Through Green Velvet Land

Toktogul lake (Kyrgyzstan), 12.06.2013

The Pamir mountains landscape’s beauty is hard to top, and today was our hangover day. We woke up in this sh…, sorry, in this great hotel, with spacious clean rooms, modern shower, nice view. We tried to get some breakfast, but the crew of nine (!) young and uninterested kids for zero (!) guests managed to get us Nescafé tasting of old frying oil, vanilla ice with four cherries instead of the promised fruit yogurt, rancid condensed milk instead of normal one for the coffee, two boiled eggs that lost half their egg white as we peeled them, and eight small slices of bread we didn’t dare to try. That was it, the breakfast, and it came at snail speed. 6 cups on the table for four people, but no spoons for the eggs, no sugar for the coffee. In the meantime everybody was smoking in the room next door and cheesy dance music blasted at full force from the sound system, the good morning disco. For sure, the bill was spotless, with a nice, big round seal of the hotel stamped on it, very official. Too bad it had double the items to pay on it. This was our “welcome to the Soviet Union” wake up call, time to leave ASAP.

We had some online stuff to do, the super slow Internet connection this morning drove us mad. We fueled up at a decent looking gas station at the exit of town, and then left Osh pretty late. After an hour we stopped for lunch at one of these roadside eateries they set up frequently around here, in the shade of the trees, with platforms to lie on while eating. A fresh wind chilled us down from the 30 degrees as we had samsas with yogurt, coke and green tea. 600 Soms (€9,60).

20130614-110444.jpgAfter lunch we drove for two hours on normal tar roads, with normal cars (for Central Asian standards), through a normal flat countryside with green fields and many trees. Especially the alleys of high rising poplars, bending in the wind, were a beautiful sight. The villages we crossed bustled with activity on bazaars, bus stations, shops and streets. We managed not to get lost and police checked and finally started our ascent into the mountains around the Naryn valley. The landscape was similar to the mountains of the last days but completely covered in green, as if someone had laid velvet on them. Every ridge had a slightly different tonality of green, as we drove by it was amazing to watch. Soon after we reached three artificial lakes created by dams. The first one deep blue, the second one deep green, both winding between steep canyons and stretching across many kms. The third one appeared briefly from afar, but then we had to drive around a mountain. As the road turned towards the lake again, it started opening up slowly, in clear light blue, bigger and bigger and bigger, until we saw it completely, a vast water reservoir stretching across many valleys for endless kms.

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20130614-110534.jpgWe stopped to take some pictures and were amazed by the silence and peace around here. Time to find a camp site for the night. At the next village we bout bread and eggs and drove up a green velvet hill, overlooking a stretch of lake, where we pitched out tent. No wind, no mosquitoes, great views, and a smell of grass and a dry plant whose name we don’t know. Apart from some vehicles driving along on the road a km below us the only noises were the wind, the bees and grasshoppers. A cold beer and delicious dinner at sundown closed this easy going day.

Trip data for the day

– Km driven: 362

– Hrs on the road: approx 5,5h

– Diesel l/100km: 7,9 (Soms 40,50/1l, €0,63)

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