Blogs from East Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan, Asia

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Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty December 11th 2013

Let me know if you agree... Beautiful architecture, nice cafes and fancy restaurants, lots of parks, elegant women, the opera and people who love French literature... Almaty is a great city! I left my bike in Bishkek and crossed the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border to spend 4 days in Almaty. I hadn’t planned on visiting Kazakhstan on this trip. It’s such a huge country, I thought I would eventually make it there someday and spend a month traveling from Astana to Almaty in the future. But in October, I needed to get the transit visa for Turkmenistan, and there is no Turkmen Consulate in Bishkek. My only option was to go to Almaty or wait until Tashkent to get it. I chose Almaty because I didn’t want to be stuck for a week or more in Tashkent and ... read more
Zenkov Cathedral
City Hall
Saint Nicholas' Cathedral in Almaty

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty August 29th 2013

Arrived in China this morning at the border crossing in Khorgas, but I was soon turned back because I did not have proper documentation for the vehicle. I am now back in Kazakhstan to sort out the paper work for the car. From Georgia I headed north to Russia and then from Russia I entered Kazakhstan to pick up the silk road south of Kazakhstan near the border with Uzbekistan. I chose this route to avoid visas for the 'stan countries. Looks like the silk road journey may end here in Almaty. I am in good health and the car is running very smoothly. More updates later.... read more

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty August 22nd 2013

We have a nice and easy going flight from Tbilisi to Almaty. During our time on board we can see the Caspian Sea, the long never ending Kysylkum Desert and the remains of the Aral Lake. The distance is around 3000km and the flight only takes three and a half hours. Looking at the map it´s amusing to realize that we have just spent the last five months covering the same distance overland. Before arriving in Almaty we had found a Couch surfing host Veronica, a friendly Kazakh girl who actually grew up in Mexico, lived the last 10 years in Dubai and has come back to live where she originally comes from. She is living in a very impressive penthouse apartment with a lovely view of the lake, the mountains that surround Almaty and the ... read more
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Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty May 21st 2013

There is no denying the feeling that regularly visits me prior to travel to a new destination. As I slouch in my couch, I gaze at the fully loaded backpack leaning comfortably against the wall, and that feeling fills me again. Regardless of how many countries my travels have taken me or the combined length of my journeys, I am always beset by apprehension the night before again launching into unknown lands. Not so when returning to a country or visiting a previously travelled region, but always with the first country in a region. No surprise as I prepare once again to travel alone and independently to a place where I understand not the language, nor the culture, and where every face is unfamiliar. Pre-travel concerns are actually a positive for without that anxiety prior to ... read more
Zenkov Cathedral within Panfilov Park - Almaty, Kazakhstan
View from Kok-Tobe - Almaty, Kazakhstan
Bridge in Kok-Tobe - Almaty, Kazakhstan

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty October 26th 2012

In the year 2002 when Kazakhstan had just enjoyed 10 years of independance, i was there. The country was still building itself and creating an identity. I happened to live in Almaty but visited for weekly trips to Astana and Atyrau. There are Russians and Kazakhs who dominate the population but in Almaty you can find a lot of Uzbeks and few Afghans. A mix of islam and christianity and pagans and tatars. I did not see any conservative people in the cities, maybe there are some in the villages. A very cold country where people are hard working and lots of night life and open culture.... read more
Core Network team
Core Network team
Core Network team

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Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty August 1st 2012

Hello again everyone! I got a good night's sleep last night despite having the feeling like I was moving for a lot of the time... My host is currently cooking dinner (a quiche) and I'm just sitting here doing my thing. Not a bad deal. Apparently there are a lot of Korean expats in Almaty, so I would like to take her to a Korean restaurant and show her what that is all about. We shall see. So, today I woke up and ate some breakfast and played with her cat (she had already left before I woke up). Also, not a bad deal. I wandered up to where the Kyrgyzstan Consulate is to get some information about my next destination. Some good news here: as of July 27, 2012, citizens of (giant list of countries ... read more
Lunch!
Technical University
Tough Gals

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Semey July 22nd 2012

From Almaty its a 900km dash north across the steppes to the Russian border. The landscape is identical to that 2500km to the west that we were riding through several weeks ago; long straight roads through the flat steppe, lined by stumpy trees with enormous eagles perching in them. The eagles aren't actually that big its just that the trees are so small and the eagles look really comical perching on the tiniest of branches. We do get the occasional change in scenery as we are skirting round the foothills of the Altai Mountains to the east and sometimes we have to leave the flat plains and go up and over. But somehow this just emphasis how flat the land actually is – as you reach the crest of the pass the flat steppe land stretches ... read more
... and steppes lie between us and the Russian border.
as in western Kazakhstan the roads are lined with stumpy trees in which enormous eagles perch
in contrast to western Kazakhstan its not all flat - we are skirting round Altai Mts

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty July 20th 2012

We're up early to find a large flock of sheep and goats descending on our camp site. I don't know who was more surprised, us or the shepherd who appeared over the top of the hill on his horse to find a dozen or so tents & bikes on his grazing patch. Having re-directed the flock he disappears off, back over the hill, and returns a few minutes later with another flock and two of his mates – I'm sure he rushed back to get them and said “you'll never guess what I've seen over that hill. After watching us for 10 minutes and waving they ride off to gather the flock and ride on. From our camp-site its an easy 180km ride to Almaty. As we get closer the flat steppe land disappears and it ... read more
he was so suprised he went to get his friend and they just sat and watched us
en-route to Almaty across, the usual, flat steppeland
as we get closer it gets decidely hilly

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty July 18th 2012

From Kakakol we continue our circumnavigation of Issyk-Kul lake. We're heading up the eastern shore and our 1stdetour soon arrives. Some sketchy instruction and a GPS co-ordinate take us down a gravel track to what should be an old Soviet submarine/torpedo testing base. We don't really expect to find it but, amazingly, the co-ordinates lead us straight there!! The derelict main buildings and rusting cranes are all fenced off but by the shore are the old jettys and all sorts of strange slipways and pipework. None of the locals cycling past seems too bothered by us wandering round taking photos. Close-by is the Przewalski Memorial to the man the horses were named after. He was a polish born Russian geographer, biologist, spy, explorer and enthusiastic Great Game combatant. He made his home here on the edge ... read more
the remains of the Soviet torpedo testing base
there's cranes, jettys and chutes all along the lake shore
the locals don't seem too bothered by us taking photos of the old Soviet base

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty May 25th 2012

Prave jsme v oblasti okolo mesta Almaty. Cesta pres Petropavlovsk, Astanu do Almaty nas vedla zajimavou stepi, skalnimi utvary, kolem jezera a poslednich zhruba 700km od jezera Balkas uz byla jen rovna step. Kazakhstan je 9ta nejvetsi zeme sveta a osidleni prakticky zadne. Hlavni mesto Astana je moderni metropole, ktera vsak postrada historii. Spousta modernich budov, vkusna architektura, ale to ja tak asi vse. Almaty je oproti tomu hezke zelene mesto plne zivota na upati vecne zasnezenych hor. Zde je videt, ze mesto zije, spousta obchudku, bazaru, trhu, lide ziji na ulici. Cestou jsme se vykoupali v jezeru Balchas, v nemz je v casti voda sladka, a v druhe casti slana. Lide jsou zde prijemni, ale s ruskou pohostinosti se to neda srovnat. V rusku i cizi clovek byl vic nez pratelsky, zde je uz videt ... read more




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