Kazakhstan
Astana

Here you’ll find travel reports about Astana. Discover travel destinations in Kazakhstan of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

5 travelers at this place:

  • Day50

    Astana

    June 21, 2015 in Kazakhstan ⋅ 🌬 25 °C

    Finally we've arrived in Astana (the capital of Kazakhstan). All was clean and modern and we stayed in a big flat with Ali's brother and his family.

  • Day1

    1. nap: Budapest-Astana

    October 5, 2017 in Kazakhstan ⋅ ☁️ -1 °C

    A reggel még rohanással, pakolással és készülődéssel telt. Menet közben azon tanakodtam, hogy mégis be kellene csomagolnom a bakancsot a kazah fagyokra. Ebből végül nem lett semmi, mert így is alig fértünk el.

    A reptéren összekevertük a moszkvai és astanai gépet, így az utolsó pillanatban, majdnem utolsóként szálltunk be.

    Leszállás után sorbanálltunk vízumért, majd az információn megpróbáltuk kideríteni hogy jutunk el a szállásunkra. A 10-es busz lett a nyerő - amiért futni kellett, mert elindult mire kiértünk a reptérről.

    A buszon egy idősebb kazah fószer gitározott és énekelt. Nem tolta rosszul, de azért kicsit unalmas volt egy óra után. Elsőre eltaláltuk hol szálljunk le, de a megfelelő épület megtalálása sokáig tartott. Addigra már három lakóépületbe bementünk.

    Jevgenyij megvárt minket, megkínált valami pálinkával és sajttal, majd elmentünk aludni.
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  • Day29

    Kazahsztán összefoglaló

    November 2, 2017 in Kazakhstan ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    Mielőtt elkezdünk mesélni Kínáról szerettünk volna még egy összefoglalót írni Kazahsztánról, száraz, unalmas adatokkal, ötletekkel ha valaki kedvett kapott volna az utazáshoz és személyes toplistákkal, satöbbi.

    Kazahsztánban végül 29 napot töltöttünk, beleszámolva ebbe a megérkezés első, csonka napját is. Utóbbinak csak praktikus okai voltak: a 30 napos tartózkodási engedélynél a belépés már teljes napnak számít, mi pedig nem akartunk “kettős könyvelés” miatt kicsúszni a megengedett időből. Állítólag elég súlyos büntetéseket osztogatnak érte...

    Indulás előtt arra számítottunk, hogy az olaj- és gázvagyon miatt Kazahsztán a drágább országok közé fog tartozni, ezzel együtt elég ügyesen sikerült gazdálkodnunk. A 29 nap alatt nagyjából 1970 eurót költöttünk el ketten együtt, ami napi átlagban egy hajszállal van csak 68 euró alatt. A végösszeg azért nem teljesen pontos, mert beleszámoltuk a Budapest-Astana repülőjegyeket (amiket még Magyarországon fizettünk ki), továbbá feláldoztuk a nálunk lévő 80 amerikai dollárt is, hogy ne kelljen annyi pénzt felvennünk Almaty-ban (ezeket középárfolyamon váltottuk euróra), illetve az utolsó megmaradt 20 ezer tengénket kínai jüanra váltottuk.
    Szintén fontos megemlíteni, hogy nem számoltuk bele az összegbe az Almaty-Urumqi repülőjegyeket, amivel kiléptünk az országból.

    Ha valaki fapadosan szeretne ide utazni, természetesen ennél olcsóbban is meg lehet úszni a kalandot. A szervezett túrák önmagukban majdnem 700 dollárba kerültek a három napra, ezen valamennyit biztos lehet faragni ha az ember Almaty-ban talál társakat (mi bőven szezonon túl mentünk), vagy elindul saját szakállára (de ezt az Aral-tónál nem érdemes megkockáztatni, sehol nincsenek kint jelzések és így tíz perc alatt el lehet tévedni a tómederben). A szállás Kazahsztánban szerintünk olcsó volt, 15 euróért az ember már ki tud fogni egy kétfős szobát reggelivel, néha még saját fürdőszoba is jár hozzá. Az étkezés kicsit olcsóbb, mint Budapesten, de nem bántó a különbség. Alkoholizálni meg otthon sem szoktunk és nem itt terveztünk ezen változtatni :)

