There and in an instant we have changes countries, we sort of flitted in and out of Tajikistan no sooner were we there than we left.
Mike and I did manage to go to a coffee shop and sit in the sunshine for 30 minutes with a little walk either side using different routes (Well Mike did have a map and a compass)
Anyway we are now in Almaty in Kazakhstan. A place quite familiar to me as I came here about 3 years ago for a few days, there are some earlier blogs of mine one about a Thai massage which still makes me smile.
Two minute history, given independence by the Russians when the Soviet Union dissolved, it is the ninth largest country in the world the historic capitol was Almaty where we are but the president moved it north to Astana nobody is exactly sure why as the climate around the new capitol can move from +40 in summer to -40 in winter (Celsius that is). The place is overflowing with oil and gas which is piped both East to China and West to Europe.
Almaty means “apples” and they are reported to have originated from here and it still remains the economical heart of the country.
We are staying in a hotel close to the Panfilov Park where there are a few sights we will check out. They have a cathedral which is made only of wood. A monument to the fallen hero’s of the “great Patriotic War” (WWII to us) plus a Museum of musical instruments’ which is never ever open.
There is also one of the finest museums I have ever been in however there are no brochures not photos allowed and no web site so you have to take my word for it however here are a couple of pictures of the toilets
We are taken up to the Medeu Ice-rink which is rather large at 10,500 sq metre and is the Highest Ice rink in the world at 1,691 mt above sea level.
I am sure it is very impressive but it is rather lost on me (sorry if you are a speed skater and this is your El Dorado)
On the way back we see some people selling apples and the size of some is astounding they are huge and I am sure there would be one as big as my head somewhere in the back of the van.
Not sure we need any of these but it would be rude not to get at least one which will provide lunch for 4 or 55 of us.
We are taken up one slope by bus so that we can come down by cable car ?sounds strange process but when in Almaty etc etc.
At the top is a small petting zoo some old fashioned rides for kids a few souvenir shops and a couple of bars / café’s.
As one would expect you gat a great view of the pollution from high up.