From the Silk Road cities of Uzbekistan, we entered the steppe or flat, dry grasslands of Kazakhstan.
At first it looked desolate, but the cities were a different matter. They were filled with signs of affluence: nice cars, air conditioned shopping malls, chic cafes. Sometimes we wondered if we hadn’t somehow been transported back to Europe!
The riding wasn’t so interesting in the cities though. We much preferred the small villages, especially those nestled in the mountains close to the Chinese border.
125km Tashkent-Shymkent Kazakhstan greeted us with the sound of the Beatles playing from a speaker outside a slick new shopping centre. Inside its air conditioned walls were all the big clothing names, an Apple computer store and a thoroughly modern supermarket. We were back in the land of vegetables wrapped in plastic and whole rows
Just a quick note to let everyone know we made it to Taraz and we’re continuing east to Almaty today. We’d love to bring you photos of some of the beautiful sights from the last few days but unfortunately the internet cafe isn’t helping…. there’s no way we can attach our USB stick so the
192km Shymkent-Taraz The well-dressed fellow at our table didn’t look like your typical alcoholic. With his well tailored suit and fancy watch he seemed more like a business man waiting for a meeting. But in the few minutes since we’d been at the cafe he’d already ordered three pitchers of vodka and a large beer.
575km Taraz-Almaty What a week it’s been. In the past seven days we’ve been treated to Kazakh culinary delights and indulged in a little too much Kazakh cognac with our cycling friend Michel. We’ve pedalled alongside a stunning snow-capped mountain range, stopped to watch horses and their newborn foals grazing in green pastures and even
368km Almaty-Taldykorgan After nearly a week in Almaty it was time to hit the road again, although we were slightly reluctant having had the good fortune to meet such a generous host as Abe, who let us crash in his apartment for our extended stay. This is really one of the great delights of our
672km Taldykorgan-Karakol Where to start on a journey that’s taken us across some of Kazakhstan’s more remote and beautiful places over the past eight days and through the back door into Kyrgyzstan, where we sit now on the edge of one of the world’s largest alpine lakes. How about with the sound of two hundred