Bye bye Kazakhstan, hello Kyrgyzstan

The past days we’ve enjoyed Almaty. As we said before, it is an amazing city with great temperatures, blue skies, sun, a lot of trees, parks, terraces, nice restaurants and always set in front of the Tien Shan mountains with its snowy tops.

We had some things to arrange, like our visa for Uzbekistan (which we got), an attempt to get an all-round car insurance for all ‘Stan’-countries (which failed) and another check-up for the car (which failed as well)…. Though we had our Blue Beast washed again and it is shiny and looks like new!

But besides the necessary arrangements, we fortunately had enough time to enjoy the city and its surroundings. On Friday morning we set off to the ‘Great Almaty Lake’ – beautiful!! And so was the trip there through the mountains with great sceneries and passes. We coincidently passed the lake at first, which was a good thing as we had an amazing view down on the lake. We then drove back and entered an ‘unaccessible’ border area on foot which brought us right at the lakeside. The color is amazing – it’s almost like they added some pots of turquoise paint.

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After a stroll along the lake we drove back down the mountain and up another one which brought us to the Medeo speed skating Stadium. Famous among many (old and new) Dutch speed skaters. This Stadium lies on an altitude of around 2000 m and is the highest Ice Rink in the world. It is extremely beautifully located in between green mountains. Now, in summertime, people cycle, inline skate of just walk on the tracks.

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Back in the city, we thought it hadn’t been quite enough yet with all these mountains and so we went up another one – this time by cable car to ‘Kok Tobe’. It is a viewing point where we could see the Tien Shan mountains as well as the city below. When we arrived it just started raining (with thunderstorms) and that actually made it pretty cool. And it gave us a reason to hang around and wait until the sky cleared again, which it did within around 20 minutes.

The day after we enjoyed some cultural sites in Almaty, the ‘Zenkov Cathedral’ which apparently is made entirely our of wood (only the first two parts we touched were made of concrete…???), the Saint Nicolas Cathedral and the Warriors Memorial. Though, all around town you find amazing buildings, churches and mosques.

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And this morning it was time to leave this great city behind us. We were definitely up for something new again. Late morning we set off to the border with Kyrgyzstan. The drive there was easy (and on fairly good tarmac) and the border crossing (again) went smooth. In Kazakhstan it took a little while for all the paperwork and in Kyrgyzstan it literally took us less than 15 minutes to get into the country. And then after only 20 min. we drove into Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

We drove directly to our hotel a little outside of the center (it took us a while to find it) and went for a bite to eat as we didn’t arrive until 7 pm. So, for now, it is only a first impression of this city; it is green, it has even more snowy mountains around it, it has more water (streams of melting water from the mountains), mainly low rise buildings and surprisingly many people seem to be speaking English here. So yeah, we are looking forward spending the day here tomorrow (mainly for getting visa’s for Iran and Tajikistan) – and maybe the day after.

2 Responses to Bye bye Kazakhstan, hello Kyrgyzstan

  1. Betty Kemper

    Reading all the stories about your amazing trip it feels as if the Vakantiebeurs of all the 20 years is passing by! From every country we had participants and they all told about their wonderful countries with unforgettable sceneries. Very special, that you are enjoying them now! We enjoy with you!!!

  2. Watson

    Almaty seems a city deserve paying a visit.

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