Chilling in Almaty

Almaty (Kazakhstan), 19.10.2013

Of the two days I spent in Almaty the first one went to getting the car checked by the local Land Rover service center (Caspian Motors), that had already helped by sending a service car to Bishkek in the summer when the Evoque had broken down there. I also washed some 20kg of laundry in a shady place in the courtyard of a hospital. My new friend Zhannat had found the place somehow, and they did indeed wash everything properly, although the location didn’t inspire too much confidence. They even put some extra socks in the bag when I got my stuff back.

DSC_0002For lunch of the first day, Zhannat brought me to a ski resort right behind Almaty. The city extends from the lower plains up into the mountains. The road led past the Medeu Stadium with its ice track and a huge dam right behind it, apparently built to protect the city from landslides, to the Chimbulak Ski Resort, where locals go skiing in the winter. The ski pistes are less then half an hour from the city, in a very convenient and beautiful location. After the great Kazakh food of the previous night, this time we had a big, tasty shashlik plate! Later in the evening, after picking up the car and the laundry, we went for some sushi. It was the first sushi after Tokyo, and obviously couldn’t compete, but was still a nice change of diet in meat country Kazakhstan.

DSC_0006 (1)DSC_0007 (1)The next morning started very slow, and with a late breakfast in the sun on the terrace of a café close to the hotel where we had stopped the day before. While reading, studying maps and planning the next days, a very tasty breakfast with eggs and sandwiches surprised me. In the afternoon I faced the less pleasant part: cleaning up the baggage. Two cans of beer had exploded on the rocky streets, and a glass of jam had “plunged into” a can of tomatoes. My food boxes were full of a tomato-beer mix and I had to spend quite some time cleaning the mess up. The baggage got less though, leaving a bit more space in the Evoque. In the meantime, Zhannat activated some contacts to organise permits for me to visit the Baikonur cosmodrome, an operation that usually takes 45 days. In the evening we went to another great, fine restaurant, the Favor, where a juicy steak, some Kazakh bread balls filled with horse meat, a bottle of Chianti and an amazing desert convinced me completely of the culinary qualities of this lovely city. Almaty has been a real surprise, the good weather (25 degrees plus sunshine galore) surely helped, but Zhannat’s organisation skills made me take home a fantastic impression. Thank you so much!!

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No trip data for these days

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