Expedition to Kazakhstan 2010
All travel reports are translated electronically although minor improvements are sometimes made.
Expedition to Kazakhstan 2010
My trip to Kazakhstan turned out to be very successful. Kazakhstan is a country of many meadows and picturesque lakes, and national parks where I rode a horse and slept in a tent. I also made a few additional trips through the desert, such as to the Charyn Canyon and the Aral Sea. The cities in Kazakhstan are post-Soviet, ugly, uninteresting; but there is also a very modern and ambitiously built capital of Astana. However, nobody goes to Kazakhstan to see the cities, but to enjoy the beautiful nature and get to know the Kazakh culture of Central Asia. On top of all this, there is also Soviet propaganda as “the great liberators and benefactors of the Kazakh people”. Kazakhstan is a very interesting country and I am glad that I traveled there.
Travel ruote arounnd Kazakhstan: Almaty-Medeu-Chimbulak-Almaty Turksistan – Aralsk – expedition to the Aral Sea – Lepsy – Lake Balhash-Taldyqorghan– Ust-Kamenogorsk (Öskemen) – Semey (Semipalatinsk) – Astana – Lake Burabay (Borovoe) – Almatik- Road to Kyrgyzstan. In addition there are many “road reports” that show how Kazakhs live in their country and the everyday, sometimes funny adventures from my journey.
Arrival and first impressions of Almaty
After many hours of flight I finally got to Almaty airport, thus starting my big adventure in Central Asia.When I got out of the plane, there was a little bit of drunkenness, then I got a passport stamp and I was officially in Kazakhstan. At the airport, they did not give me live taxi drivers who persuaded me to go to town for a heavy cash. After a long haggling I got a slight stretch and drove around half an hour around town before finding a hotel that would be cheap enough for me. As a rule, all are too expensive, so after a few attempts I got to the student dorm where for £ 4 a night I slept in a room with three other people. The service was cheesy, it was syf and it was flying from the tap. The shower had to wait but it also worked.Nothing could beat that price and the location was close to the center.
After a few hours of sleep I went to town without much sense. I just wanted to spot myself in the field and see what my impression was.Almaty was full of old post-communist blocks, several concrete-covered parks and monuments, and many shops and pubs where you could not eat dearly. Of course not in comparison with London and even with Warsaw but more expensive than I expected. More than the aforementioned things immediately came to my eyes the beautiful Asian and Russian. Neither one has anything to boast about. There were times when I felt like a model runner. Before dark I sat in Panfilova Park where I saw Zenkova Cathedral and I could enjoy being in a new country. When it was dark I went back to my dorm. First, take a tram on stilts and then walk across the dark park. I was acquainted with Kazakh roommates learning Russian and went to bed.
(City description and tourist attractions)
Almaty is the former capital of Kazakhstan, the largest city in the country and the economic center. It is also one of the greatest achievements of the former Russian empire in terms of the location of the city itself. Almaty lies at the foot of the Tien Shan, which means that many of its parts can be observed snow-capped peaks. After a few days here I found out that it is a very lively city, well stocked and full of beautiful women. Although I was in Central Asia, I could often feel like in Europe.
The next day, after I managed to get a shower, I went to explore Almaty. I started with Respublika AlanghySquare where the main point is taken by a monument symbolizing Kazakhstan. It is the Independence Monument, which is a tall column on which there is a golden man standing on a snow leopard. Nearby there are several tables depicting the history of Kazakhstan and across the street government buildings and snow-capped mountains. Then walking down Dostyq street on the right side I had Hotel Kazachstan,which is known enough to even appear on one of the banknotes. On the same side of the street, but a little further I reached the big square where stood the monument of national poet Abay Kunanbaeva . Behind the big lawn in the same square was the Palace of the Republic , one of the many disgusting, vulgar concrete blocks left behind in the Soviet Union. Fortunately, there was something that was worth spending more time there. It was the Kök-Töbe cableway . So I got to the top of the mountain from where I had a nice view of Almaty and the surrounding mountain town. At the top were many national souvenir stands, several carousels and shooting range, and a pub where you could eat a good skewer. You can spend time in peace and quiet, sitting on the bench and looking at the mountains. This is definitely a good break from the city.Walking to Almaty, I reached the Academy of Sciences , which is an interesting building in terms of Soviet architecture.
Nearby there is a nice park with a fountain from which there is a good view of the Academy. I will add that this park is a popular meeting place for families and women with children when their husbands are at work. Also worth mentioning here is the fountain of the Eastern Calendar with Chinese signs of the zodiac. After about half an hour in the park I reached Coffeedelia, which is so overrated by Lonely Planet and extremely expensive cake shop serving average cakes and milk drinks. I was expecting something more and got a chilled cheesecake and water with strawberry juice. To sum up, I advise you to save money and go to the bazaar. Going further, I got to the Abaya Ballet and Opera House . I have to admit that this object I liked. This is a neoclassical building surrounded by greenery and several sculptures. A beautiful addition was the presence of beautiful women walking nearby. There was also an old parliament building, which today houses the Kazakh-British Technical University . It is one of several huge, post-Soviet concrete blocks, although sophisticated enough that there are high columns at the entrance. There was a park where a monument to the heroes of the Mametov and Moldagulov war was at the center . In the Soviet era, Lenin’s monument was erected, but it was removed after independence.
The evening was approaching, so I headed for my dorm. On the way unfortunately I lost myself but the Russians helped me find the right direction. I was also in the shop where I bought biscuits and a camel milk or camel. The room was just a small party during which I could exchange my travel experiences. After a few teas and melon the day came to an end.
The next day I wanted to explore Almaty better. I got up early in the morning and started off, but did not start straight from the place where I finished. First I went to the National Museum , which is located near the Respublika Alanghy on the street Dostyq. It is located in a large white building with a round blue roof. In the middle are expositions from the Bronze Age, through the times of Genghis Khan, to the redirection of the capital to Astana. The original size of the yurt, white arms, national costumes and horse and camel carriages from the space of the centuries were interesting. There was also a statue of the Golden Man seen from close up, a nice map of Kazakhstan at the entrance and a shop where you could get rid of excess cash. Also interesting was the exposition of the ancient city of Turkistan, which I was after. However, I was forced to think about an exhibition about World War II, which was a pro-Soviet propaganda. Lenin and Stalin present themselves as positive figures and the Soviet Union as a savior of the world and a friend of Kazakhstan. At that time I did not realize that all of Central Asia represented the Soviets in this way. I understood that perhaps independence is merely a cover to the fact that Moscow still holds its former republic. The whole museum was very interesting, especially since it was my first tour.
From there I took a bus to Panfilova Park in the area where I finished the tour the previous day. This place would definitely recommend, especially on a nice sunny day. As soon as I entered I saw horse-drawn carriages and the great Cathedral of Zenkova. It is an interesting church designed in 1904, which means that it still remember tsarist times. Zenkova Cathedral is in yellow color and was built entirely from wood though it does not look like it. Panfilova is a nice place to relax, a portion of ice cream and rolls, which is very popular here. Strolling through Almaty, I realized that in this part of Kazakhstan, in fact, you can feel like you are in Russia. Everyone speaks Russian and there are a lot of ethnic Russians, and the names of streets and squares include Pushkin, Gorky, Lenin. In this part of the world I felt comfortable because nobody paid attention to me because of the huge amount of Russians. Going back to exploring Almaty, the next place was Gorki Park, which is the largest recreational area in the city. There was a zoo, water area with boats for rent, pubs with food and as its name implies, also a park. In summary, this is a pleasant place, well worth a visit and about half an hour from Panfilova Park.
Going through the city, I took pictures of people and objects, I was getting tired of street traffic and “caught my eye” a beautifully unnoticed woman. After a short while I reached the Arasan Bath which was another interesting experience. There were showers, a pool with icy water and a very expensive massage. Everything would be fine if it was not for the price of the massage that I set aside for next year in South East Asia. Arasan baths give you the opportunity to relax, have a hot shower under high pressure, then massage the entire fan there and then jump into the icy water. It is also popular to improve the circulation by scraping the leaf blades. I would like to come to the group to be curious or with cash for a massage. Another place and also one of my favorites was the Green Bazaar, an area where you could buy everything from fruits and vegetables to toothpaste and cheap kebabs. Unfortunately, in Kazakhstan they do the trash, because kebabs put chips to fill them more, while giving less meat. Either way, this is the best place for cheap shopping and food so I often come back here.
Nearby is the Central Mosque, the largest in Kazakhstan, and is built of white marble. I’m not the biggest fan of mosques so I was not here long though it was fun to be here that local kids were following me repeatedly repeating “American” while pointing my fingers. On the way back, I made a picture of the policemen in my big hats and walked back to the Green Bazaar to eat a kebab and stock up for the next day. Almaty was my base all the time while I was in Kazakhstan. Here I left excess baggage when I traveled to distant parts of the country and here I always come back to wash away the dirt, sleep and go to another expedition in this country. There is another place in Almaty that I want to tell. This is a popular pedestrian street near the Green Bazaar where there is an exhibition of paintings, the cheapest Internet and the big department store Tsum . I advise to visit not only for shopping but also for experience. As soon as I walked in, on the ground floor, were the ladies with the largest collection of cell phones and other electronics in the world but it was not interesting here. Behind the counters were sweet, slender “kittens” with long claws that pretended to know the electronics. You can buy national souvenirs, try on fur hats and talk to kittens on the first floor. Anyway the ground floor is the best experience. I recommend.
Medeu, Chimbulak and Little Almaty
(First trip to the mountains outside Almaty)
It is time for me to set out for Almaty, because this is my trip. On the day I got up at 6am, I left a lot of luggage in the dorm and set out on my first adventure in town. By city bus number 6 I went to the mountains, to the town of Medeu. You can easily get to know them on the skating track. I wanted to get higher but unfortunately there was no transport or other tourists so I could share with them the taxis.Finally after the price of one person went higher, passing through the town of Chimbulak. Here is even a hotel but unfortunately so expensive that I would probably get a nosebleed at the time of payment. My taxi driver picked me up as high as the car was able to go and then with his backpack and with food supplies went higher.