    Ahogy korábban már említettük, busszal és vonattal utazni kimondottan olcsó az országban. A vonatok általában kicsit lassabbak a buszoknál, cserébe a jegy is olcsóbb. Ez alól kivételt jelentenek az újabb, nagy sebességű szerelvények, amikkel sokkal kényelmesebb az utazás és több órát is meg lehet spórolni egyes vonalakon. A kedvenc példám: az Atyrau-Almaty viszonyt 37 óra leküzdeni az új vonatokkal, a régiekkel viszont több, mint 70.

    Sokszor persze nincs az embernek választási lehetősége és az olcsóbb, fapados járatokat kell használnia. Egy jó tanács: még nagyobb távolságokon is annyira minimális a másod- és a harmadosztály között az árkülönbözet, hogy nem érdemes utóbbival spórolni, mert kényelmi szempontból viszont szakadékok választják el a két kocsiosztály egymástól. Hogy mást ne mondjak, 180 cm-es magassággal az ember harmadosztályon már lelóg az ágyról a folyosóra (ahol aztán az éjszaka legváratlanabb pillanataiban kapaszkodnak bele drága útitársaink), másodosztályon pedig még az én 190 centim is elfért a matracon.

    AMI MOST KIMARADT
    Judittal indulás előtt arról beszéltünk, hogy Kazahsztán tipikusan az az ország, ahova az ember életében egyszer utazik el. Az igazság az, hogy menet közben mi azért össze tudtunk állítani egy listát azokról a helyekről, ahova egyszer azért jó lenne visszajönni... Valami ilyesmi tervet raktunk össze elég nagy vonalakban:
    * a Kaszpi-tenger keleti partján megnézni Aktaut és az üzbég határral szomszédos Mangisztaut
    * utána vonattal elmenni Kyzylordába, meglátogatni Baykonurt
    * ha nagyon sok időnk van, Almaty-ba utazni és ott a legkirályabb túrahelyeket körbejárni
    * onnan pedig Ust-Kamenogorskba menni, túrázni az Altay-hegységben és megnézni a Polygont

    LEGEK
    Kazahsztánban messze a legtöbbet vonattal utaztuk: 6415 km-t tettünk így meg. Második helyen az autókázás végzett, a három egynapos túra alatt 991 km-t nyomtunk le. És kipróbáltunk mindenféle buszokat is, ezekbe 896 km-t tettünk.

    (Ezek nem pontos adatok, a következő módszert alkalmaztuk egységesen mindenhol: csak várostól városig mértük a távolságot, az alapján amit a Google Maps elsőre kidob útvonalnak. Városon belül a helyi buszokat, metrót és taxizásokat nem számoltuk. Vonatoknál szintén a Google Mapsre támaszkodtunk, kivéve az Atyrau-Almaty utat, ahol nagyon fölé lőtt a tényleges távolságnak. Ebben az egy esetben a Yandexet vettük figyelembe.)

