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2 July 2014 / leggypeggy

We went nuts about Arslanbob

Kyrgyzstan view

Sensational views

Arslanbob is a small, picturesque village tucked away in the wilds of western Kyrgyzstan and just outside the largest walnut groves in the world.

In fact, with 60,000 hectares of walnuts, the village has this nut as the backbone of its economy, with about 1500 tonnes produced each per year. The area, with 1500 citizens, is the largest single natural source of walnuts on Earth and is flooded with workers in the harvest months of September, October and November. In recent times, snow sports such as skiing are also gaining popularity.

Arslanbob is also a perfect place for camping, having a truck clean, taking morning bushwalks in the surrounding landscape, fitting in a dose of bazaar shopping, eating a delicious lunch and spending an afternoon sitting in the local liquor store.

Kyrgyz liquor store

The locals have a chat while Steph tries to look like she’s not sitting in a liquor store all afternoon

Aw geez, I can sense those eyebrows raising—an afternoon spent in the local liquor store? You bet! After a morning of tramping up and down hills and through walnut groves, it was the coolest place in town to wait for our fellow bush walkers to return.

Some of us (the lazier ones) did the shorter walk of eight kilometres over three hours. We enjoyed sensational views of surrounding mountains and walnut forests, and even braved all the souvenir sellers to climb down to see a 23-metre waterfall.

Arslanbob waterfall

The smaller waterfall

The more energetic walkers in our group did 15 kilometres over almost six hours. Their destination was the 80-metre waterfall which, legend has it, is the place for visitors who seek holy blessings, and magical and spiritual powers.

None of them seemed ‘transformed’ after their walk, but they were plenty thirsty and good customers at the liquor store.

Kyrgyz shopkeeper

The shopkeeper and his grandson take a break from the ‘Point at it’ booklet

The shopkeeper was most hospitable, as were the many villagers who ventured in to check out all the foreign faces. Al, one of our mob, had his nifty Point at it booklet with him. Every two-page spread is loaded with pictures of everyday items. It’s a great way to break through the language barrier, and it was a lot of fun for the shopkeeper and his grandson.

The night before our walks, we camped below the village and alongside a smallish river. It was a welcome spot for a quick body wash (we’d been bush camping for a couple of days) and, trust me, water from snow melt is darn cold. We took advantage of the abundant water to do a mini truck clean too. With 14 of us pulling everything out of the lower lockers and washing things down as we went, we had the truck kitchen and storage areas in good shape in a couple of hours.

After our walk, but before we sought refuge in the liquor store, Neil, Poor John and I did our cook group shop for the coming night’s meal. Imagine spending 1000 sommes (or about $20) to buy enough food to feed 14 people very, very well. Two-fifths of the budget went on mutton and most of the rest went on scads of fruit and veg. I even had enough to buy a dollar’s worth of hundreds and thousands (sprinkles) that would get used the next day on Poor John’s birthday cake. Hey, we travel in style to the extent that we can.

Oh, and lunch in the village was excellent.

And be sure to check out my cooking blog.

Poor John and Leggy Peggy

Near the top

12 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Joanne T Ferguson / Jul 2 2014 5:51 pm

    G’day! Great photo of you and Poor John as your travels always look like they more than agree with you! Happy Birthday Poor John! Cheers! Joanne

    Like

  2. suchled / Jul 2 2014 6:11 pm

    Your blog is so full of a world that has been hidden from view for way too long. If Poor John ever gets tired and wants to stay home and grow tomatoes then let me know.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Jul 2 2014 8:31 pm

      I’ll keep that in mind. You never know, he may be looking for a way out. 🙂

      Like

  3. weggieboy / Jul 2 2014 8:36 pm

    “Land of the Walnuts”! I’d like this a lot!

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Jul 2 2014 9:06 pm

      We were very surprised not to find any in the market—all sold out until September.

      Like

  4. Chris Gee / Jul 3 2014 12:46 am

    Aslanbob – Lion Gate in arabic – is there a pass there?

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Jul 3 2014 1:33 am

      You’re absolutely right. There are three passes in the mountains behind the village. Two show clearly on the left and right (especially on the right) in the top photo.

      Like

  5. David York / Aug 22 2014 5:04 am

    ‘Nuts” is the word! Good for you all! What a great looking troupe!
    Your photo of the mountain with the field of yellow flowers in the foreground reminds me very much of a farming community in a very rural spot here in Colorado called Alamosa. Their mountain, Blanca Peak, rises to 14,345 feet from the valley floor of about 7,500 feet and like this one provides for a spectacular setting.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Aug 24 2014 4:00 pm

      We’ll have to track down Blanca Peak next time we’re in Colorado. I’ll bring the camera! 🙂

      Like

Trackbacks

  1. Poor John celebrates birthday in scenic style | Where to next?
  2. The magic of manty in Arslanbob | Where to next?

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