I walked through the beautiful mountains, with a glacier in front and a raging river. From time to time I sat down to enjoy the beauty of nature, but I realized that it was not as light as the guide described it. It was not climbing under a steep rock but even a gentle approach in the mountains was a bit tiresome. After a few hours of walking I reached the great, beautiful valley called Little Almatina and from there 3km to Talgar Pass. At Little Almatkin I went to the people who lived there seasonally to get hot water and warm up the food. I set up a tent and spent the night in the vicinity of the Talgar Pass. It was a very windy and special cold night. It was so cold that I felt like the wind blew from the bottom and I was lying on the ice rink but survived. In the morning I jumped from the ground very quickly because I could not sleep, but it was important that I saw a beautiful sunrise over the Kazakh mountains.
My special return to Almaty
Going down was easier. On the way down I was fortunate enough to have had a shuttle to Almaty and it was a class transfer which I do not often happen to. I got into the car where the whole sheet was from the White Chaika and the engine was from Lexus. In the middle of it everything was covered with leather and mahogany wood and the whole was set on four-wheeled four-wheel drive. Inside the Russians were smoking Cuban cigars, they were wearing gold of the value of Chaika itself and we listened to Russian revolutionary music. I do not know who I really was, but I did not ask questions. They blew me where I wanted, I thanked them nicely and said goodbye.
Great Almatinka and the Great Almaty Lake
(A hard trek for beautiful views and a plan to get there.)
To the west of Small Almatinka lies the Great Almatinka valley and its picturesque attraction, the Great Lake of Almaty. To get there, I asked my Russians from White Chaika to blew me up on Al-Farabi Street near Furmanovej and from there I took the 63 bus all the way straight to the crossroad where Al-Farabi crosses Navoi and Saina. From there I could take a bus uphill but I managed to take a cheap, shared taxi. Thanks to that I missed the entrance fee to the park which is very nice. First, I went through GES-1 hydroelectric plant and then GES-2. I got the water from the brook and since then my murderous climb started in the heat. I could choose the road for around but I went down a steep road along the pipeline. The distance of about 7km was beaten in about 5 hours and it was one of the most tiresome experiences of my life. Even defeating the thousand stairs at Sri Pada Mountain in Sri Lanka was lighter. I was barely alive and the more I got into the lake the happier I was.
Indeed the Great Lake of Almaty was beautiful. The turquoise, glacial reservoir, surrounded by mountains and trees and set at an altitude of 2500m, amazed with its beauty. When I got here it was already evening and it was cold and windy. I spread my tent and started preparing for another night in mountainous terrain.Again it was a very cold night but it was important that I got here and did it. I got up after 5 in the morning because I could not sleep any more and I walked at least one part of the lake to make more interesting pictures. It was extremely beautiful and I would recommend this trip to everyone, especially since it is easy to arrange because of the proximity of Almaty (and Kyrgyzstan on the margin). I will add that the Great Lake of Almaty is the starting point for many mountain tours, including trips to Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan.But when I was here, the border was closed because of the difficult situation in Kyrgyzstan. The return journey was easier and faster and more enjoyable. I often stopped to admire nature, fill the bottle with water and look at passing eagles. It was a pity to leave the lake alone, because I put so much effort into getting into it.
Sunkar – birds of prey farm
I highly recommend this place, which is located between Grand Almaty Lake and Almaty. On the way back or back I would advise stop here though I recommend it after 5pm because then the shows are held. I regretted coming back from Almaty Lake in the morning and then hitchhiking was pretty fast. I was so lucky because the owner was nice enough to let me hold the eagle and the hawk and tell them about it. I have done many interesting photos here. Sunkar Farm is a very interesting point of my trip.
Lake Kapshagay and the Kapshagay town
At 6.30 in the morning I pulled out of the bed of my disgusting hotel and with my boyfriend from Canada drove north, to a 1.5 bus ride Kapshagay. Kapshagay is a popular resting place for hard-working residents of Almaty. It is only 70km from town, there is a lake and it is definitely a nice place for a weekend. Because of the number of casinos, it is Las Vegas, like Burabay (north of Astana). When we reached the beach, I tentatively spread out the tent because I was not sure if I would stay overnight. It was a nice day and so far the lightest since I did not have to climb into the lake for many hours. The cars came to the music and the girls danced in swimsuits. You could have a bite of shish kebabs and sweet buns. I drank in the lake and rested although the attraction of the day was definitely a car that stuck to the shore.
About the evening we went to the town of Kapshagaj. It was a decent place with a bazaar and a pub with skewers. So we ordered one of the onion chicken and the girls in short skirts and nice decals served drinks on Russian music. It was a song in the style of: I am from Russia, I am very drunk and you will soon get a muzzle. The shashlik and the decor of the whole place fascinated me.
Then, passing through a very unobtrusive part of the town, I reached the station. I paid for the bus and it was a pity because I did not like to pay, I sat on the floor because it was the only free place and I left the cheerful Kapshagay.
Road to Saty
After I helped and finally took a shower in my lousy hostel, I set out for another beautiful, interesting and devoid of any luxury trip. This time I drove to a small village of Saty, 6 hours drive from Almaty, which is a base for Kolsay Lakes. The ride was instructive because it gave me a chance to get to know the area outside of Almaty. We were driving through the steppe, entering the canyon of Charyn and generally speaking the landscape was very picturesque. On the way we also stopped in a roadside hole for tea skewers. It was nice, I talked in Russian and the shabby mutton cost 150 tenge from the art or almost free.After 6h we finally got to Saty. Passengers emptied the bus from huge purchases including live livestock and I got out in the wilderness and I was happy.
(In my opinion one of the most picturesque places in Kazakhstan)
Lake Kolsay is one of the most scenic spots in Kazakhstan and one of the most interesting trips from Almaty to independent travelers. The flight of the bird is only 110km from Almaty but the Kazakh roads are 300km. Kolsay lakes lie at the foot of the Küngey-Alatau mountains and are the starting point for a number of interesting expeditions, including a trip to Lake Issyk-Köl in Kyrgyzstan. All three Kolsay lakes lie on the Kolsay River at an altitude of 1800 to 2850m. It is one of the most scenic areas of natural beauty in Kazakhstan without compromising on the high costs.
After making some inventory for a few days I stood on an empty road in the village of Saty where I saw only a beautiful landscape, a mosque and several asses. Quite quickly I managed to catch a hitchhiking and with young guys I went to the park. The views were getting better and better. I saw a herd of wild horses on a mountain background, a yurt, a flock of sheep and many others. I also saw a guardhouse where the guards wanted me to remove 1200 tenge (about $ 10) but bent down and managed to get in for free. The drivers, in the rhythm of the Kazakh metal, drove me to the parking lot. Here I stood on the slope of the mountain and stretched before me a magnificent view. There were mountains covered with trees, green lake, river, yurt and all the rest of the wonderful nature. I went down to the first lake and just enjoyed the view. I felt that I was in paradise. All the more so because the Kazakhs were interested in where I came from, and they gave me a piece of roast, delicious ram; (Russo-Sheep Rattlesnake sheep). I talked a little and then went on a walk around the first lake where at last I met my drivers. I spent some time with them talking about whether Borat is ridiculous and whether I think all the Kazakhs look like him. I had to make a serious face while picturing Borat though the conversation and their company were very successful.
Then I went over to the second lake, with my big backpack, a sleeping bag and a tent. On the way the views were obviously beautiful but I felt I had enough. There were moments when I had to balance on the heap of stones, once the terrain was wet, and another time I had to climb to get off quickly. After nearly three hours of spontaneous marching, I reached my destination but felt exhausted. The second lake seemed quieter as there were only a few people, horses near the grazing and the characteristic was the bliss of silence. The mountains rising over the lake were reflected in the water, which gave a very good effect on the pictures. I also set up my tent in the clearing with very long grass, so first I had to smooth it.
Nearby there was a river with drinking water where the foresters, who were nice enough to let me ride on horses. They also invited me for tea and fish caught from the second lake. I felt like a free man. Someone to whom no bills come and who does not have to get up early in the morning to go to work. But ironically, I got up around six in the morning because I could not stand the cold in my tent. I suspect that I was at an altitude of about 2200m so it is warm when the sun is shining and after dark it gets icy. In Kazakhstan I have experienced it a few times. In the morning I dressed up in my blue pants, hole sweater and heavily battered boots. I left my tent by the lake and went higher up the mountain where I could enjoy the beautiful view of the lake and the grazing horses. In the afternoon I deposited my dirty tent and the rest of the trash and the same way I had returned to the first lake Kolsay and thence again hitchhiking to the village of Saty.
Return to Saty and transportation to Charyn Canyon
This time, Saty looked even lower than last time, and as I learned later, there was no talk of any transportation, of which Central Asia is well known. For some time my base became a shop where I made more wares for the road, ate a can of green peas and seasoned with bread. After I asked for a third time for tea, the lady in the store was so nice she finally gave me what she got me warmed up after a cold night. I felt very tired and for transport I had nothing to count on. On the other hand, I could not give up. Finally, on my showcase it says that I am a “traveler and adventurer” so that title is obligatory. So I walked the empty road, cut by the patrolling village donkeys. People came out of the enclosures to listen to my stories, they gave me some apples for the road and some of them crossed my wishing good luck. When I thought I was going to spend the night in a tent somewhere in the field, as if out of the ground came a four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi. So I jumped in and met a very nice Russian couple. They were delighted with my travels and I saw that they wanted to help me. They asked me where I was and what I saw and wondered that I was not afraid to ride alone on the infinite steppes of Kazakhstan. I had to look really bad because they gave me sausage, tomato, cucumber and bread crust. Vodka also wanted me to give but I do not drink.