    Végül pedig a személyes kedvenceink Kazahsztánból:
    * Legelvarázsoltabb környezet: Charyn Canyon
    * Legszebb látnivaló: Turkistan
    * Legfaszább város: Almaty. A látnivalók azért nem A kategóriások, de a hangulata mindenért kárpótolt minket
    * Legcukibb város: Sayram, ahol minden második iskolás vigyorogva köszönt ránk hangos “Hello” és “How are you” kiáltásokkal
    * Legegzotikusabb élmény: meztelenül úszkálni az Arasan fürdő hidegvizes medencéjében öreg nénikék/bácsikák óvó tekintetének gyűrűjében
    * Legjobb szállás: itt végül döntetlent kellett hirdetnünk, Juditnak az astanai lakás volt a kedvence (ragyogó tisztaság és szuper kilátás a belvárosra), nekem az atyraui hotelszoba
    * Legrosszabb szállás: igazán rossz helyen, ami minden szempontból botrányosan szar volt, szerencsére nem laktunk. Így Tarazt kell megemlítenünk, ahol az ár-érték kategóriában felállított lécet sikerült a hotelnek durván lefejelnie
    * Legfeleslegesebb szuperképesség: ásítás közben szürcsögni, amit Shchuchinsk és Astana között a vonaton mutatott be nekünk egy fazon
    * Legnagyobb tuskó: Burabay-ban a pincérnő, aki arra nem vette a fáradságot, hogy a kezünkbe nyomjon egy étlapot
    * Legmeglepőbb fordulat: szintén Burabay-ban a hotel udvarán dolgozó melós srác jobban tudott angolul, mint a recepciós csaj
    * Legváratlanabb esemény: és még mindig Burabay, az egyik nap végén az udvaron hegesztő munkások a Skorpió “Így szólt hozzám a dédapám” c. dalát hallgatták a rádiójukon
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  • Day114

    Astana

    June 11, 2018 in Kazakhstan ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    Astana war eine der Städte, von denen wir schon vor Beginn der Reise durch die Bilder bei Google geflasht waren und die wir unbedingt sehen wollten. Nach 24h Flugreise, davon 12h Verspätung (wir hoffen auf 30% Rückerstattung des Preises) und Zwischenstopps in Aktau und Almaty sind wir dann auch angekommen. Der erste Eindruck war auch wirklich sehr beachtlich. Eine wahnsinnige Weite in der Stadt, unzählige riesige Bauten, viel buntes Licht und Videowände. Im Hostel haben wir Andy und Annette aus Australien kennengelernt, die gerade eine 36-stündige Busfahrt (!) aus der Westmongolei hinter sich hatten und auf ihrem Weg nach London sind. Mit den beiden haben wir drei Tage die Stadt, das Expo 2017 Gelände und das Nachtleben Astana, inklusive Karaokebar, erkundet. Und bei genauerem Hinsehen und etwas Hintergrundwissen fällt auf, dass die Stadt einfach künstlich ist und keinerlei Charme hat. Man fragt sich, wo die ganzen Menschen sein sollen, die in dieser riesigen Stadt Platz finden könnten und auch wo die alle arbeiten sollen. Es ist nicht direkt verarmt und man sieht sich keine Bettler, aber die leerstehenden Wohnblocks und die oft leeren Straßen machen einem trotzdem ein unwohles Gefühl. Der aktuelle Präsident hat vor etwa 20 Jahren einfach gesagt, dass nicht mehr Almaty die Hauptstadt Kasachstans ist, sondern seine Geburtsstadt Astana. Und ab dann Geld reingepumpt. Das bringt viele große Gebäude, aber eben keinen Flair. Almaty soll dagegen wirklich sehr schön sein. Nächstes Mal dann.
    Leider waren wir eigenverschuldet in Astana gefangen. Eine Blitzidee hat uns noch in Baku WM Tickets kaufen lassen. Diese hätten uns ein easy Visum für Russland, sowie das Spiel Ägypten - Uruguay in Jekaterinburg ermöglicht. Der Zug war schon gebucht, die Unterkunft in Jekaterinburg auch, nur die Tickets kamen und kamen nicht an. Und an dem Morgen, an dem klar war, dass wir es nicht schaffen, war die Ernüchterung groß. Aber viel schlimmer, wie sollten wir ohne Russland Visum in die Mongolei kommen. In Astana ein Visum zu bekommen, ist zwar nicht unmöglich, daaaauert aber. Und diese Stadt hatten wir ja nach Tag 2 schon über. Also haben wir kurzerhand nochmal zwei WM Tickets gekauft. Und wer hätte das gedacht, mit der Bestellnummer, die uns der Verkäufer zugemailt hat, haben wir innerhalb von 5 Minuten das Visum per Mail erhalten. Halleluja! Also Beine in die Hand genommen und weg aus Astana. Der Nachmittagszug brachte uns nach 5h nach Kurort-Borovoe, einem kleinen Naherholungsgebiet mit Bergen und Seen. Ganz hübsch, aber nichts besonderes. Hier haben wir auch das erste WM Spiel gesehen und zum ersten Mal kasachischen Essen gegessen (Pferd).
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  • Day4

