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In the morning we filled ourselves with the hotel's buffet breakfast and laded back into the vans. The exciting new of the day was that we were to be reunited with our truck in the afternoon.

First we made a stop by the gorgeous church we'd seen the day before. This 19th century Russian Orthodox Church is constructed entirely out of wood, no nails were used, just wooden pegs and joints hold it together. During soviet times it was used as a dance hall.

Just a few blocks away stands the Dungan Mosque, built by Chinese muslims in 1910, also without the use of nails. This unique building really brings together the confluence of cultures that make up this corner of the world, here you can see the Chinese architectural influences blended with that of traditional muslim buildings.

We left Karakol and headed north along the northern shore of Lake Issy Kul, taking in the scenery and enjoying the mellow pace of small towns and farmland. Remnants of Soviet influence are still to be found everywhere, and each town is marked with soaring sculptures and tributes to Soviet era power.

At the far western side of the lake we broke for lunch at a small town and were finally re-united with our truck. We were to be camping the next two nights in a row, so it was time to shop for the next few day's food.

We made camp again by the side of the lake, pitching our tent in the sand and making a huge fire. I had plenty of time to hike around the area, looking for birds, plants and wildlife and taking in the stunning sunset.

strange desert plants

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May 2017

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