After about 1.5 hours drive they blew me up the middle of the steppe where there was only one thing. It was a plaque with the inscription “Szarynskij Canyon 10km”. Ruski showed me that it was there and that it was straight and that I went alone into the steppe. 10km is supposedly little but walking through the wastes every kilometer worked on the imagination and never sure if I’m going in the right direction. After about half an hour it was dark and I had to pitch a tent on the steppe. In the morning I got up after the first warm night but the stones under my back felt for several hours after a very hard day. Awake was not very effective, but a handful of water led to me, I packed my belongings and went on the road. I would add that my night was very rainy and windy so I had to get up at night to improve the tent just to keep my head off.
After about an hour’s walk I saw the Charyn Canyon ahead. I got !!!
The Charyn Canyon is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the area of Almaty and many tourist agencies wanted to take me here for a big sum though I preferred to get here on my own and save money. The canyon is not as great as the Great Canyon in America but is worth a visit. It was formed when the Charyn River swiftly flowed from Tian Shan and cut down a canyon with a depth of 150-300m and interesting rock formations called the Valley of the Castles.
When I got here first and foremost I was happy to have it, which was an adventure considering how I did it.Then I did a lot of photos, I walked around a lot and walked in, which I think is quite a few. I estimate this as difficult and medium-difficult depending on the episode. It was a descent abounding in many surprises and return would surely be a feat even though I chose another way. My trip inside the canyon was a bit dramatic as I got lost and ran out of water but had to keep cold blood. There were moments when I had enough of my trip, but finally I managed to get to the surface. If anyone is in my situation, I advise you to follow the guards on the top of the canyon. After getting to the surface I got tea from the guards and even had a shuttle to the main road. Then I got to Almaty by two means of hitchhiking, but unfortunately for one car I had to pay. I will add that on this episode the hitch is the only chance to move. You have to stand by the road and finally someone will stop.
As for the Charyn Canyon, it was obviously spectacular. Especially the first impression is unforgettable.
Day in Almaty and fight for train ticket
I returned to my base, which is the least expensive and cozy hotel in Almaty. I ate a hot meal last night, took a shower while avoiding podagry and went to the train station to buy a ticket. But it was not easy because you ignored me in the window. I was pushed by a policeman and then the printers broke down and I waited about two hours together. People next to the view of my irritation said “Welcome to Kazakhstan” and “Kazakhstan far to Europe”. Anyway, I finally became a happy ticket holder. On my way to my dorm, I walked up to the Green Bazaar on a kebab and then left Almaty.
Transport to Shymkient
(My private sponsor on the train)
I got to the station five minutes before departure, but important that I had. To get to my platform I first went under other trains which is rather normal here because many other passengers also did so. Late in the evening I went in 14h by train to Shymkient, a town lying west of Almaty. My trip was not boring because I met a boy about 25 years old who spoke English and wanted to show me that he had money. His name was Nuran, which translates into “a bright soul” in Polish and said he earns as much as $ 1,000 a month. He was driving his family to Aktau (Caspian Sea), talking about himself and about the fact that we were going with new trains because they were bought recently from China. He also invited me for a great dinner in a restaurant car, with white tablecloths and impeccable service. He said that I can order what I want because money did not play for him. He said that I could order whatever I wanted because he is very rich and I look poor. For me, money played a role and it was a big one, but Nuran had a gesture. He was so nice that he let me call Poland and I could talk as much as I wanted. I thought I needed someone like that every day but unfortunately it usually is not. After all, he talked to me a little and went to bed. Just. Never before has it happened to me, though generally speaking, the trip to Shymkient will be very nice.
At 10.59 I reached the town of Shymkient. I’ve heard terrible legends about how much I will pay for a room, but again I succeeded. Immediately after leaving the train I started screaming “quartet” and with 3,000 tenge I tied up to 1000 tenge (about £ 4) for a double room. There was a shower, a toilet on the croaking and loud announcements of all trains, no matter the time of day or night. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I could hear the rattling of the train brakes, but nothing could beat the price of the room. First, I went to a regional museum where the history of the city, folk costumes and tools from the space of time were presented. There was also a “death museum”, a collection of dusty, stuffed animals from the local national park. There was also a propaganda exhibition on the Soviet Union. I mean propaganda posters depicting Lenin and Stalin in good light and the Nazis obviously in bad. There were also photos of Gagarin (though I’m not entirely convinced he was in space) and the Kazakh money with Lenin. Then through the bad but proudly named Central Park I got to the bazaar. There I was greeted solemnly by several older women and I got a bun and a piece of melon as a gift. At the bazaar we could buy parts for machines of all kinds, tools, paints and many others, although for me it was worthy of my own presence here. I also bought flip-flops for about £ 3, which they believed me for the next two weeks.
Using the fact that I was in a country famous for its skewers, I went out for dinner for skewers and in the city of Szymkient you can buy the cheapest. So I ordered two shish kebabs with bread (lychee) and green tea. The head of the pub served a foreign guest with a breadmaking acid with a wheat extract. On the one hand, the good thing is that very few people speak English so I had to deal with Russian. After dinner I went to the park “Technopark”, which is a place with more expensive skewers, which is popular with families with children. There are many carousels, games and play.
Then I was in one of the main squares where the mosque was located, I walked along the canal and spent time on an artificial pond where there are always plenty of bathers families. In Silesia I spent over two days and heartily recommend. It is cheap here and it is also a good base for the nearby towns such as Sayram, famous Turkistan and the Aksu-Dzabagly nature reserve. That’s why Szymkient was my base for a while.
(Description of the ancient city and its people and bazaar)
One of the tours that I organized was a visit to Sayram town 10km from Szymkient.It is a small village occupied entirely by Uzbeks and one of the oldest human settlements in Kazakhstan. Sayram is about 3,000 years old and was one of the commercial harbor on the Silk Road began to exist before Shimkent. That’s why the area has many interesting sights, one of which comes up from the tenth century. I got to Sayram shared taxi from the area of the swimming pool in Szymkiencie and the journey went without a problem. Along the way, we took several people and after about half an hour, the driver dropped me off at the bus stop central village. My adventure started in Sayram greeting from the local station and the ice cream portion. Then I saw a few monuments of which some would describe. The first object was Minaret Kydra, Probably from the tenth century. I advise you not to expect miracles in this place but it is a nice experience, which at least led me to reflect on the weight of the moment of time. I thought as I looked for 1,000 years; probably not the best. Besides, I walked to the top of the minaret to observe the field around me and lettuce mountains nature reserve Aksu-Dzabagly. The next object was the thirteenth century mausoleum Karashash-Ana . It was the object of a beige brick tomb inside. From there, passing through uninteresting Friday Mosque until I came to the Mausoleum of Mirali Bobo where he lies buried in the X century Islamic teacher. Until now, all these objects were interesting to me and almost every one of them was lying in the garden.
Not to be missed is the new Sayram city gate, which certainly everyone will see on entering the central stop. One of the most interesting was the Mausoleum of Abd al-Aziz Baba , built with three domes. Also, and this is a pretty garden and, unfortunately, in the vicinity of the cemetery. I was invited here by a guard on green tea, which questioned me about it after what came to Kazakhstan. It is a pity that we had to quickly end the conversation because it came a few women at prayers in order to avoid misfortune. Another object that was no longer attractive compared with others and find it difficult to Mausoleum Maryam Ana of about fourteenth century. An interesting experience was also a visit to a local bazaar where they sold fruit, seeds, meat hooks covered with flies and live chickens. Also I invited for dinner to a very unostentatious bazaar, dirty pub. Paid pennies and skewers sheep and kvass were delicious. After zobaczenu whole town went back to the station where I got split “minibus” to the city of Shymkent.
Aksu-Dzhabagly Nature Reserve (and about how not to get robbed)
Before proceeding to the description, I mention that the reserve is one of the most beautiful and picturesque places in Kazakhstan. It has 1319m2, situated on the border with Uzbekistan, and is home to many mountains and wide valleys. The point of departure to the reserve is Dzabangly village, which is located 70km from the city of Shymkent. Getting here was easy but I had some trouble getting to the reserve due to unexpectedly higher payments.
When I reached the village I met a few people offering me accommodation for sums far exceeding the price of my dorm in Almaty. Luckily I had a tent together so in the event that the locals wanted to pluck me I did not have this problem. There were also several companies offering walking or on horseback expedition to the reserve, but only paid for the ticket and a rich array of other prices, which squeezed tears to my eyes. I thought I would try and go 6km happiness to the park gate, I’ll give some bills “bribes” and let me. The guards were so sober that managed to explain to me that I need to pass and a guide, and can also take a horse. However, they can not let me in because I may be wrong, and it is against the rules. So I went back to the village hitchhiked to plan a trip for the next day.I stood at the registered office (Zapovednik) where the care of the expedition first hand but as soon as I got out of the car, out of nowhere grew a travel agent, who drove me to her and then presented the prohibitive cost estimate. I thanked him and went back to the office called Zapovednik. However, this time at the gate I met a private agent. It was the Elmira, who agreed with me and took good price for myself that I paid her husband for the tour, which was to be the next day. Her husband was nice enough to let me spread the tent at home in the garden for free. A few minutes later, however, he told me that his wife agreed with me for a small price and I had to get out. This meant that I paid them only for office (Zapovednik), but without their margins.So I went that evening to Zapovednik and made an appointment for the next morning for a trip direct price as it is clear that the agents have to fix everything themselves or by Zapovednik. It is a pity that I lost night in the garden but it’s hard. That same day I saw more wildlife museum in zapowiedniku but not particularly recommend it. This is the museum of the “death” of stuffed animals living in the reserve. Then I went outside and pitched a tent village in the mountains by the river. In the village would be thenge 5000 and I spent another night for free. Mentally it was a tough day but the main thing that I gave advice.That same day I saw more wildlife museum in zapowiedniku but not particularly recommend it. This is the museum of the “death” of stuffed animals living in the reserve. Then I went outside and pitched a tent village in the mountains by the river. In the village would be thenge 5000 and I spent another night for free. Mentally it was a tough day but the main thing that I gave advice.That same day I saw more wildlife museum in zapowiedniku but not particularly recommend it. This is the museum of the “death” of stuffed animals living in the reserve. Then I went outside and pitched a tent village in the mountains by the river. In the village would be thenge 5000 and I spent another night for free. Mentally it was a tough day but the main thing that I gave advice.
