Days 108 – 110 : Issyk Kul it’s so cool

27 Aug
For a few euros, we could get in a Marchroutka, a shared minibus, and reach Issyk Kul in a few hours. The lake is the second largest mountain lake in the world, with a length of 180 km and depth of 700 meters (!). The water is clear, slightly salty, and never freezes due to thermal activity underneath. All around, huge mountains with snowy peaks, where float many rivers ending up in the lake. It is also the most famous tourist spot for Kyrgyz, Kazakh and Russians in the region.
It has numerous discos next to Chopon Alta, the city we arrived, on the north coast. The first night, we went out and spent the night with a group of Kyrgyz students on the beach, sharing vodkas until the early morning, and properly celebrating the end of the first part of our trip!
After having tasted the Kyrgyz nightlife, we decided to go further, leave Chopon Alta, and give it try with the countryside. 40 km away, we hitchhiked and the guys lead to a house owned by a family of Russians, where we could sleep for 5 euros. The place is remote, and has a direct access to the lake, with a tiny beach and a handful of people. After sunset bathing with the family, we came back to our little soviet bungalow. We made a barbecue of duck shashliks with the group, and stayed out next to the fire for good few hours. Our hosts all have wives and kids, but it didn’t prevent them to go out to night club after emptying 2 or 3 bottles. We were tired and didn’t want to go out again, so we managed to skip this one. “Just don’t tell our wives and kids we went out, and tomorrow we’ll say we went to sleep at the same time”. All right, no problem man. Have a good one!
Menu: Donald duck shashliks
crazy Pavel and his friend
We were next to Gregorievka mountains, and found a group of people going deep into the mountain to pick mushrooms. We got into the car, which was 62 years old Bolga from the soviet era. We were 10 people in it, and the engine didn’t handle well our weight in those mountain paths…so we had to stop every 3 km or so to let the engine rest. One of the youngers in the car speaks english, and we asked him if we could stay with them for the night, in their camp. We negociated a deal with him (we’d give them around 7 euros for the night and food) and set up in their camp high in the mountains.
62 years old Volga
There were about 30 people from 3 generations, picking mushrooms and cutting wood next to their tent. Those guys spend the whole summer in the mountain, where they go back to their traditional nomad lifestyle during the good season. We rested during the day, took a swim in the cold water of a small lake nearby, and ate excellent food made by a woman in the camp.
Second lake
At evening time, the guys told us “hey, lets go to the store!” -“Mmhhh, but we’re in the middle of nowhere!” -“Beside the second lake, there is a yourt sellling beer, vodka and cigarets!” -“No, not again, not today!” -“Yes, today! Davai!”. We headed up there, had to wait the shop owner to finish his prayers, and paid them 2 bottles of vodka for 2 euros. After a night walk in the trails, where we could hear chacals screaming, we  went back to the camp and shared few glasses before going to sleep. The stars were incredibly shiny and the sky reminded us of what we’ve seen in the Kazakh desert few weeks before. 
still no idea what happened with that picture
The next day was our last one before coming back to civilization, and we decided to trek and go even deeper in the mountain. Our friend proposed us to go to some waterfalls he heard about. We started following the river, in the path made by the cows and horses living there. We walked for 2 or 3 hours to get the beautiful, untouched waterfalls we were looking for. We took some time to enjoy the scenery, and took a -very- cold shower there. This point was the furthest we’d go in our trip. From now on, it will all about going backwards : first to Bishkek, then Europe and ultimately Belgium.
 Chai loo…Chai maker
On the way to the waterfall
Cooling in the waterfall
The way down

4 Responses to “Days 108 – 110 : Issyk Kul it’s so cool”

  1. freshveggiesinthedesert August 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Looks like fun! Great pictures.

  2. Emmie French September 12, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Issyk kul looks lovely, your blog is really good and amazing photos, you should make your adventures into a film 🙂

  3. Natalia February 2, 2015 at 9:16 am #

    Hey guys! Just now find it, and your trip it’s so cool! Have you been on Song Kul or just Issy Kul??

    • cyclingfurther February 4, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

      Hi, we only went went to Issyk kul but I heard that Song is magical as well and different!

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