After a patchy nights sleep caused by a disruptive roommate who was up and crashing around at 4am, it was something of a relief that we had a later start, although midday seemed a waste.
I took the opportunity to update some social media channels and sync some photos before heading out to grab water and snacks for our two nights in a yurt.
The first stop of the day was five nights drive from our guest house at a felt making factory run by a community of 200 local women. The women used traditional techniques to role, wash and stamp the animal hair into an array of household goods and souvenirs.
For our part we helped in producing a rather pathetic looking square which took us over an hour of beating, layering, rolling in a reed mat like a sushi roll, covering in boiling water, jumping up and down on for half an hour and then washing thoroughly the result was definitely not worth the effort!
After a quick browse around the gift shop we sat down to lunch in a yurt in the back garden of the factory. Again it was a massive spread of breads and sweets – which this time had attracted the local wasps. Feeling bloated I opted for a cup of tea and to escape the swarms of angry insects.
For the most part the next three hour drive was largely unspectacular. We stopped briefly at a canyon where I sent LARS for a short flight, but apart from that it was endless fields with horses, cattle and sheep.
As we started our ascent into the mountains we hit a series of steep switchbacks. I was drifting to sleep when we pulled up on the side of the road – we had a flat tire but lucky our drivers Aleksander and Vladimir were up to the task and were soon making repairs.
After only ten minutes we were back underway before stopping when we came across four double humped camels crossing the road. We all hopped out for photos and selfies.
Disappointingly we continued passed at speed – although unbeknownst it was to stop on a flat looking down.
I immediately sent LARS down to meet the Yaks – it was soon evident however that the Yaks didn’t like LARS as in the distance the large herd all started to bunch and make a run for it. I decided not to stress them any further and with sunset approaching I returned home
A short drive later and we’d arrived at our destination Song-Kul Lake. Just inland from the Lake was a village of Yurts which had grown out to accommodate the increasing numbers of tourists. Behind the village was a vast prairie, dotted with grazing cattle and horses that disappeared into the distant mountains.
We were assigned to our Yurts, which would be our home for the next two nights. I had the same roommates as the previous night – before heading down to the Lakes edge to take photos of sunset.
With darkness setting in we assembled in the only non-Yurt, a corrugated steel hut which served as the kitchen and dining room. Once again the table was spread with endless breads, chocolates, honeys and fruit. Our meal of soup, dumplings and fried fish was probably twice the portion that anyone needed but we politely ate what we could.
After dinner we headed to bed in our Yurts which had only limited solar lighting. As the night set in the temperature plummeted – of course at 2am at the coldest my stomach began to cramp and I was forced to throw on clothes as quickly and quietly as possible and make the two hundred yard dash to the outhouse toilets.
On the walk back to my Yurt I took a few moments to appreciate the spectacular starry skies – as clear and perfect as any I’d seen. It also gave me a few moments to appreciate how icy cold it was and how effective my Yurt was.
After tossing turning for an hour I finally fell asleep but was awoken at 6am by my Yurt-mate crashing around. This time he spent an hour packing and unpacking this oversized suitcases. While awake I had a second dart to the longdrop but returned unable to sleep.
After another oversized breakfast I returned to the Yurt and passed out. I took plenty of water and tablets but it was clear I either had a stomach bug or the rich and heavy food didn’t agree with me.
Most of that second day at Song-Kul Lake was spent sleeping or in bed blogging. When I did emerge I took the chance to take some photos and give fellow traveller, Australian retiree Chris a quick tutorial and fly with LARS. I suspect he ordered one as soon as he next had wifi (sorry Jackie)!
The rest of the day was spent in a leisurely routine of chatting and eating – although we soon discovered the great food spread was laid out once for the week and it progressively got staler as the days went by!
After dinner I took the chance to enjoy a final view of sunset before hitting the hay!