The next morning I had a hard and tough wake-up call after a night spent in a tent on rocky ground. Swept up, I made a tent, gained water from the river and went to Zapovednik. Although everything was to last five minutes, it lasted more than an hour because of a lack of organizing. Anyway, I paid for the horse and guide, did a little shopping at the local store, and finally we went to the reserve Aksu-Dzhabagly. Along the way I met a British, who were hardly pleasant for me and quite unnecessarily. That day passed about 18km as a private company erased them so much that they had to save on koniach.Gdyby were nice to me zaprowadziłbym them to Zapovednik after a great price.
As soon as I got on the horse we moved toward the reserve. Before me was a field and mountains in the background. First, we passed nearby cabins and yurt, then walked across the river and walked up the hill. We passed poodzielane vast valley streams, we had beautiful views of the snow-capped peaks and glaciers often covered by fog. There were moments when we walked for hours through the valley of the hill and then stepped in the next. Another time we walked close the gap with rapid river down below him. It was interesting also when we met other tourists without horses and helped them cross the river not to zamoczyli shoes. Aksu-Dzhabagly reserve is home to many animals such as bears and many types of goats but how could I suspect I saw only my horse and eagles. In general, my trip was divided into a few parts.First, from the village 6km Dzhabagly we walked to the gate of the reserve. Then another 6km to Kshi-Kaindy or mountainous terrain near a waterfall at a height of 1700m. The waterfall was nice although I must admit that the neighborhood itself was interesting, the mountains and the rocks around the waterfall. In this area we have given rest the horses which was a good place for us to rest and a meal.
Then, the slow pace, stopping for pictures and talking with the horse walked another 6km to Ulken-Kaindy. This place is at the end of a vast valley at the beginning of the mountains. There is a hut where tourists usually sleep before enjoying a further part of the reserve. For me, it was not the final stop because after a cup of tea and a conversation with another horse went way back. This time we went a little faster but still had time to admire the surrounding plenerami me.In the reserve that I have learned a better ride a horse and galloped a few times. It was an experience and I must admit that I swam gallop made the earth with my horse. The best part was when I jumped over a stream and across the ditch. It was a great experience which I discussed then also with my horse. This trip short because although lasted only one day gave me a lot of joy and sincerely recommend. Most unfortunately, I pay for a horse but I think that without him there would be no such experience. At the end I gave my guide a tip because the whole time he recalled the wealth of Poles and then avoiding the fees went further spread the tent village. Unfortunately, shepherds zaganiający cattle to the village saw me so this time my anonymity failed. In the middle of the night some kids threw in my tent dry feces,shining a flashlight at the same time and making so much noise that the local dogs barking long time afterwards. In the morning I was awakened by a shepherd and his sheep. Soon after, he called me by my guide, who was kind enough to invite me home for breakfast and then walked to the bus. It was also the first time I tried kumiss or milk from the mare. I’m not a fan of this drink; it is too tart and acidic. Nature reserve Aksu-Dzhabagly heartily recommend, and I hope that my report will help you to cope with adversity, which I described above.It was also the first time I tried kumiss or milk from the mare. I’m not a fan of this drink; it is too tart and acidic. Nature reserve Aksu-Dzhabagly heartily recommend, and I hope that my report will help you to cope with adversity, which I described above.It was also the first time I tried kumiss or milk from the mare. I’m not a fan of this drink; it is too tart and acidic. Nature reserve Aksu-Dzhabagly heartily recommend, and I hope that my report will help you to cope with adversity, which I described above.
The road journal: Dzhabagly village → Turkistan → Shimkent
The road was not very pleasant because the back of the bus sat the little children who vomited all the way, and after a while it started to stink much. After getting to the train station in the city of Shymkent, the driver poured a pail of water and I was greeted by the owner Dworcowy snot. He pointed me to a bus going in my place of interest, he shook my hand, and I was already in drodze.Gdy got off at the train station from which departed autobysy to Turkistan, quickly bought a ticket, przekąsiłem something in the local pub and was on my way again. This trip I had a girl who wanted me to teach her English, and she carried an electronic translator. Then I slept in the rear seat, and after about two hours reached the Turkistan.
(Description of the magnificence of the ancient city)
The local train station and the adjacent streets przyprawiły me sick but still not bad compared to many places in India. I got stowaways to local Busik and squeezed like a sardine I got to the street, which I wanted. The hotels were very expensive here, unfortunately, but I managed to find one for only 1,000 tenge and it is very close to the mausoleums. After two sleepless nights on the sheep pasture, and after a day in the saddle, I had first come to him. First I slept two hours and then bathed and has endorsed. Besides, as soon as I walked into the hotel, head first showed me the shower so he probably looked and smelled pretty bad. The hotel was not the cheapest and the worst possible but had a bed, shower, restroom (fucking hole in the floor) and a great location.
Turkistan is one of napopularniejszych places of religious pilgrimage in Central Asia, but also a city of tourist interest. There is, among others, the great mausoleum of the fourteenth century built by Timur. In those days Turkistan was compared with the splendours of Samarkand (Uzbekistan) and today in terms of ancient architecture is unmatched. You can admire the great mausoleum with a magnificent performance on the tiles and in the same style decorates the dome and minarets. One wall hit by weight of time because at this point are carried out the restoration work. The main objects that are worth mentioning are the fifteenth century Mausoleum of Sultan Begum, Rabigh and that is the main object of the Mausoleum Yasaui. This is a major pilgrimage center where the main room is a dome with a diameter of 18m. On the floor while facing sermons or two-tone metal pot, which is the gift of Timur. In addition to the main hall there are 34 rooms on two floors. Although I liked the mausoleum from the center it is interesting from the outside. I mean the main entrance, blue-tiled dome and elaborately decorated tiles on the walls. There is also a pleasant walk along the walls of the old city where it is good view on this and other objects. Next door to a couple of other small mosques, rose garden and the museum archaeological and ethnographic on Turkistan old, old costumes, coins, Timur, and other memorabilia from that time, from the Valley of the Syr Darya.
My stressful but successful transport from Turkistan to Aralsk
Summer tickets are expensive in Kazakhstan and the purchase of them is bound to a miracle. I often have to wait weeks for what I did not have time. So I talked with the train station (sweaty greasy in a dirty uniform) to get me a place on the train. He put me in the carriage and there the train driver (skinny wrinkled with black teeth) agreed to a small bribe. I gave each one a thousand tenge and the dormitory pointed me to the bed. Everything looked beautiful, but when the train started it turned out that the boss of the on duty was a woman who made a great deal of it. She said she would drop me off at the next station, a place desolate in the middle of the steppe. There was a thin skin with black teeth that said that if I pay him 4,000 more I will get to Aralsk but when I showed him the middle finger changed the version to 2 thousand. I told his boss what he reacted with a silly smile and tossing black teeth into the light. He gave me 500 tenge and I was so cheeky that I asked for another 500 but Skinny did not have this money because he passed on the drug. When I opened the door at the station somewhere on the steppe I just did not get off. I stopped the power between the cars about 0.5h, then changed the front. The boss invited me to his room for green tea and a piece of watermelon while the skinny scrubbed the wagon. We have talked about life in Kazakhstan and Europe and about earnings and prices. In the evening she pointed me to my bun and gave her a blanket at 6am and she woke me up with a slap in the ass to tell me that we would arrive at 7am. I thanked her but she replied that I did not thank her only for her payment. It came so that her cone with black teeth, who was licking her butt all the way he had to give her 1000 for me and I gave her 1000. First, however, I had to go three wagons to change 2000 because I knew that when I give a bigger note it I will not see anymore. At last I reached Aralsk and I was happy because it did not come easy. Coming by train through the steppe I saw in principle only empty space. Occasionally wild camels, Muslim cemeteries and homes, such as tragic, non-plastered walls, without electricity and fences with sticks appeared. It was quite different from Kazakhstan proudly advertised by President Nazarbayev.
(Cut off from the world steppe tragedy and the trip to the Aral Sea)
After a long and stressful journey I jumped out of the train somewhere on the steppe, having a flat horizon behind me and a front of the track and a small train station. The station was proudly named “Aral Sea” although in 2010 the closest shore was about 63km from the town. At the station there was a large mosaic of fishermen with abundant fishing, and in one corner was Lenin’s head saluting his nation. When this mosaic was created Aralsk was a great fishing port on the Aral Sea, which exported fish to the entire Soviet Union.
While still at the station I asked for a ticket to Aktau on the Caspian Sea but the tickets were not available for many days. I also asked for a ticket to Almaty or anywhere but as I could guess there was absolutely nothing. The women in the windows laughed, that I would stay with them forever. There was also a train station employee who wanted me to give me information about departures, because Poles are very rich.
When I left the train station called “Aral Sea” I first saw a monument depicting a ship. The fences of the houses were decorated with anchors and on one of the many squares of the town was a monument of fisherman with great fish. There was only the sea. Walking to the center of the town was also full of impressions as I felt I was in a town where “vampires speak goodnight”. I walked the sandy road in dusty clouds, on both sides I had old, shabby post-Soviet blocks, and near me was the highway. People looked at the door and window watching me and saying nothing. When I finally got to the place that fit my heart, I went first to the hotel and the only thing I found was the Aral. The nasty baba from reception said very seriously that there are only “lux” rooms overlooking the sea for 4000 tenge (about £ 16). Of course the price was astronomically high, but since I moved my foot through that dumpster, I asked her to show me the sea view. Then she bowed something in Kazakh and told me to come in when I got 4000 tenge. Behind the hotel Aral was the best evidence of the tragedy that happened here. I saw the ditch in the ground and the shore. I saw rusty fishing boats and in the distance deserted and rusty fish processing factories. Overall it was a very depressing place. A new addition is the gym and a small swimming pool located under a large white dome. Besides, I took the place as a cemetery. All the more so because the houses were in poor condition, and the roads were only a sand dune that floated behind every car.
