There are few places that I visit for such a short time that I fall in love with, but it has to be said, this small mountain town in the midst of central Asia is one of them.
I cannot exactly place my finger on the exact thing that draws me in here. The town itself appears nothing special at first, built in a grid with block after block of single storey houses and straight roads, it almost feels like it lacks imagination; everything is, at first glance at least, somehow standardised.
And yet, scratch a little deeper and this town cannot help but captivate. The small markets that spill out onto the streets outside, the single coffee shop that boasts the best cake in Karakol (with good reason) and the quirky church built entirely of wood. Everyone here is friendly and, although our foreign faces attract the same old shouts of ‘taxi, taxi?’, people have been consistently helpful even when they won’t make money from us.
Most of all though, I think this town appeals to the adventurous side of me. After all, what is not to love about a town on the edge of the mountains from which you can ski, horse ride, hike, mountain bike and swim, followed by a sauna or a dip in the hot springs?!