    Astana

    August 25, 2018 in Kazakhstan ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    I couldn’t get to sleep until 3am or so this morning. I was tired enough from all the walking but my body clock was still on Dublin time, 5 hrs behind, and thought it was early evening. One I did drop off, I slept soundly until around 9am. Up for a shave and a shower and the other one and then out to McDonald’s again for more pap.

    I noticed a guy beside me with his daughter; she was about 9 or 10. He was ordinary but looked into the his daughters-in-law eyes with an extraordinary look, to my eyes, a look of complete attention and love. She seemed very soothed by this look and there was a serenity about her. All normal stuff and the birthright of every child but so rare in this sad old world of ours that I noticed it. Or maybe it’s something I’m noticing more and more. Or maybe it was something in the McDonald’s air.

    The weather is quite bad today with very heavy rain and a bit chilly. I had to wear my coat and hat going out. What exacerbates the weather is the terrible state of public infrastructure I can see so far. Unbelievably, many roads seems to have no drainage and no camber so huge puddles of water form on the road, most near the edges but many right in the middle of the road. Drivers swerve to avoid the deep ones and woe betide any hapless foot passenger who is near a speeding SUV ploughing through a nearby deep pubble and is unable to duck the approaching tsunami of dirty water. I was nearly caught out when I saw a huge Zil bearing down on me and being driven at an insane speed. I managed to run forward to a dry spot and the day was saved.

    Before I came over, I got briefly hooked on YouTube videos of dashcam footage of car crashes. Most seemed to have occurred in Russia. You know how YouTube registers what you’re watching and then presents an option to view something similar. I have the app on my huge TV at home so they would play back to back. I know schadenfreude is a sin but I couldn’t stop cackling at some of them. I couldn’t help myself, really. It did help me keep a sharp eye on the traffic here through and to take no chances.

    I did a tour of most of Astana main sites today. I spent most of morning and early afternoon lying on my bed reading Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s book Cat’s Cradle. What an astonishing writer. I read him back in the 70s when I lived in Holland but didn’t really understand it. I thought he was ‘anti’ things. I was anti-things back then, anti-anything at all really, especially myself. I used to think that my enemy’s enemy was my friend. Until he became my enemy, as everyone did eventually. Not exactly a good recipe for a happy life. Anyway, KVJ was part of this but I completely misread him.

    The reason I’m reading it is because I broke my Kindle ebook reader. This is the second one I broke in a short time as they’re very fragile. I had about 50 books loaded onto the Kindle so I would have plenty to read on my trip. They were mostly mind-candy books, science fiction mainly. Well written and intelligent but not challenging. My favourites were Iain M Banks, Neal Asher etc. But now they were all gone. What will I do. I’ve had a book stuck under my nose for almost every day of the past six decades. The withdrawal didn’t bear thinking about.

    I read academic books on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 tablet and that worked fine. However, I had associated it with work and not idle pleasure. But needs must when the devil drives. I opened up my Android ebook reader and ‘Cats Cradle’ was in the cache. I must have accidently downloaded it to the tablet ages ago. I changed the theme to a dark one and fiddled around with the settings so it was easy to read. And, lo and behold, it was much more like reading a real book than the Kindle ever was. It was heavier but as heavy as a real book might be. Goodbye Kindle, hello tablet. I had all my Kindle books backed up to to my cloud drive so I downloaded again to tablet. Bob’s your uncle.