I was going to spend one night here though I have to admit that it was enough for me after an hour. But I had a problem because I did not want to pay 4000 tenge per night. So I started asking people in homes and pubs whether they were “gostinica”. In the end, one lady took me, though not for long. At first she showed me her house and told me where I could sleep. Passing through the ephemeral garden I reached the place where I took a shower of Russian bani, or metal, big can from which the water was flowing. It was a shower covered with straw and foil and surrounded by dictation. I do not want anyone to think that this was a luxury vacation. Then to my surprise I was turned away because the lady of the house changed her intention towards me. Again, I was on a lousy road with the Hotel Aral in front of 4000 and the shipwrecks next door. I thought that in the event of despair I would just tear the tent out of the wilderness, which was quite common during this expedition, but fortunately I was taken for only 1000 tenge to a house that was better than those in India. That was his only advantage. In the yard were car wreckage and a collection of empty beer bottles from several years. Anyway, in the end I found something and it was cheap. After this incident, I went to the center.
My first interest was the Arslan History Museum , which was a great reminder of how once one of Asia’s largest ports flourished. There were old photographs and paintings depicting fishermen at work and fishing in the whole city. I saw the Aral Sea at Aralsk about 200m from the museum. There was a map showing the course of the catastrophe, ie the shrinking of the reservoir over the years. Other interesting props were formalin fish fished from the Aral Sea, including from the Arctic shore. The whole museum was tragic in my opinion. I talked about it with people working there who asked me where I was and were interested in my travels. I left my entry in the book and left the empty sandy street. Before me, I had a depressing, ruined pitch and fences with anchors. I also met an old man who said how it was when he was fishing in Aralsk during his time and his brother of memory worked in a processing plant. What a tragedy !!!
I headed to the square where the bank and offices were, and next to the monument of a fisherman with a big fish and a small park. Going further, I reached the Old Bazaar. There was a large monument, and both sides were very chaotic and at the same time very relaxed bazaar and coach station where the buses departed Turkistan, Szymkientu and further to Almaty. Unfortunately, there was no transport from Aktau to the Caspian Sea, and I was more interested in that. Coming back to the description of the bazaar I felt that I had a rich choice of in particular watermelons though and also other things. I was invited to a “restaurant” on a very low level for a penny. For three eggs, bread and tea I paid about 70 pence, which improved me a great humor, because I do not belong to the loose. I have witnessed how well women in Kazakhstan are doing. The head of the pub, which was rather small and fragile, pushed the big drunk three times. The next day in the afternoon I was fortunate to meet with the Swedes who were on the Aral Sea. I went with them for about £ 15 which made me a little bit grumpy but it was worth it. We were driving through an empty steppe and it was pretty fast as the driver had to let go of the money and had no time. I think none of us was interested in the views at this point because the step we saw earlier. After about an hour we reached the Aral Sea. Of course I was glad that I got here but the future travelers are not supposed to expect miracles here. The biggest advantage of Aral Sea is that it is Aralski. Besides there is a large lake, a few wrecks and steppes, although I also had the opportunity to see a herd of wild bactriens. If someone has their own bike, you can come here from Aralsk, dine in Zalynasz and pitch a tent in front of the sheds, with a nice view of the lake and rusty wrecks. After a short boat trip and after a long moment of reflection on the tragedy of the Arctic Sea, I returned with the Swedes to Aralsk. Trip as most recommend but with someone to save on the cost. I always travel alone so this time I was lucky.
When I returned to Aralsk I had enough of this place, but even if I did not have to arrange a trip anyway.The train was not for many days in any direction so the only option was to give the conductor a bribe which does not give me any guarantee that I would go and the warmth of someone else did not suit me. So there was only a bus. There were several departures from the Old Bazaar but only to Turkistan and only on Mondays and Thursdays and only at 4 pm. This obviously meant 4.30. I bought watermelon for the road, spread my sleeping bag on the floor, and with the greasy company, older ladies with golden teeth left Aralsk without looking back. In conclusion, Aralsk and Aral Sea tour is an interesting adventure cut off from the world and the best place to get to know Asia’s biggest tragedy. Getting here and getting out may be difficult, but it is worth experiencing this adventure
(To the theme of the Arctic tragedy I will return in my report on Uzbekistan, where I crossed the desert of Kyzylkum and far Karakalpakstan to the village of Moynaq, lying on the “infinite” steppe).
Road journal. Aralsk → Turkistan → Almaty
(My journey through the steppe, the description of “life on the train” and the realities of Kazakhstan)
In Aralsk I got on the bus going to Turkistan because it was the only way in which it was possible to drive. I paid 1500TG and the trip lasted from 4.30pm till 6am. The back seats were removed and instead of them on the floor were laid quilts where I spread out my sleeping bag and squeezed between old, fat women. I thought I would just fall asleep, but the road was very poor and the heavy snoring was terrible. So it was time for me to remember how steppe is. I’ve been staring at him for weeks, so I knew him well and after that trip I knew him better. I did not know whether I had mentioned a long, endless, flat steppe.) On the way, something changed, because sometimes I saw wild herds of camels and Muslim cemeteries. We also had dinner at a pub near the road where I had the choice between samsa, dumplings and pancake. So I took the pancake and went on the path through the steppe. I reached Turkistan around 6am and the first bus to Almaty departed in 12 hours. So I stopped the bus No. 2 and went to check how the trains ran. For the first time in many days I was lucky because it was 6:45 in the morning and the first train to Almaty departed at 7.28 and there was a ticket. I paid for it 2237TG but I had to pay 2300 because in the window themselves take a tip. I still had half an hour to cook the eggs and tea and then after breaking through the crowd of pancake vendors I reached the wagon. Here the Russian conductor greeted me very chilly and then spat and pointed me to the bunk.
That day was extremely hot. All the time I got stuck and the people in the car mumbled, sighed and slammed the door. The co-workers even gave me tea, cakes and watermelon and I told them where I was and what I was going to see. It was a very long story, of course, because I had traveled all over Asia. Then we had a discussion about economics which was not a very nice topic. They said they only earn $ 170 so they can not travel like me. Besides, the loan for an apartment in Almaty is about 20-25%. For comparison in England it is about 4-5%. I said that as for Poland I am not sure but probably also because it is a rather rich country. I complained that my journey by train took eternity as long as 12h and they replied that their journey from Atyrau to Almaty lasted as long as 72h. Kazakhstan is a huge country and unfortunately needs three days to pass from one end to the other. Often, the journey from A to B means driving from Poland to Germany via Hungary because the track is not enough. At times, railroads run through neighboring countries, so I advise travelers to know the route well before buying a ticket.
When I was driving, I noticed that the passengers were well prepared for the great distances. They bathe, dress up, have pajamas, their plates, cutlery and even teapots for spilling tea.
Around 10 o’clock the conductor (the conductor) turned off the light and everyone had to go to sleep. The train arrived at Almaty-2 at 2.45 in the morning, but the guide woke everyone by 1.45 to allow the passengers time to fold the sheets and place them in place. It was clear that the Kazakh people were very disciplined. They folded pillows and bedclothes, dressed, washed their teeth, combed and went out alone.Impossible to imagine in comparison with eg with a London mob. I did not want to leave the station because it was dark so I slept at the station until 5.30 in the morning and then bought a ticket for further driving. I wanted to get to Astana but the tickets were of course not. So I bought a ticket to Lepsa from where I was going to get to Lake Balhas (One of the 4 largest lakes in Asia). Generally it was a very hard night. I barely got out of the station because the plastic seats “stuck” in my back. But I was lucky because I was able to stop a truck from the Kazakh army. I looked so bad they probably did me a shame because they brought me where I wanted. When I entered the Dormitory, the cleaner yelled, “Malik came back.” I paid 1000TG, took my luggage and fell asleep. This stage of my journey ended.
My two days in Almaty
They were very quiet two days. I did not go anywhere and did not fight to buy tickets, which was not there anyway. This was the time I spent sleeping, eating and washing, even though I was in parks and on the internet. I also went to the bazaar to practice my Russian. I also visited a few shops with Kazakh art and I practiced in the park. This day I finished with watermelon and melon, which I shared with the tenants of the room. Especially the two fruits I highly recommend. In a hot, dry climate they quench thirst and are also very cheap.
The next day I was resting again and I was at a Kazakh dinner or on a skewer with onion. He was supposed to be a buddy but I forgave myself. In the evening I went to the far station of Almaty-1. Taxi drivers wanted 2000TG but I paid only 100TG. For this purpose I got a bus to Green Bazaar and then bus no. 71 to the station. Once again I left Almaty but only for some time.
Transportation to Lepsy
Traveling to Lepsa passed me very nice. Besides, I already knew Russian better because English is not counted here. On the other hand, it is good because I know another language. This time, the company was very nice too. In front of me was a pretty Cossack girl, whom I looked deep into my eyes and who made me tea and served with melon. The swimmer was exceptionally “hot sucker” with nice face and eyes and prominent breasts. Effectively raised the temperature in the car though it was already hot. The Kazakhs often went out to the place where there was a bigger blow which did not help. Maybe I would remember more from this trip but by Cossack it was impossible ….
Lepsy and Balhash Lake
(Free meals, exceptional hospitality, beautiful clean lake, constant conversation about money, nice girls as a chef and a serious offer that they can send me to England)
Lepsy arrived at 8.13 in the morning and unfortunately did not impress me. This small looking deserted hole greeted me with a complete depopulation and a train station as if it were a plague. To the right of the station was a disintegrating toilet. People stared at the train leaving and asked, “What do you want to do in the wilderness?” Or they looked at me and said, “crazy.” But they did not know that I love this type of place.
I was surprised that the Kazakhs did not convert this place into a money making machine, as it was the fourth largest lake in Asia, Balhash. If it was in China, the Chinese would already do a great deal of business.
