Waking up late at night and stumbling out of our Yurt we were overwhelmed by the clarity and brilliance of stars in all directions – the Milky Way stretched nearly from horizon to horizon and millions of little lights shone so clearly without any distractions of nearby cities. Earlier this year we saw the same awe inspiring sight from the Outback of Australia but here the brightness of the galaxy was even more clear because of the high elevation.
The night turned to day and stayed clear. And warm. Soon we started hiking around the edge of the lake. It takes one an average of seven days to walk all the way around its waters. With warm temperatures we went swimming in the cold clear waters. Lying in the sunshine on the warm rounded pebbles on the shoreline after a brisk dip in the water was an absolutely refreshing experience.
With barely a movement on the shoreline and still waters as far as one could see – the lake resembled a mirror. If this lake was magically transported to say California, there would be high rises and other buildings lining its edges. Here it’s natural shoreline is unbroken with no people as far as the eye can see. Pebbly beaches are empty in all directions.
Horses roam wild and at times you can hear their galloping from the yurts when a sizable number all run in unison.
One cannot compete with a Kyrgyz when it comes to drinking Vodka. Nevertheless, we thought we would give it the old “college” try. We sat outside on sheepskin rugs in the brilliant blue sunshine overlooking the equally brilliantly blue colors of Song Kul Lake and opened a bottle of Vodka. One is supposed to give meaningful and lengthy speeches before taking a shot of this strong spirit but all we could muster up was “cheers”.
After several shots the conversation began to flow more freely – taking more liberty in what was said. After a few more shots we soon found ourselves lying flat in the brown grass staring up at the sky and saying phrases in Spanish like “I love the sky” and “where is the bathroom”. A breeze started to come up from the lake but we were already “two shades to the wind” as they say, and did not notice the changeable drop in temperature until much later.