Travel Journal

Almaty (Kazakhstan)

(Wednesday 9 April 2008) by Lynda
Almaty is a special place, a very green town with a big mountain range towering over it. Behind the mountains is Kyrgistan. Unfortunately I don't have enough time to go there to have a look but it's soo tempting, only 4 hours by bus to get there, but hassle!!!!

I did read that Central Asia is a nightmare with visas and indeed, getting the
Turgen waterfall
Turgen waterfall
Kazakh visa was easier than getting it registered in Almaty. But after two days I got my passport back with the righ stamp. So time for the Russian Embassy..... on our first visit we didn't even make it through the gate. On our second visit we got the promiss that we would get in on Monday. On Monday we finally made it through the gate and into the embassy. There we met with real russian bureaucracy and we even had to fill in our transit visa forms in Russian.....but with some help we managed, paid for everything (including a rip off price for express service) and left. Last friday after one more fruitles attempt to enter the embassy we finally could pick up our transit visas.

Luckily we didn't have to spend all our time waiting in front of counters or gates. We did have enough time to do some sightseeing in and around Almaty. We
Charyn Canyon
Charyn Canyon
visited Charyn Canyon, a big canyon 300 kilometers outside of Almaty in the middle of the desert. It was a long and hot ride getting there but it was well worth it, so impressive to walk in the canyon and see the high rocks towering over you and in the far distance the snow peaked mountains. The next day I visited Turgen waterfall with a local tourgroup. It was not the biggest waterfall I've seen on this trip but it was a great way of meeting Kazakh people on their weekend outing. And with the help of my little Russian dictionary and a lot of sign language I had some interesting conversations.

Kazakhstan is a special place, east meets west, so many different faces in the streets, so many old cars (especially Lada's) but also brand new BMW's and Mercedes, a mix of Soviet and traditional architecture, women with covered faces but also the shortes skirts I've ever seen. It's a bit weird that a place with so many differences still feels so harmonious.

  • Eindelijk maar weer eens een bericht by Rob Baarda
    • Bijkletsen by Lynda

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