Swallows Nest in Altyn Arashan and Camp at Issyk-Kul Lake
Before leaving Altyn Arashan we had the opportunity to visit a special hot spring pool called “Swallows Nest”. Not everybody went since some people were suffering from alcohol poisoning as a result of last night’s vodka drinking event.
“Swallows Nest” is half an hour walk away from Altyn Arashan so you not only enjoy the hot spring but also the hike there. We basically walked along the valley and down to the river were the nest is situated. While travelling overland in remote areas we also cover lots of distance on foot since often no other form of transport is available or simply because we are enjoying it. Just imagine a place which is in half an hour walking distance from your house. How would you usually go there? By car, public transport, pushbike, taxi…? How about walking next time ;-)
The “Swallows Nest” pool is situated very close to the river, a couple of meters up in the rocks. Going there is a little climb which isn’t so easy since the rock is all wet and slippery. Most people left after they saw it but I thought when I came here to take a bath in the nest I should get up there to get wet. So I climbed up and sat down in the nest. The water was actually not that hot more lukewarm but it was an amazing view up there right on the valley and the river. Martina, Helen and Lauren followed and so we four ladies were enjoying the bath together.
After we returned to the camp we quickly put down our tents and packed them into the military truck which will bring us back to Karakol. The ride back was again very bumpy and scenic. I even spotted a sign in the middle of nowhere giving directions to major cities like Tokyo, New York and Moscow. Not sure if they are trustworthy. I also spotted some snow which must be remainder from last winter. I heard there is a lot of snow here during winter time which is several meters high and completely covering the road to Altyn Arashan. I have no idea how people survive here in winter. I would freeze my ass off.
Instead of going by military truck our fellow traveler Alistair decided to go for a walk and so he was ahead of us. After an hour or so we caught up with him and he joined us in the truck. There were also two German ladies staying with us in Altyn Arashan. We offered them to take their luggage with the truck so they can go for a walk towards Karakol. They happily accepted our offer and we picked them up as well. Unfortunately they weren’t really talkative and I had the feeling they came to this remote place in Kyrgyzstan to be away from everybody. Unfortunately they met us and needed to see us partying last night while they just wanted to have a quiet evening.
When we were back in Karakol, four people split from our group to go on a little side trip to the Eki Naryn gorge. The good thing about overland travel is your schedule is never too tight so you have the opportunity to split from the group, travel on your own and re-join the group a couple of days later. So Andrew, Chris, Helen and Isabella had organized a jeep which will take them on a two day journey to the Eki Naryn gorge. I didn’t join them since I was fine with the original schedule, thus spending a couple of days at the Issyk-Kul Lake.
When we arrived at the lake in the afternoon we had some lazy time which we mainly spent with sleeping, walking and chatting. Today’s cook group, consisting of Martina and Paul, cooked us a lovely dinner which was lentil soup. Paul and Wayne also started a campfire at which we prepared our desert which was banana with melted chocolate cookies on a stick. The evening went by very quickly. We chatted around the campfire and played stupid games such as twisting our bodies around a broomstick.