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Name Anna Thiemann
Age 19
Country Germany

From Germany, with Love

The year after graduating I spent in Kyrgyzstan, and while there were many things that made my stay memorable, some of the best experiences I definitely made while traveling this beautiful country. 

Countless times I sat on marschrutkas, staring out of the window at yet another stunning landscape that didn't compare to anything I had seen in my life.  Step and brown, dusty hills can change to green meadows to mountains with snow-covered tops within hours in Kyrgyzstan.  It took me some time to discover this, but I loved exploring every single part of it.

I really can't tell what is the best place to visit, or which lake or hike is the most beautiful, but in general I think something worth seeing can be found in every part of the country. Let me tell you about some of the things that stayed with me the most:

Last winter I first went to Skazka canyon, right at the southern shore of Issyk Kul. You wouldn't expect it at all from the road but once you enter the canyon you are surrounded by rock formations in the strangest shapes in bright yellow, orange, sometimes even green. There's a view point from which you can see the whole canyon, the twisted road, the insanely blue water of Issyk Kul and the peaks of Kazakh mountains covered in snow in the far distance. 

Going up to Son Köl - one of the most popular mountain lakes for tourists to visit -  in  early summer was another unforgettable experience. It was actually still way too cold: the first day we spent there the sky was completely covered in clouds, the lake's color was dirty gray and it kept on raining mixed with snow. We sat in the kitchen yurt of our yurt camp drinking black tea in liters, waiting for the sky to clear up. The next day was sunnier, and with the color of the sky, the color of our surroundings changed. Everything seemed more green and alive, the flower in the grass seemed more colourful, more birds flew in the sky and the color of the lake became a bright blue. What stood out most to me was the sunset that evening: sparse mountain landscape in the warm light of a disappearing sun. 

There are many more things worth mentioning, like the beautiful areas around Karakol or Talas, or the dryer and warmer south, but I just want to say how much I loved Issyk Köl in summer. I've heard people call it overcrowded and too touristy, which may be true for some places, but it really doesn't take away anything from its beauty. You can find party towns and huge hotels, but there are also small yurt camps and home stays everywhere along the lake, and more than enough places, and  places that are remote enough for lonely campers. 

You can go swimming, relax on the beaches, explore the villages and surrounding attractions like  mountains, canyons, hot springs and salt lakes. 

The hospitality of the people (and the food) is great. The best to me was, that people from Bishkek, the local villages, Russia and international backpackers spend their holiday here alike, so you really never know who you're gonna meet, but it's for sure that it will be a variety of people!

Kyrgyzstan has loads to offer and as long as you walk around with your eyes open you will find beauty almost anywhere you go.

Name Anna Thiemann
Age 19
Country Germany

as long as you walk around with your eyes open you will find beauty almost anywhere you go

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