Wednesday 27 August
Left Bishkek and headed for the yurt camp at the lake Song Kul. Stopped for petrol at Kockkor, long queue which seems to be the norm here, complicated by having to prepay before you get the fuel. Fuel cost is about $1 per litre.
After driving over a pass at 3500 metres we turned off the main road onto several km of dirt racks heading along the shore of the lake, passing several yurt camps until we eventually arrived at our camp.
We had a couple hours before dinner so Bruce and Ewen went for a horse ride. Our horses were clearly selected for tourists and had to be goaded into even a slow trot.
Still they took up a hill which gave us a good view of the lake which is about 20km long and 3km wide.
It’s at the edge of a large flat area between two mountain ranges. In fact the whole country seems to be mostly very high mountains. Camp consisted of five yurts. Owners, eating and three guest “units”
The unit next to ours was occupied by two Australians from McLeod. Almost our next suburb in Melb. Its a small world!
As expected there was no running water. there was electricity, one small light for about 2 hours. Sleeping was on mats on the ground which were quite comfortable. The yurt had a heater but this made it too hot. Might have been OK if we’d not used our sleeping bags. Temperature during the day was high twenties but closer to zero at night. Food was bread, jam, dumplings, water melon and vege soup.
The next day we headed to Tash Rabat to see a ninth century ware house which was used by traders on the silk road. The building is basically intact and has had some restoration work done but has long been disused. Another night in a yurt here. Somewhat upmarket this time with beds.
Headed back to Naryn. Had lunch at another yurt camp and went on a rather strenuous hike up avalley, across a saddle and down a parallel valley on the other side. About 2.5 hours and reached an altitude of 3400 meters. Ewen’s body doesn’t work well at this height!
Roads so far have varied from Chinese built superhighway to bone shaking which in general makes travel slow. (a chance to catch the scenery)