Behind the train station was a taxi driver who wanted to take me to the lake for 2500TG but soon realized that I was too cheap. So I went to the road and landed on an empty, rutted highway somewhere on the steppe. Occasionally cars passed but only after two kilometers had someone stopped. Fortunately, because the wind was blowing up and the rain began to rain. After a while I reached the lake – beautiful, clean, turquoise, great. It looked more like a sea than a lake because it was so huge. I set up a tent and swam. First, the water was very cold but then it was ready to stand. I also noticed that people were very friendly. They helped me set up a tent, asked where I was from, and gave me food. I was stupid, but they pushed me eggs, cucumbers and tomatoes for strength. When I had eaten with them or rather ate them, they said they would invite me to dinner. Soon I lay down to sleep but it did not last long because the wind was so strong that the top of the tent was torn apart. When I caught her, the Russian near me helped me set up. He saw me saying badly in Russian and English well and he liked it. He invited me to his lair where there were still about 10 of his friends. There after the standard questions everyone was surprised that I am not afraid to travel alone in their country, and that I am interested in Kazakhstan. Earlier, when I was traveling by train and hitchhiking, everyone was surprised that I was not afraid. They said that if I played cards with them they would feed me. I was like a beggar, but I could not help thinking that everyone was eating me. So we went to the van and started to play but nothing came of it because the rules of the game were difficult to explain even in Russian, which I used then still in a limited way. So we talked about work, middle pay and my travels. When I said in how many countries I was, of course they were impressed but above all thought I was a millionaire. I did not know what the conditions I was traveling. They were stuffed with dumplings, skewers, cucumbers and bread crumbs. Vodka and beer also wanted to give me but I do not drink. They said that in Kazakhstan the salaries are poor but they earn “very well” because “up to” $ 1000.
After this nice conversation and another meal, I repaired the tent, went swimming, went to the lake and went to bed. But this time I could not be alone because the people I met in the morning woke me up for dinner. I could not believe it, especially as it turned out that I had two company “ponytny kitten” in swimsuits and a man with the word “Bogacz” on the cap. I felt that this would be another good experience and I mean talking during the meal. My surprise was not over because I was alone here, I looked very poor and I had only a penny with me. After a short walk we sat down at an outdoor table and it was nice because it blew a gentle wind and was not too hot. Me and the “rich man” talked of course about money and how much he earns and the girls listened, covered the table, nicely curled their puppies and showed me the contents of the neckline giving soup rams. I also got soup to eat, bread and even dessert. It was a service with a smile. In the meantime, we talked about money, business and my travels. The girls really wanted to take a picture with me. First they made their apartment and then my. I thought they would just stand by me and smile, but they leaned on me, taking the “copulation” position and putting my chest on my back. I think I’m rather shy to women but ironically they always make me adorable. “Rich” continued to ask me about money, but he also asked whether Rita (good ass, nice tits) I like. I told him that he was able to send me to England. I said that I have a permanent, loving woman although it is astronomically expensive to maintain. “Rich” replied that Rita would cost me 10 times less and would fulfill all my wishes. I really felt honored, but when I said that I would probably stay my way in the maintenance, Rita immediately covered her tits and homilies, but rather dropped. It was a great time to get out of the party. I thanked him heartily and I drank with bread acid and the girls even invited me for evening skewers. I went for an evening walk along the lake and thought it was another great day. On the other hand, I was sorry because I always try to be faithful but where I would not go everywhere I want to push a woman. Well, my fate is ……
Going back to the theme of the lake, it was really beautiful.
Transport from Lake Balhash to Ust-Kamenogorsk
(Soviet carriage to the town of Taldyqorghan accompanied by drunken Russians, no joke in the night coach to Ust-Kamenogorsk, military bases left by Soviet troops, interview with natives, descriptions of northern Kazakhstan)
My travels are based on foolish luck and so happened and this time. The transport in Kazan is very unpredictable so I grabbed every chance to get ahead. I went with friends from the beach who had fed me and asked for “my millions”. To Lepsy (15km) from the lake was not even what to go because of this looking out to the dead hole, trains were leaving at night and so there was no tickets. Anyway, even if there was one, I would not buy it from anyone anyway. The Russians with whom I went told that after dark at Lepsa there were a lot of miscreants so they brought me to Taldyqorghan, a small town 265km from Almaty and south-west from Balhash. I was with the army of drunks as the only non-drinker, an old Soviet van called Gazelle. My benefactors talked to me completely drunk and I politely answered with impatient patience.The driver was Sasha, who had very bad mood this morning and cursed very badly. Behind me were Pasha and Wania, and their singing women with bread, cucumber and sausage in their hands. I drove through the steppe, after a hollow road and after about 3h we reached the city. At first we took everyone home and then Sasha took me to the station. Wanda and Pasha went with me to buy a ticket and put me on a bus going to Ust-Kamenogorsk, which departed in 5 minutes. We left and left. I think these people did not realize how much they helped me. Not only did they feed me, they also brought me to a safe place. I was very lucky because I met friends unexpectedly. A few minutes after the bus departed, she began to get loose. The Kazakhs had a problem and began to wash so that one bloodied the seat and the floor, so we had to stand to wash our face in the river. Of course, alcohol helped. The chairs were very uncomfortable and there was not much room so I spread the sleeping bag on the floor and fell asleep in the passage.People were a bit outraged but I did not care. Leaving in the passage during long coach journeys is my tried-and-true way to have a comfortable night, while others “bend over the chinese paragraph”. The Russian who was sitting near me was very helpful. He gave me a toothpaste and showed off abandoned military bases left after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Besides, there were only steppes, few hills, horses, sheep and no humans. That is Kazakhstan, huge and depopulated.
When we arrived at Ust-Kamenogorska, the boy who was a fighter ranger asked me very cool whether I have luggage in the trunk for what I said no. Then the whole bus screamed at me in a loud voice, “Well, come on,” and I found myself in the street for a new town for me.
(Address of the best and smallest hostel in the city, where you do not eat, Kirova Park and museums, Strelka)
I got off the bus on the road and went to the Irtysh Hotel, hotly advertised by the guide. The price of the room was 6000TG and 4000TG after a short bargain. So I talked a little, gave my address to the boy at the desk and called me for the cheapest hotel in town. It was the “gostinica” of the Allies. Going from the Irtysh Hotel and crossing the bridge, looking at the river, bus station and loud trams, I reached Abaya 20. There was a tall, eerie building painted in furious green. Here was the Alians hostel. I got a room only for myself for only 1500TG and it was the best place so far.This day I had to rest after the trip so I just went to dinner and then sleep. Talking about food, I would not recommend the Teplica cafe because I had to wait very long. The truth was I only paid about £ 2.5 but I have to be patient.
The next day I wanted to see the city. Cultural life of the Ust-Kamenogorsk is centered around the Kirov Park where there are also interesting museums. The park itself was very well maintained, full of flowers, benches, trimmed lawns and sculptures. In the middle of it was a statue of one of the well-deserved USSR, Kirov. The first museum I visited was the Muezum of Regional History . As is usually the case in Kazakhstan, the first room was devoted to President Nazarbaev. There were pictures of him from Soviet times until today. The second room was a “death room” because it contained stuffed animals from this region of Kazakhstan. They were primarily wild, roe deer, predatory birds, irbis, bear and the greatest attraction of the museum is the huge maral deer. On the first floor there was a collection of graves from many centuries and carved stones that had funeral purposes. The whole museum highly recommended.
Then, once again passing through Kirov Park and the Kirov monument with the hand greeting the people, I reached the Ethnographic Museum . Here, of course, a portrait of President Nazarbaeva and a stuffed eagle next to me greeted me. The rest of the museum was more interesting. There were paintings, mainly about the Christian message, costumes, ornaments, yurtes characteristic of this region, as well as musical instruments and carpets. The exposition was interesting and also recommended.
The last museum in Kirova Park was the Russian Village, or open-air museum of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, consisting of wooden houses, containing tools and furnishings of the time.
Then I went for a walk along the banks of the river Irtysz and stopped for a moment at the memorial to commemorate the war in Afghanistan (1979-89) and then I reached Strelka, a huge monument and tomb of Soviet soldiers killed during World War II (1941-45). (The Red Army and Lenin and even Stalin are represented in Kazakhstan in a very good light.) It tells me that Russia continues to hold “after” the Soviet republics in a handful.
Returning to the subject Strelek is located at the junction of the rivers Irtysz and Ulba.
Next to the river Ulba I reached Abaya Street, I bought a ticket to Semey for only 950TG and soon left Ust-Kamenogorsk.
Drive to Semey
Semey is 200 km from Ust-Kamenogorsk, down the Irtysh River. The ride from Ust-Kamenogorska lasted only 4 hours in the Gazelle bus. Still, I felt this trip because the road was terrible and there was not even one in the episode. I often jumped out of the ceiling and the police stopped us, just to upset the driver and pull the bug. On the way we also stopped for tea (for) only 30TG and meat dumplings (meat as medicine) for 50TG.
(Museums, monument to the victims of nuclear explosions, propaganda of glorification of Russia as the “savior” of Kazakhstan, monuments of Lenin)
Semipalatinsk is famous for its museums, which owes its name to the “city of poets”. During his exile lived Russian intellectual Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who quickly developed culture and art among young Kazakhs.
Another important name in this city is Abay Kunanbaev, or national poet, in honor of which streets in Kazakhstan are called his name.
Unfortunately, Semey is not just about art and culture. In the western steppe of the city in 1949-1989, the Soviet Union exploded about 460 nuclear bombs. The locals knew when this was going on because they said “the land in the city was shaking”. This is connected with the tragic history of radiation, which has tragically affected the local population.
