I woke up around 6am and walked outside. The air was fresh and clean and there was no snow on the ground, just a nip in the air. It felt like the best birthday! The mountains around looked majestic, clear skies and white-capped mountains in the back. Funnily enough the pictures don’t do the atmosphere justice. The sky didn’t look as grey as it is seen here. The animals had moved closer during the night and the yurts were surrounded by cows and sheep.
The local breakfast consisted of rice cooked in milk, fresh bread, cheese butter and jam. Simple but delicious especially after all these awful ones we had in China! Not much later we said goodby to our English friends and were on the road again. The wife and daughter of our host rode along with us until next village and the little girl and I became fast friends (as much as was possible without communication).
We dropped them off but we drove on to Kochkor. What fascinated me the most was the ever-changing landscape along the way. Even though the sky was still overcast the mountains everywhere looked dramatic in their far away snow-capped beauty. Sometimes we saw statues of animals, put in the middle of nowhere. Also traffic was non-existing. The cemeteries we saw along the way looked like little villages, so different to the ones we had seen in China.
In Kochkor we stopped at a guest house and watched a felt show. I am not sure if show is the right word for this because we saw the process of how to make felt and also helped the all female work force. In detail we were shown how to create the famous Syhrdak carpets. It’s a really long and hard procedure that involves many steps. In the end I bought a small carpet.
Lunch tasted even better afterwards and we had a wi-fi connection for the first time since arriving in Kyrgyzstan. As soon as I could go online, I noticed how disconnected I have been. So weird! Maybe I should book another trip to China just to escape from the virtual world. But on the other hand it felt so good to go on Facebook again.
We had one more stop in Kochkor at an ATM where we learned that Chinese YUAN are not getting changed in Kyrgyzstan and that money withdrawal only works with the credit card and not your regular cash card.
We finally arrived at the yurt camp around 5pm. It was located right next to the Issyk Kul lake. There we met Pablo, a Spanish traveler (who lived in Edinburgh and had lots of good tips for what to do the next time there) who walked with us around the lake (not the whole lake since it is way too big) and also spent the rest of the evening with us. He was the only other tourist at this camp. With him and an American girl who did an internship there we toasted to my birthday once again at dinner. This time with local arrack.
The yurt camp also offered some kind of open bathroom with a wonderful view on the lake and as special treatment a shower with a bit of hot water at the end. It doesn’t get much better than to get a shower on one’s birthday and a warm one to boot. I couldn’t have asked for a better present.
Dinner was again a tasty affair and I loved that everyone shared the same table. Guests sit on the inside of the table so that they are not obliged to help while the youngest female served us. No danger here anymore, sometimes it’s great to see the 40s already from the other side.
The yurt for the night was bigger than the last one and also had a light. No beds though just mattresses on the floor. Still we passed a warm and comfortable night and had electricity to charge the mobiles. A shower and electricity, amazing birthday gifts when you think about it. Yours, Pollybert