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  • Yeah and again a trip of 23 hours went by. It was the 3th part of the train ride to Beijing. I also added Samarkand with 2 times 3 hours of train but it's nothing compared to the 90 hours I have done and the 71 I still have to be in a train. Yes I knew that it was 6 to 7 days of train, but didn't realise it was really 161 hours total haha. I can't say time flies but the landscape does ;-). But I am having fun, I don't know how to be bored and recently I found my 'nothing box' which helps to chill and relax. On the train I write, read, watch Marco Polo which is fitting perfectly since it is about the Silk Road and the great Khan dynasty and I try to have conversations in English / Russian with my offline translator. The trip was one long finish sauna which I normally like and the first 6 hours I was with Zina in this 4 person Cabin, the other 17 hours I was alone what made the Sauna a bit more comfortable and I slept a lot ;-) learned this from a friend (Eric ;-) ) Zina is really nice and helped me a lot with the border patrol. I hope that she will be better soon so she can travel more comfortable to Istanbul :). I will see Almaty these 4 days, yes it may have been 2 days if it were up to me. But it wasn't, trains go twice a week to Urumqi ;-). Bye bye, I like you all a lot, it's a nice.Read more

  • I knew that I had enough time in Almaty and that I needed a day to get myself and the trip together ...... "but it is not this day, this day we fight!! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth" I love Aragorn for this quote. I also like to postpone the bad or dull moments as long as possible ;-). I am a ranger from the west and my MTB is my horse today. Well I had wished it was a horse because doing this all by myself.... shit it was harder than it looked. Some bits I couldn't even keep the bike going. At 10km I needed my first real break already, water came out faster then I was consuming it was only 32degrees. On 15 km I had to rest and freshed myself up in the ice cold stream. After 1 km I was in pain and couldn't go faster than 8km/h max. Walking seemed to go faster and from 19km not even 4km/h was possible. Than came the stair, I was happy because stairs are always the shortest way. But damn it was a long one and you couldn't see the end... it was devided in 7 pieces at least. Music was my saviour and what better fitting than ending with Survivor - Eye of the Tiger. The movie on my FB says enough I think, when I reached the top I met this guy Sultan, also a nice guy and young of age (20 ;-) ). The trip down was amazing, going 60km/h and just hold tight and enjoy the ride. Movie for the speed trip down is to be uploaded ;-)Read more

  • Who is doing the trip? Let's say you're doing it solo, it's hard enough to know yourself ;-). The first thing is decide what you want, I had 3 things in mind: The Peking-Express, Backpacking in Australia and to the South Pole. I had people in mind to go with, and they were willing, but time and money are the next 2 things you need to consider. As a freelancer it's relatively easy to get time, don't forget that when a freelancer doesn't work he doesn't get paid. So I worked 5 times the time that I am away. 3 are for the trip, 1 is for the time I am not working and 1 is the buffer when I come back and have no work.
    Ok now plan this whole trip: It took me 4 months preparation and I have to say I couldn't do it without friend and travel agent Johan v.d. Berg. Travelcare is the company that did all the arrangements and backs me up when the shit hits the fan ;-). It's awesome to know that's someone is keeping an eye on the schedule and taking extra care when things go differently. Off course the ideas are my own but some things I never would have tought off. Johan was the middle man communicating with "Treinreiswinkel" for the Express to Beijing, with "Killroy" for the around the world airplane ticket (an enormous puzzle that took us months to fit together) and with "Tenzing Travel" for a once in a life time experience to Antartica. To make it even a greater challenge we were going to fit a couple of destinations in between including seeing my girl again in New Zealand and overlap the end part with my family in Boa Vista :). Wow what a trip.
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  • Here we've arrived by ship early in the morning and somehow hitchhiked into the city. There we've stayed with our couchsurfer Askar and his father in law, who prepared a tasty plov for us. After two days we had to leave again for a 46 hour train ride to Astana. It was so hot here!