When I entered the city it did not look inviting. All I had was communist blocks of plates and the surrounding gray. Leaving busika I met a girl who spoke English and who pointed me to the cheapest hotel in town. After 15min from the bus station I reached the hotel “Semey” where I had room only for myself for only 1500TG. The evening was approaching so I did not visit that day. I just went to dinner where the waitress wanted to whisk me because she thought I was English and that I could not speak Russian. The bill amounted to 810TG while I counted only 450TG. She lowered her head and walked away. The first time this happened in Kazakhstan.
The next day I started to explore and I could not believe how much they loved or loved the Soviet Union.First I went through Skwer Pobedy (Victory) to which I walked through the gate “decorated” into a red, five-pointed star with CCCP inscription. There were several plants in the park, but a large tank on the pedestal and a monument to the Soviet soldier from the AK47. Of course this meant that the Soviet soldier was dying in the war against Kazakhstan in the fight against the Nazis. In sum, Skwer Pobedy is a vulgar, communist mass of concrete with propaganda of worship of the Soviet Union. Anyway, it was a good experience that told me plainly that the Soviet republics were “after” Soviet only by name.
Then I reached Lenin Street where there was one of the city’s biggest attractions, the Abaya Museum .There were many interesting exhibits from the poet’s life, his photographs, monuments and books related to him. One of the more interesting objects was the huge yurt that impressed me even after visiting Mongolia. It was beautifully decorated, a large yurt and in the middle there were handmade, decorated carpets and furniture from the days of Abay’s life. Near the yurts were also everyday objects in the background of the Kazakh steppe. In another room, great poets and philosophers were painted on the wall.There was, of course, an image of Abaya, but also of Socrates, Goethe and Mickiewicz. I was fortunate to have that day because the lady who taught me English had me guided through the museum. The whole museum was very interesting. It should definitely be on the list of everyone who will be in Semipalatinsk.
Then walking down the gray and rainy streets of Semey, passing through a very old fire brigade building with a red star at the top, I reached the Museum of Fyodor Dostoevsky . It is located in an old house where Dostoyevsky lived with his partner for 2.5 years. The museum was interesting because of the many furniture and objects of that period that Dostoevsky used. There were also a lot of photographs that very well reflect the character of those times. The bedroom, the children’s room, and the desk at which Dostoyevsky worked were interesting.
Another interesting experience was the Museum of Art . After all the galleries of paintings I’ve seen in my life on two continents and over 30 countries, I thought I would not see anything new here. I was wrong, though. This gallery was interesting because it contained many beautiful paintings painted by Russian, Kazakh and European painters. There were scenes from the life of people working in the countryside, a painting depicting the 16th century Venice and several beautifully painted women in the context of the fight against the sky with hell. On the ground floor there was a gallery where you could buy paintings but there were many other interesting things, including Lenin figurines. Then I crossed the bridge and through the stalls of shashlik sellers I reached the Polkowice Island to see a huge, 30m memorial to the victims killed by nuclear tests. This monument is named “stronger than death” and represents a mother covering the child, and above them is hovered 30m nuclear fungus engraved in black stone. Also interesting was the Museum of History and Local Science , which is supposedly the oldest museum in Kazakhstan. Of the many expositions, the most interesting was the nuclear test conducted near Semey during the Khrushchev period. There were pictures of people after radiation, with burns and pictures of children with birth defects.Some of the photographs were real horror, the more terrible that happened to the truth. Another irony was the exposition of the “glorious” red army and of Lenin. When I asked in the museum what the circus was because they had so many victims of the regime and nuclear explosions, they did not say anything. Other exhibitions in this museum can not miss the little dinosaurs that once lived in the territory of today’s Kazakhstan.
Several times I stopped at the booth and dumplings and as usual the service was cheesy and she did the favor she was serving. On the other hand, however, I could not have them wrong. Commune made them fatal.
After a day of walking I got to my cheap hotel. I took a shower without giving the cleaning lady a hand to open the bathroom and then I took a nap. My last place of interest was a group of monuments, located behind the hotel. They were two dozen Lenins of different sizes and two monuments of Marx. I have done many funny pictures like “me and my friend Lenin”, ” combing Lenin ” and “Lenin and his clones”. After I had said goodbye to my “L” companion, I took my backpack and went to the bus station. There after a few chants with the babes at the box I managed to buy a ticket to Astana. I swallowed some trash at the station and went away from the very interesting and informative I have to admit-Semey.
Road to Astana
This trip was heavy and I was not asleep. This time I did not spread out in the bus and drove the bent “in the Chinese paragraph”. Before the Astana bus itself broke down and we had to get to another one that stopped our driver. After a 14h drive finally got to the magnificent, new capital of Kazakhstan – to Astana.
(Description of the wonderful city, its galleries, museums and the modern district of Nurzhol Bulvar)
Before going on to describe this fascinating story, I would first like to say a few words about Astana for President Nazarbaeva’s dreamed-out dreams. Also, long ago the dream of an eternal president was to move the capital of Almaty to Astana, but to make it possible, the city first had to look like a modern monument of money that it is today. There are many modern buildings dripping with millions of dollars, sculptures, amusement parks, presidential palace, where the White House looks like a barn and especially one street, which is the glory of this city. Many museums in Astana were created in honor of the president and only to make him even more proud of himself. (For details, I will go on the description of each object). It is worth mentioning that although Astana is the capital and a very new and modern city, yet the cultural life of the country, the vast number of air connections and most of the embassies are still in Almaty. I think Astana’s advantage is not affected by the temperature in winter, which is long and falls to -30 o C.
Astana is unfortunately the most expensive city in Kazakhstan, which is very bad news for a poor traveler like me. Hotels, food and transportation are two times more expensive than in Almaty but then it was not so important to me. I wanted to see the architectural achievement of Kazakhstan.
When I got out of the train station, I straightened my bones well and then set out for a bed, and as usual I was heading for the price. I reached Astana Hotel in the west wing of the station. The rooms were clean and it was quite nice. For a night in a 4-bed room I paid 2000TG which was twice as expensive than the dorm in Almaty. I talked for a while with my Chechnya roommates and then I had to rest after a lousy night on the bus.
Then after a small dinner I boarded bus 25 and drove to see though part of Astana. I got off at the Presidential Culture Museum but it was closed for renovation. Here the Kazakhs did not think, because instead of renovating in winter, when -30 ° C and no one to Astana do not want to come, they took to work at the peak of the season. This property is located in Old Astana and is a large white building with a blue roof. After going out into the street I gazed at the city and talked with people. I saw that there were many new buildings and the gray, post-Soviet ones were embroidered to make the capital look the best. Also the city buses looked new and the conductors wore white shirts. For comparison, Almaty was not so well-behaved and the conductors were wearing shorts and sweat shirts. After about an hour’s walk I reached the President’s Museum, which is a huge building with a huge blue dome. Unfortunately the museum was closed but luckily I could see them the next day. So I spent time near the museum because there was an attractive square with a garden, a nice fountain and a statue of Kazakh warriors. It was a quiet time from the city when I could relax at the sound of water, looking at the magnificent museum. Next to it was another square, with three fountains, an interesting architecture and a playground for children. There was also a very elegant shopping center, so after entering, I immediately noticed that after so many years on the road and in poor conditions my clothes were very battered. I went to an elegant gift shop where I took pictures of leather and horse shells, lighters with Lenin’s likeness and many other things. But the most attractive was a nice young saleswoman, with whom I had a nice conversation about Kazakh sex and which also made some pictures. The girl said that all the foreigners who came to her shop made her pictures and added with a sincere smile: “First of all, we married in Kazakhstan and then to bed.” She let me go and I thanked her and left. Soon it was dark and after another walk I got on the bus and drove to the station. Here I invited myself to tea with myself, where I gave free English lessons, and then returned to the hotel. This night was rather heavy because I had three masters in the room, who snore like a few hours and could not sleep. I had a window on the platform so I heard every train and every message. But it was a luxury for the poor because I paid only 2000TG per night which was nothing compared to the 6000TG offered by the women at the station.
The next morning from early morning I started to explore Astana. This time I wanted to see the beauty of this city on both sides of the river. Again, I got on bus 25 and drove to the President’s Museum . During the ride I was lucky because I met someone who spoke English, greeted me in Kazakhstan and still paid for my 60TG ride. This time the museum was open. Inside was everything that was connected with President Nazarbaev. There were a lot of his photographs from his youth and with the heads of European states, America and the presidents of Afghanistan and Israel. There were also Polish accents as I saw the photographs on which Nazarbaev was with President Kwasniewski and Pope John Paul II . There were also gifts and decorations from the heads of other countries; from Poland was the order of the white eagle . And the most memorable was a beautiful, intricately carved ivory carved into trees and life in the countryside.Especially this object was a great work of art. There was also armor, gilded saddle, Nazarbaeva’s photographs with the family and when he was working on the site when he was young. All the exhibits were beautiful and the museum itself looked like a palace, both from the outside and from the inside. On the other hand, I received this object and its contents as the “Museum of the Self-Forging of the Eternal President of Kazakhstan”.
Then I strolled through the main square where I looked at the fountains, the great monument of Kazakh warriors and the museum itself. Shortly after, I got up to bus number 31 and drove there where I was the day before, which is around the closed Museum of Culture of the President . Five minutes walk from the museum was a great Museum of Art . I did not think it was anything special, especially after the exceptionally beautiful Art Gallery in Semipalatinsky, but this gallery was wonderful. In one room apart from a few statues of Stalin and pictures of magnificent Astana, there were also photographs of the city during construction. It was time to embellish the old post-Soviet blocks of blocks and start building “glass” skyscrapers between them. In the second great room there were paintings of Soviet soldiers with orders, Soviet youth going into the rhythm of the revolution and once again propaganda images showing “good” Soviets dominating the evil fascists. There were paintings showing the village, people at work and some beautiful women. I collected the entire museum as a gallery of beautiful art with a small note of pro-Soviet propaganda. It was definitely worth a visit and I sincerely recommend it.
