized that the option to get to Kyrgyzstan was relatively cheap and that I had the opportunity to get back to the mountains, something I had done only once in 12 years since leaving Colorado, I jumped at the opportunity. The hard part about traveling in Kyrgyzstan is not the actual ... read more
Lake Sary Chelek
Kashka Suu Pass
Abandoned Karavanserai

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol August 14th 2007

When the Russians had Kyrgyzstan as part of the USSR, they made a lot of use out of this lake called Izzyk Kul. It means 'hot lake,' but it would be more accurate to call it, 'really, really big hot lake.' It is the second largest alpine lake in the world (second to Lake Titikaka). So back in the day, the Soviets vacationed here and tested their submarine missles. Through the kindness of strangers, we found the bus to Karakol and made the trip down in 6 1/2 hours with a Kyrgyz 'truck stop' along the way. We tried a few guest houses in town before we found one that worked... It seems that our lack of Russian makes us less desirable to a few folks. A strange sense of customer service.... we ignore you, and ... read more




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