Once again the weather gods have been kind to us. It was a blue sky morning, and we set off straight after breakfast to walk down the hill. The Russian vehicles will start up in about an hour’s time and pick us up as they catch up with us further down the road. Actually, the road conditions are so bad the vehicles barely achieve more than a walking pace at best, so we have quite a head start.
What a beautiful place this is. We walked 8 kilometres to the road’s half way point before the trucks caught up with us. I have to say the road doesn’t seem to be quite as bad when you’re on foot, but even so there are deep ruts and boulders, and you can only wonder how the drivers climb over them in the vehicles.
Once we were back in the vehicle we bounced and shook our way down the rest of the track. I’ve never encountered such a treacherous road. Skippers Canyon? It’s not even in the running; it’s strictly amateurish compared with the challenges of this road. One section zig-zags so sharply down the hill that the vehicles can’t take the turn in one go but have to reverse and get around in a three point turn. Of course, this involves manoeuvring on the edge of a precipice, but no one appeared to be concerned.
Once safely down in Karakol and checked into a clean hotel we took a walking tour of the town. There’s a lovely Russian Orthodox Church in town, dating from pre-Soviet days. I thought of my mother. This would have been her heritage if the Bolsheviks hadn’t intervened and turned her world upside down. I lit a candle for her in remembrance.
We toured the local museum which has exhibits from pre-history to modern times. The display of stuffed animals was a bit gruesome although interesting. Alas, (or maybe not?) there were no wolves on display.
Later we went to a Wi-Fi café, had an Albanian pizza??? (Apparently the particular sausage topping was Albanian), and a glass of wine before walking back to the Hotel for an early night. It was lovely to have good internet at the Hotel and be able to catch up with social media and upload photos and blogs.
Walking down from Altyn Arashan
The trucks on the road
Russian Orthodox Church, Karakol
The Karakol Museum