Then I went to see the south shore of Astana, which is “a real money monument” and at the same time fulfilling the dreams of President Nazarbaeva. This is a great, impressive creation of modern architecture where even tea costs 150TG. (The price in Almaty is 30TG). Walking through the courtyard of the Museum of Art, I reached the promenade, where you can see some of the tall glass skyscrapers, horseback warrior monument (Abylaj Khan) and young and beautiful Muslim women strolling along the promenade. I like that kind of Islam because I like them because they have pins, short trousers and nice neckline. Anyway, the views of the promenade and the buildings around them made an impression that were not in any way similar to Kazakhstan after which I traveled for about a month. Walking along the promenade across the bridge on one side I had glass skyscrapers of different colors and on the other a modern akvapark with swimming pools, slides and paid beach (500TG). At the end of the bridge I took a few photos at a large Chinese calendar and went straight to the park. There was a fairground with many attractions for children and a few food stalls, not even expensive for Astan. I walked about 1.5km and reached Kubay Batyr Street, where was a small mountain with a high mast and the flag of Kazakhstan. Before it was a monument commemorating the victims of the Soviet regime , which I must admit that I was very surprised. How bravely on the part of President Nazarbaev – I thought. On one hand all the museums love them, and here it turns out that this love is not so hot. The monument itself was very modest and was not a “100% standard of the Soviet worker”, but small, carved stones that were once used in Kazakhstan at funeral ceremonies.On the left side of the statue was a circus, which was identical in shape to the ufo. I know for sure because the ufo I once saw. It was a big gray saucer. To the right was Duman, the big shopping center. This object was filled with many interesting little shops and sculptures. There were kitschy statues of the Eiffel Tower and the pyramid, but there was an aquarium with many fish, including sharks. I walked through a 70m tunnel and watched sharks flying over me. This pleasure cost me 1000TG and 100TG for taking pictures.For me, Duman was attractive only because of the oceanarium. I received the rest of the rest as not very interesting and very expensive. Then I walked about 1.5km along the Kabanbay Shatyr road to the right side of the road I saw probably the most brave architectural building in all of Kazakhstan. It was very interesting from the inside and outside Khan Shatyr . This is a bold 150m high structure, tent-shaped and with a spike top. It is made of heat-absorbing material which means that even when the outside is -30 o C inside it will always be warm. In the middle of the center is a launcher, which quickly explodes people up and down.Inside the building there are streets with exclusive shops, gardens, restaurants, a cinema, a small golf course and even a pool with palm trees and a beach where you can play volleyball. I also found some lovely women who posed for photos. It should be noted that this building and all others were built on an empty steppe and President Nazarbaev still has many ideas in his pocket.
After this experience I headed for Nurzhol Bulvar, a famous street in Astana, which is also a showcase of modern Kazakhstan. Before me I had an interesting sculpture of a young couple, a garden and a huge building KazMunayGaz . This is an interesting building, which consists of two main blocks and an empty center in the center, which is a transition and gives you the opportunity to view the panorama of the “money district”. Then I saw an overpass with an interesting sculpture depicting the girl during the sprint.There was also a fountain, many other sculptures and a glass building with a sharp top. One of the buildings worth mentioning is the Transport and Communications Ministry . On the right is the Islamic Center, the great mosque with four minarets, which is the most interesting from the inside. In its main room you can see the shape of a dome decorated in geometric figures, painted in many colors. Going further through Nurzhol Bulvar I had on both sides skyscrapers and shopping centers some of which were still in construction. Interesting gardens and sculptures of bronze and bushes. They were, for example, elephants, but also many others. I like to mention a shield and something like a ring. Each of these objects was interesting and well integrated into the whole. On this day there was an exhibition of teddy bears for world peace. It was a large white bear painted on the hues and motifs of the countries from which they came. He was also one of Poland – I checked.
Strolling further away was the Bayterek tower, which is the most popular building in Kazakhstan, also immortalized on one of the local banknotes. It is a transparent building on top of which is the glass theme of the bird’s nest. As I have said, though, someone else could specify it. In any case, Bayterek has a message in the Kazakh legend. It symbolizes the mythical tale of a bird named Samruk, who made a golden egg containing the secrets of human lust and happiness at the top of the tree beyond human reach. Today, however, you can get to the top of Bayterka , a place similar to a golden egg to put your hand in the hand of President Nazarbaeva. From the top there is a good view of the whole Nurzhol Bulvar . After leaving the gardens and having two golden buildings on both sides, I reached the magnificent, beautiful Palace of the President . It was a monumental structure with a blue dome and gold spire on top, surrounded by gardens on all sides. Impressive impression, the more that there were other interesting objects nearby. Finally, I made another effort to come to the Palace of Peace and Harmony , which is home to the World Congress and Traditional Religions.
Then I went back the same way again, stopping by the more interesting objects. After a long walk I got on bus 25 and got to the train station where I had my cheap room. I paid another 2000TG for the bed and I was lucky because this time no one snore. I bought a return ticket to Almaty on the day after, which cost me 4550TG.
Astana was definitely a good experience to add to my collection of other interesting cities.
There are people who are concentrating only on the Kazakh steppe and are traversing this big country on motorbikes. I understand that, but I would advise them to do a trip through the steppe to reach Nurzhol Bulvar in the morning, spend the whole day there, go to the art gallery and museum and in the evening go out to the city and spread the tents on the steppe. This will definitely be an interesting experience for travelers who do not specialize in cities.
Lake Burabay (Borovoe)
(Burabay village, description of the natural beauty of this place, rock climbing, free night in the bushes and chatting with the guards)
The next day I wanted to get to the town of Burabay (250km from Astana on the north), where there is a beautiful lake. The whole village is called “Kazakh Switzerland” although there are no mountains. There are only highlands, pretty vegetation, a lake and interesting rock formations. Unfortunately there was no bus for 1500TG from the seat so I drove a shared taxi for 2000TG and after 2.5h I was already there. At first I reached Szczucińsk (gray and uninteresting) and after about half an hour drive and traveled 20km I reached the village of Burabay (Borovoe). This small village was transformed into a large holiday resort where there were many expensive hotels and expensive restaurants, with prices not on my pocket. I have seen many rich Russians and Kazakhs in good four wheel drive cars and pretty women, probably with a good drive. So I bought some dumplings and water and went to the lake. I was really not disappointed. I saw a beautiful lake surrounded by trees and rocks, not stacked on top of each other. Also at the entrance to the water were many large, flat boulders on which people rested. First I wanted to break the tent in the guarded area where there was plenty of space but they would not let me. So I spent the whole day on a unsepervised shore, I slept and swam. It was a lazy day relaxing in nature, but I was wondering where I’ll spend the night. Of course I did not want to pay per night, so pitched a tent in the bush, in a desolate place. Everything went according to plan but by the time I found two guards on horseback and began to ask questions. We talked a long time about life and withdrawals in Europe and Kazakhstan, on my travels, and as usual the women at the situation a little relaxed. To sum up, there was no problem because it allowed me to be where I was but so that no one saw. That night, the rain was falling so racy no one was interested walks. I was able to spend another night free in nature, just as I like.
The next morning I got up already at 7.30 to climb to the top of the rocks near the lake. I did not regret because it was a beautiful view from there and had a chance to take a series of photos of landscapes.
The time that I spent here was beautiful. Although the village is loud, you can still find here many places only for themselves. There is also here a lot of paths that should take just to enjoy the views. Be sure to also climb on the rocks where you are you can watch the magnificent landscape.
My unlucky return to Astana
That day, it was hard to leave Burabay, because there was no Russian busików Gazelle with cheap places to Astana for the 1500TG. There were only four places available in a taxi where every cost 2500TG. Hoping so luckily I went to the local bus Szczucińska the 140TG and I was hoping that I’ll find something cheap there. After getting to the station it turned out that the bus was to Astana for 20 minutes and it only 1100TG. I felt that something won the coin but unlucky because I had a bus to Astana late already for 1.5 hours and I hurry to the train Astana to Almaty, for which he has already paid 4550TG. So I had no choice. I paid the cabbie 2500TG and after two hours I reached the station in Astana.My cheap bus route to Astana defeats in four hours so even if he arrived at the station two hours late, and so I would have missed my train. Sometimes you just do not go plans but the main thing that I could train and spent time in the Kazakh Switzerland.
Riding the train to Almaty
After my 10-day tour of northern Kazakhstan return trip to Almaty he passed me nice and quiet. I also had some time at the station in Astana, because I managed to photograph a locomotive with a red, five-pointed star on the front. In the interval I had an old lady and a young girl who częstowały me tea, cakes and even dinner. I had to offer them only melon and some vegetables but I saw that my stories from many countries caused them pleasure. Besides practicing your Russian which was necessary after further travel. At 10 am the next day I came to Almaty and you picked me up between my car to a cheap dorm.
The road to the border with Kyrgyzstan
My last day in Almaty and Kazakhstan spent first on “bringing to each other,” the exercise and laundry. Also I went to see the parks, which had already seen just to say goodbye to this city and country.
The next morning I went by bus number 45 from the station to the street Satpaev Sayram. Here constant trips around Poland (minibuses), on their way to Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan). The whole trip took about 3 hours passed and nice. The border was seamless and everything went bezkomplikacji. I swapped the money, and I got a stamp in a new country. I said goodbye Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan welcomed!
Summary of Kazakhstan
Travel Kazakhstan was an exciting adventure. I was over the beautiful lakes, slept on the steppe, I saw the Aral Sea, podziwałem Czaryn canyon and walked through the mountains. I think the natural beauty here is the biggest advantage, and although not many people would consider a beautiful steppe, however, is a kind of feeling that gives satisfaction of staying in such isolated places. He never had any problems with people and even helped me many times. Skewers and all kinds of dumplings were not bad and a few cities it is worth attention. I would recommend first of all Almaty where the majority of people certainly will land, then, of course, ancient and modern Turkistan Astana. Travel by train and just buying a ticket is not an easy thing but if someone has the time and good company, Kazakhstan will make a lot of fun and will surely be an unforgettable adventure. I think,that a month spent in Kazakhstan is the minimum to cover its beauty.