Day 3-Tuesday, April 23- Almaty and Lake Issyk, Krugyzstan
We rode in our bus most of the day today with the mountains far in the east watching over us as the rain fell.
The mountains stood out covered in snow against the bright blue grey sky, almost disappearing at times as their color matched that of the changing sky.
This area has many rivers running through it from the melting snow. Some of that water flows into this giant lake.
Lake Issk-Kul is at 5,279 feet. It is the second-largest high altitude lake in the world. The largest is Lake Titicaca.
The area is covered in rich agricultural land and Poplars have been planted thickly as windbreaks along the roads and the many fields. The trees are beautiful as the wind blows through them and the leaves shimmer back and forth from light to dark green.
We reached our hotel after stopping in a National Park full of petroglyphs left behind by an ancient culture. This shallow hillside at the bottom of the near by mountains is strewn with a moraine left behind by glaciers. Tall snow covered mountains stand nearly all around us now. Only to the west does the horizon become flat and distant.
The moraine covers a wide area and the many carvings on the small and giant boulders include animals and humans. One carving is especially interesting as it shows snow leopards being used to hunt for humans. They clearly have leashes attached to them.
Our guide has been preparing us for this hotel. He has indicated that it might be less than desirable without actually saying so. So far our hotels have been very nice.
We arrived shortly after seeing the moraine in the late afternoon.
This hotel was incredible. It is called the Caprice Resort. It is made up of dozens of small individual vacation homes down below and closer to the water with apartments in the rear of the property. A wide cement walkway down the center of the property leads the eye to the shore.
There is a wide white beach with several pieces of jungle gym type equipment on it for the youngsters to play on.
The property looks out over the lake and the giant mountains stand in the far distance to the north. We were situated in the rear of the property with a clear line of sight to the giant lake.
It is illegal to fish here in the slightly saline water. The Russians had used the lake over the years to test torpedoes in. Who knows what else was going on out here. Kyrgyzstan actually had a navy at this time on the lake.
There is a long pier that juts out into the lake and turns right at the end and runs back toward the shore for several yards. The water is very clear and we can see the fish swimming below us as we walked over the smooth, shellacked, wooden timbers.
The land has turned more rocky and desert like as we got closer to the mountains and our home for the night.
It turns cooler as the sun sets behind the mountains to the west and the sky turns red with a warm glow.
This is a very special place.