May 16th 10 p.m. Good day- got chinese visas of sorts – group visa though
great to meet up with Nathan yesterday , ( Harry’s friend who is biking to Beijing!) . Russian operetta tonight- fantastic singing
1 p.m. What a day, drove out of Bishkek early eastwards and then south towards China, cut through an enormous ravine to Lake Issyk Kul, 50 clicks along this azure lake a, great picnic on the beach. Second largest mountain lake in the world, Nearly got van stuck on beach
Lake Issyk Kul
2 p.m. Bowling along the side of this stunning lake and meet a Swiss guy called Ernest on a moped. Guess what he knew about us because he had been staying at Nathan’s hostel. He is a carpenter from Zurich and is taking two years to go round Asia
He says Tour U Ghat ( the pass into China) is closed OMG. ( we are now frantically checking)
3 p.m. Another 50 clicks and I can’t believe it 4 guys at the side of the road with kyrgy hats on and bloody great eagles sitting on their arms. They were having a sandwich after hunting. They jessied up the eagles and got them fever pitch ready to launch. Got some fantastic photos of magnificent eagles and men in silly hats. ( will have to wait for photos these are just poor substitutes)
6 p.m. Have arrived at hostel in Tamga on south shore of Issyk Kul absolutely fantastic just like Vagabondes ( a rough and ready hostel in Chamonix). Climbing hostel run by Luba and her ghusband who are both high mountain guides.The soviets never let them out of the Soviet union so they climbed all the 7200m peaks in Kyrguzsran. That’s 23;000 feet for christs sake; Luba does look quite beefy when she is dishing out the pickled cucumbers. Luba also does crochet and makes carpets.
Tomorrow early breakfast and then take the gold mining trail to a pass at 4200 metre, vroom vroom
David Norgrove would be in 7th heaven here, uncomfortable dorms and communal bathroom, cold at 8 degrees and 3000ft
Luba has a fantastic craft shop with felt carpets and silly Kyrg hats. Tomorrow take the trail made by the Canadians to find gold.
Apparantly road is quite good- everyone one went a bit quiet when I asked if Luba’s husband takes people ice climbing- maybe next time! Great place, no hotels, bars or people really for at least 50 miles!.
love to all
Map of Issyk Kul lake