    My trip today was about 7.5km according to Google Maps Timeline and the longest I walked in a year. My foot was sore at the end and I probably couldn’t have gone further. But I’m pleased that it’s holding out. I had an MRI scan a week or so before I left and the result was that the avulsion fracture had healed but that I had a lot of moderate osteoarthritis in my second, third and fourth metatarsal joints. I take a 400mg Ibuprofen 30 mins before I go walking and the pain is manageable. I haven’t taken a second one yet but will if I have a long days walk. I really want to minimise their usage.
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  • Day5

    Astana

    August 26, 2018 in Kazakhstan ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Still here. I’m here because I’m not all there, as the man said.

    Last day in Astana so spent most of the late morning and afternoon walking around the main architectural sites taking photos on my new camera and bringing out my 10-18mm wide-angle lens for its first spin. Photos of wide areas and buildings look great with this lens but I’m still learning about composition. Many of the buildings are impressive but strangely impersonal. I spend around an hour just rambling around the administrative centre where the presidential palace is until a policeman with one of those soviet era peaked hats, said foto, nyet. So, this not being the democratic West, I stopped.

    I read somewhere recently that someone said that photography is the art of learning so see so that eventually you don’t need a camera. I totally get that and walking about and imagining what. A scene would look like through a camera lens gives me a far greater feel and experience of a place. Once the shutter clicks I lose interest in the photo and only occasionally look at them again. Mind you, I haven’t learnt Photoshop yet. Once I do, my inner geek will have a field day.

    I then went back to the hostel and had a short power nap as I’m not a spring chicken any more. Afterwards, one of the advantages of hostelling, I got into conversation with a Dutch man, a Serbian woman and a gay Iranian couple. We spoke of our experiences of travelling and exchanged information and advice.

    Afterwards, myself and the Dutchman walked about 30mins to a restaurant the Serbian woman recommended for some authentic Kazakhstani food. It was dark now and the city looked very different with lots of couples and some people, but not many, having the craicski.

    I had what the menu said was a signature Kazakh dish. But it had horsemeat. I’ve never eaten horsemeat before and, to be honest, it wasn’t on my list of 100,000 things to do. But, when in Rome etc etc. So I ordered it. I wasn’t hugely impressed as it had a strong gamey flavour. I probably won’t order it again. Chalk it down to experience.

    I forgot to mention in my last blog but I had reindeer meat in Helsinki just because I never had it before. It was only a starter and quite small thankfully as I couldn’t get Rudolph out of my mind.

    That’s it, possums. Off to Almaty tomorrow. Please feel free to comment and say hi.
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  • Day3

    Astana, Kazakhstan

    August 24, 2018 in Kazakhstan ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Main process today has been travelling from Helsinki to Astana, arriving and travelling around Astana.

    The flight was uneventful. The plane, a Finnair one, was half empty. Whew, I was worried it might be half full. It left right on time at 9.25pm Helsinki time. As soon as we boarded, I set my watch to Astana time, 3 hrs ahead, to 12.25am the next day. I do this to acclimate myself to the new timezone. The journey took 3 and a half hours and try as I might, I couldn’t fall asleep. I nodded off for about 20 mins but something woke up. I couldn’t get back again.

    We arrived at Astana at 4:45am and I was expecting a long wait at passport control and emigration but not a bit of it. I was through in a jiffy. The only fly in the ointment really was that they stamped the last page in my passport and not the next blank page. A first world problem! The airport itself was amazing; all marble and glitz but I was too tired to really appreciate it properly. I pushed my way past taxi touts in the airport and went outside to find an official taxi. The guy, he told me he was 23, was Uzbek and had driven a taxi for a few years so knew the city well. He didn’t really speak English but when I told him he was Irlandski he delightedly mimicked Conor McGregor. He’s our national symbol? WTF. How about our poets, musicians etc. But, hey, that’s the way it is. Barbarians rock, apparently.

    I got to the hostel at around 5:30 am, I think, checked in and went straight to bed. I slept like a log until around noon today. I had a coffee and went out to find breakfast. The only place I could find was a McDonald’s, ugh. But, I was hungry and needed some protein so McDonald’s it was. Some tasteless chicken sandwich thing. Cheap but filling.

