Greetings from Kyrgyzstan
For about three weeks me and my female companion have been travelling in Kyrgyzstan – the forgotten, unknown, mountainous country of Central Asia. Travelling here is hard but it is always beautiful and very rewarding.
Among the many tours that I organized, especially few of them remained in my memory. For example in one day we walked 16km in the rain up the hill, to get to the shelter at the height of 3000 meters. Then we travelled on horses to the glacier and we almost got there we had to climb up to be rewarded with views of the turquoise lake at an altitude of more than 4000 meters above the sea level. I organized many other difficult expeditions and every time my faithful blond-travel companion fought herself as hard as she could, although a couple of times my trips proved too hard for her. Once barking dogs did not want to leave her alone, and when she was too afraid of them and too afraid of local people to stay alone in the valley, then she finally climbed up the mountain to the top and then thanked me that I forced her to do it, because as she said: “the views were wonderful.”
We slept in a tent in an absolute wilderness cut off from the world, we drank water straight from the river and survived on forest fruit. My pretty blond-travel companion wanted to go back to the nearest civilization as quickly as it was possible, but it did not happen because first we had to walk 14km to the nearest bus stop. Then we had to hitchhike because buses in that region appear only from time to time, just like stars in the sky.We went for example for example to the village where we climbed the rocks of red sandstone in a shape of seven bulls and a broken heart. Another time we swam in a cold alpine lake called Issyk-Kül, surrounded by mountains and local delicacies. The most original drink we tried was “Kumyz” which is mare`s fermented milk. To Kyrgyz people Kumyz tastes very well but there are certain tourists that either vomit with it or get diarrhea. Kumyz is a drink which requires time – that’s all. Kyrgyz toilets are a separate, though quite a disgusting part of my expedition, although in nature toilets are everywhere.
I strongly recommend Kyrgyzstan and I already know that I have beautiful memories and a lot of interesting stories from my very special journey. I will always remember the Lenin Museum and the time when I was sleeping in a yurt and taking part in the national games of Kyrgyzstan. Among many unique disciplines there is also a fight on horsebacks over a headless goat. Then the winning team apparently eats the goat. I have a lot of beautiful pictures of mountains, glaciers, turquoise lakes high in the mountains, raging river currents, horseriding in the beautiful landscapes, fighting the cold and exhaustion Monika (my blond-travel companion) and the images of Kyrgyz people. After expedition to the mountains a bath in natural hot springs was a real blessing.
I also liked the local products, and specially “shyrdaks” which are carpets made of sheep wool, with many designs and each one of them has its meaning. There are lot of them, in many colours and sizes.
When it comes to people, they never hurt me but they do have a serious problem with a lack of a smile, which is typical for post-Soviet republics. On the other hand I also smile only when someting really makes me laugh, and never in the English way. Tourists are not welcomed here with a big smile, and nobody cares about them. It seems to me that nobody gives a damn about anything, what is best seen in the complete lack of organization and lack of transportation to the attractive tourist places. The solution here is to share a taxi or hitchhiking to keep the costs down.
Central Asia has its specific character and it is not an easy region to travel. However, Kyrgyzstan is a great experience and the nature is beautiful.