  • After another 24 hours in the train, we were finally in Almaty. Our couchsurfer Ataner provided a whole flat for us, which actually was a guesthouse for clients of his company. The last two nights we've shared it with a Japanese couple and we all went to a Turkish restaurant together. Almaty is good for many hikes and it has also a chocolate factory :)

  • Days go more quick if you sleep more ;-). I woke up at 11 local time with the same Daaaan-jeeel haha breakfast was ready. Yesterday I gave all my roebels and food to these 2 nice ladies since they were sharing so did I. It resulted in warm soup and more luxurious diners. Today we will cross the Uzbekistan border.

  • The biggest city of Kazachstan, totally different than al the deserted landscapes I have seen so far of this country. It's rich and international, with a lot of students and a lot of people and expensive cars on the streets. Not much historical sites and mostly modern looking buildings. For me a moment to relax and be able to communicate with a bunch of people. 1 tip for if they don't speak your languages: take a photo of what you want at forehand saves you a lot of trouble when you can just point it out on your phone :). By the way, meet Aria Stark working at Traveler's coffee, it's a nice that she wanted to pose for this shot :).Read more

  • My last day Almaty, all days went by that quickly I had some more things to do here and no time left. I tried to rent a Motorbike for the past 2 days and I ended up driving this chevy ;-). Well it was for the best, because in Kazachstan they drive their car as if were a horse so a good car helped surviving. Traffic is a complete chaos and the fastest wins. I went up to the Big Almaty lake which would have been a fun hike if I had the time, now I had plenty of time and energy left to climb around and make some nice pictures. After that I took some hikers back to town and asked them what else was nice to see within range. They had some suggestions and spoke understandable English. So I head for the highway and hoped that the big connecting roads would go faster but actually it was one traffic jam at 1500 already so after 40 minutes of that i head into the mountains again and found a few beautifull spots where I enjoyed the nature some more. I took the car back at 7 and took the metro to the center again, ate at Mad Murphy's which was a super fun end of Almaty. Live music, wi-fi, good food and enough english speaking personel :). Great succes ;-).Read more

  • Yeah more backpackers on the train. The train left at 0:30 and they do this exactly on time. Now I think of it I didn't write about the last time. There was this guy who said my train was 2 hours delayed, it could have been miscommunication but how many trains go to Almaty? And he said train almata 2 hours late. Thank my own gut feeling that I checked this information with a guy who worked at the station. He looked at my ticket and said: you RUN to nr 5. I was just on time, the stairs had to come down at one wagon and they let me on. While the train was moving I had to walk 3 wagons to get to my cabin. Lucky me ;-). Well this time I was one of the first to enter the train, and next to my Cabin were a Dutch father and his 2 lovely daughters. In my own Cabin came Beka, a really nice guy from Kazachstan 23 years old and on his way to work for the first time as an Medical Psychologist if I am correct. He was so kind to share his wifi network. That's awesome. He got out before the border, just like the 2 landworkers who slept above us. They where a bit dwarfish and with hands like balloons. They came and climbed around as monkeys, made up their beds and went to their snorring without talking to each other. They woke up packed their stuff and moved out. After 12 hours I had the Cabin for myself again, we reached the border but that means that the wheels needed to be replaced for the Chinese ones. That's a cool thing for an engineer like me, but it took 3 hours. So made enough pictures and movies. They first moved everybody out of the first wagon, I was glad for that cause I was in the 2nd, and we gained 3 Americans to our International wagon. We had the Dutch, 2 from south afrika, a few chines and now the 3 Americans. Than they unhooked every wagon, lifted all the wagons, removed the old wheels, pulled these away while pushing the new ones underneath. We were ready, kazach borderpatrol we already had while moving to this wheel change area so up to the Chinese borderpatrol. When we arrived you hear this nostalgic marsh music of the chinese through the speakers of that station. Really typical and there they came marching out the Building. No pictures allowed of course, they checked everything, you needed to unlock your phone and laptop so they can go through it. I gave my old phone, I am like that ;-). He accidentaly sat on my good phone under my t shirg so that one was safe haha. They were happy and laughing while checking so it was ok. Afterwards I had a lot of fun exchanging stories with all the other backpackers. The for 2 years married Afrikans were going to Tibet, the Americans heading for Mongolië, the Dutch to Urumqi ( also booked at treinreiswinkel ;-) )and I was to be only for 10 hours in Urumqi. So exchanged names and numbers and went to sleep. A Good day, A Good night ;-).Read more