    I went for a ramble along the main areas of Astana to get a sense of the place and also to take my foot out for a spin. I went almost 6 km without pain; a bit but manageable. I definitely think it’s on the mend again but I need to be mindful lest I damage it again.

    It’s a strange place, Astana. Not very people friendly. I couldn’t find any shops anywhere but there was a downtown area with all the usual international dollar magnets. I spotted a Costa and went in for my caffeine fix and a piece of apple pie. It was OK.

    This afternoon, the weather was very warm but chilly and lashing down rain in the early evening. According to Wikipedia, Astana is the second-coldest capital city in the world after Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a position formerly held by Canada’s capital, Ottawa, until Astana attained capital city status in 1997. Astana has an extreme continental climate with warm summers (featuring occasional brief rain showers) and long, very cold, dry winters. Summer temperatures occasionally reach +35 °C while −30 to −35 °C is not unusual between mid-December and early March. Typically, the city’s river is frozen over between the second week of November and the beginning of April.

    Astana has a well-deserved reputation among Kazakhs for its frequent high winds, the effects of which are felt particularly strongly on the fast-developing but relatively exposed Left Bank area of the city. This evening, the wind was very strong and made a loud howling noise. It was exciting but I was glad I wasn’t out in it.

    I decided tonight to leave Astana earlier that originally intended. I was going to stay until Monday and then head down to Almaty, the previous capital of Kazakhstan. I went onto the Kazakh railway site to book a ticket for tomorrow, Saturday. Gulp, there were no trains left. There was one en route from Moscow to Bishkek but this cost 17,000 roubles, an insane amount I wouldn’t pay unless there was absolutely no other choice. The only ticket remaining was on Monday! Departing at 10am and arriving in Almaty 25hrs later. I booked the last available berth. 64000 Tenge, less that 9€. Whew.



    Saturday 25th November – Astana

    I couldn’t get to sleep until 3am or so this morning. I was tired enough from all the walking but my body clock was still on Dublin time, 5 hrs behind, and thought it was early evening. One I did drop off, I slept soundly until around 9am. Up for a shave and a shower and the other one and then out to McDonald’s again for more pap.

    I noticed a guy beside me with his daughter; she was about 9 or 10. He was ordinary but looked into the his daughters-in-law eyes with an extraordinary look, to my eyes, a look of complete attention and love. She seemed very soothed by this look and there was a serenity about her. All normal stuff and the birthright of every child but so rare in this sad old world of ours that I noticed it. Or maybe it’s something I’m noticing more and more. Or maybe it was something in the McDonald’s air.

    The weather is quite bad today with very heavy rain and a bit chilly. I had to wear my coat and hat going out. What exacerbates the weather is the terrible state of public infrastructure I can see so far. Unbelievably, many roads seems to have no drainage and no camber so huge puddles of water form on the road, most near the edges but many right in the middle of the road. Drivers swerve to avoid the deep ones and woe betide any hapless foot passenger who is near a speeding SUV ploughing through a nearby deep pubble and is unable to duck the approaching tsunami of dirty water. I was nearly caught out when I saw a huge Zil bearing down on me and being driven at an insane speed. I managed to run forward to a dry spot and the day was saved.

    Before I came over, I got briefly hooked on YouTube videos of dashcam footage of car crashes. Most seemed to have occurred in Russia. You know how YouTube registers what you’re watching and then presents an option to view something similar. I have the app on my huge TV at home so they would play back to back. I know schadenfreude is a sin but I couldn’t stop cackling at some of them. I couldn’t help myself, really. It did help me keep a sharp eye on the traffic here through and to take no chances.

    I did a tour of most of Astana main sites today. I spent most of morning and early afternoon lying on my bed reading Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s book Cat’s Cradle. What an astonishing writer. I read him back in the 70s when I lived in Holland but didn’t really understand it. I thought he was ‘anti’ things. I was anti-things back then, anti-anything at all really, especially myself. I used to think that my enemy’s enemy was my friend. Until he became my enemy, as everyone did eventually. Not exactly a good recipe for a happy life. Anyway, KVJ was part of this but I completely misread him.

