‘But Mummy, where will we go to the loo?’ This was my nine-year-old son’s primary concern when I announced, early last year, that we would spend a week of our summer holidays riding and camping in the majestic and remote Tien Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan.
Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan is a slice of mountainous paradise sandwiched between the Karakum and Gobi deserts of Uzbekistan and China. The Kyrgyz people are nomadic, as they have been for thousands of years. When warm weather arrives, they disperse from the villages in which they hole up in winter and make their way to the summer jailoo – isolated pastures embedded in distant peaks.
Following their example and travelling by horseback provides access to vertiginous terrains inaccessible by road and tiny settlements in the valleys. There is simply no better way to fully immerse yourself in the rhythm of life here, or to take in the nation’s unheralded beauty.