Posts From Kazakhstan


A visit to Semey (Karpovka, Kazakhstan)

Journal entry for Wednesday 17th Jul, 2013 (day 105, miles 7622)

We were awake and moving early today, keen to get to the border and also a little anxious. We had read that the border crossing on the A349 was very busy and had even read on one website a recommendation that travelers should consider using another crossing about 100km east which was supposed to be quieter and hence easier. So we were relieved to find only about 8 vehicles ahead of us when we got to the Russian border post and pulled in at the end of the line waiting to be allowed through the control gate.

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Cemetries, bees and American cyclists (Kurata, Kazakhstan)

Journal entry for Thursday 18th Jul, 2013 (day 106, miles 7786)

Today we (or at least I) felt the full weight of trying to cover the 1100km from Semey to Almaty in 4 days. Now our Australian and US readers may be surprised by this comment as 1100km would be an easy 2 day drive in either country, but in Kazakhstan, in our truck with the rough paved and unpaved roads today made it clear that our goal would be tiring and tedious. So for much of the day we bounced along, mostly on rough paved roads, at less than 50 km/h covering a little over 300km in almost 7 driving hours.

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Another motorhome (A350, Kazakhstan)

Journal entry for Friday 19th Jul, 2013 (day 107, miles 7999)

Before we were out of bed this morning we heard a vehicle sounding its horn and then heard the sound of a diesel engine coming towards our camping spot. To our surprise we looked out of our window to see another motorhome coming towards us. Sue and Chris, from the UK, were on their way to Mongolia. Just to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that people do all kinds of things and travel for all kinds of reasons we learned that they (Chris and Sue) were going to Mongolia to fly the hot air balloon they were carryiing in the big storage box mounted on the back of their vehicle. We spent some tiime together (after we got hurridly dressed) talking about the state of the roads, where to stay in various cities and the strength and weaknesses of our respective vehicles.

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A Title (A350, Kazakhstan)

Journal entry for Saturday 20th Jul, 2013 (day 108, miles 8205)

Today we saw a bit more activity beside the road. There were more villages, and in those villages there was more produce for sale in roadside stalls, and the main street through many of the villages had very extensive and long established groves of trees beside the street. We saw men out cutting grass with scythes and even saw one man painting the trunks of trees with white paint.

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Almaty - where to stay?? (Almaty, Kazakhstan)

Journal entry for Sunday 21st Jul, 2013 (day 109, miles 8288)

Last night our big question/decision was "where do we head to once in Almaty?". We talked about it for a long time and came up with all kinds of plans. This morning we chickened out and decided to head to the Holiday Inn according to the LonelyPlanet guide it had parking; the downside - it was expensive.

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Business (Almaty, Kazakhstan)

Journal entry for Monday 22nd Jul, 2013 (day 110, miles 8291)

Today was a business day. We tried many times this morning to call the local FEDEX franchise to find out what we had to do to liberate a package from the customs process here in Almaty but everytime the receptionist tried to connect us the phone hung-up. So after failing to get anywhere over the phone we decided to add a visit to FEDEX to our days agenda.

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Bad camping choice (Almaty, Kazakhstan)

Journal entry for Tuesday 23rd Jul, 2013 (day 111, miles 8304)

We left the Holiday Inn early this morning and made our way to the Mercedes dealer. We were there early so had to find a place to park and hang-out for about an hour before their opening time of 9:00am.

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City traffic and tree lined streets (Charyn Canyon, Kazakhstan)

Journal entry for Wednesday 24th Jul, 2013 (day 112, miles 8453)

Despite what we thought was an early start this morning, traffic was already fast and furious by the time we got underway heading to the southern part of the city of Almaty to visit Stantours. This is a well known Central Asian tourist company that helps travelers get visas and arranges tours and accomodation. We have been in contact with them for some months regarding our arrangements for Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Also this is where our package (the one we visited FEDEX about on Monday) was/had been delivered.

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A day at the Canyon (Charyn Canyon, Kazakhstan)

Journal entry for Thursday 25th Jul, 2013 (day 113, miles 8453)

We used the cooler morning to walk to the end of the access road to get a better look at the canyon. From the various lookouts along the way we could see green vegetation and blue National Park signs at the informal camping area at the bottom of the cayon. Also along the way we noticed a primitive road running down a nearby valley all the way to the river. It dawned on me that it was this road that the rangers we met last night were telling me not to drive on .. we would later understand why we got that advice.

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A walk into the Canyon (Almaty, Kazakhstan)

Journal entry for Friday 26th Jul, 2013 (day 114, miles 8578)

This morning before heading back towards Almaty Nina got up early to walk down the Jeep road to the bottom of Charyn Canyon to the informal camping ground at the river. Like a slug I stayed in bed for a while but eventually I felt guilty enough that I got up and followed. The round trip took Nina 1 and 1/2 hours and I only caught up to her 100m from the truck. Either Nina is getting faster, or I am getting slower. It was a pleasant walk as the valley through which the track passes was in shade for most of the time. We also discovered why the rangers warned us not to drive this track; at one point the track passes under a couple of big bolders and has no more the 7-8 feet of clearance.

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