    The reason I’m reading it is because I broke my Kindle ebook reader. This is the second one I broke in a short time as they’re very fragile. I had about 50 books loaded onto the Kindle so I would have plenty to read on my trip. They were mostly mind-candy books, science fiction mainly. Well written and intelligent but not challenging. My favourites were Iain M Banks, Neal Asher etc. But now they were all gone. What will I do. I’ve had a book stuck under my nose for almost every day of the past six decades. The withdrawal didn’t bear thinking about.

    I read academic books on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 tablet and that worked fine. However, I had associated it with work and not idle pleasure. But needs must when the devil drives. I opened up my Android ebook reader and ‘Cats Cradle’ was in the cache. I must have accidently downloaded it to the tablet ages ago. I changed the theme to a dark one and fiddled around with the settings so it was easy to read. And, lo and behold, it was much more like reading a real book than the Kindle ever was. It was heavier but as heavy as a real book might be. Goodbye Kindle, hello tablet. I had all my Kindle books backed up to to my cloud drive so I downloaded again to tablet. Bob’s your uncle.

    My trip today was about 7.5km according to Google Maps Timeline and the longest I walked in a year. My foot was sore at the end and I probably couldn’t have gone further. But I’m pleased that it’s holding out. I had an MRI scan a week or so before I left and the result was that the avulsion fracture had healed but that I had a lot of moderate osteoarthritis in my second, third and fourth metatarsal joints. I take a 400mg Ibuprofen 30 mins before I go walking and the pain is manageable. I haven’t taken a second one yet but will if I have a long days walk. I really want to minimise their usage.



    Sunday 26 November – Astana

    Still here. I’m here because I’m not all there, as the man said.

    Last day in Astana so spent most of the late morning and afternoon walking around the main architectural sites taking photos on my new camera and bringing out my 10-18mm wide-angle lens for its first spin. Photos of wide areas and buildings look great with this lens but I’m still learning about composition. Many of the buildings are impressive but strangely impersonal. I spend around an hour just rambling around the administrative centre where the presidential palace is until a policeman with one of those soviet era peaked hats, said foto, nyet. So, this not being the democratic West, I stopped.

    I read somewhere recently that someone said that photography is the art of learning so see so that eventually you don’t need a camera. I totally get that and walking about and imagining what. A scene would look like through a camera lens gives me a far greater feel and experience of a place. Once the shutter clicks I lose interest in the photo and only occasionally look at them again. Mind you, I haven’t learnt Photoshop yet. Once I do, my inner geek will have a field day.

    I then went back to the hostel and had a short power nap as I’m not a spring chicken any more. Afterwards, one of the advantages of hostelling, I got into conversation with a Dutch man, a Serbian woman and a gay Iranian couple. We spoke of our experiences of travelling and exchanged information and advice.

    Afterwards, myself and the Dutchman walked about 30mins to a restaurant the Serbian woman recommended for some authentic Kazakhstani food. It was dark now and the city looked very different with lots of couples and some people, but not many, having the craicski.

    I had what the menu said was a signature Kazakh dish. But it had horsemeat. I’ve never eaten horsemeat before and, to be honest, it wasn’t on my list of 100,000 things to do. But, when in Rome etc etc. So I ordered it. I wasn’t hugely impressed as it had a strong gamey flavour. I probably won’t order it again. Chalk it down to experience.

    I forgot to mention in my last blog but I had reindeer meat in Helsinki just because I never had it before. It was only a starter and quite small thankfully as I couldn’t get Rudolph out of my mind.

    That’s it, possums. Off to Almaty tomorrow. Please feel free to comment and say hi.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Astana, አስታና, أسطانا, Астана, আস্তানা, Astanà, Aστάνα, Astano, Astaná, آستانه, אסטנה, Asztana, Աստանա, TSE, アスタナ, ასტანა, 아스타나, Остона, 阿斯塔纳

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