“Have you ever been to Kazakhstan?” That’s a question I don’t get very often.. Well, we should ask that question more often, to others and to ourselves. This time I can actually say: “Yes, I have been to Kazakhstan!” I never spoke much about that country and no one ever said to me: “Let’s go to Kazakhstan.” Until now.
Two months ago I’ve met a Swiss guy in Serbia who was going to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. When someone asks me to go on an adventure and I have the opportunity, I rarely say no. So when I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago I adjusted my travel itinerary to his for a bit. We both flew to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in the middle of the night, got a taxi, and went to border control. Why not fly to Kazakhstan? I have no clue, travel itineraries don’t have to make sense remember!? Besides, now we got our passports stamped three times in 1,5 hour. I think that’s a new personal record! Crossing the border by foot at six in the morning is an interesting experience, but not as interesting as what happens after that. Every Kazakh that owns a car tries to drag you to their car yelling “Almaty, Almaty!” Yes, I do want to go to Almaty, but boy oh boy who to pick. Eventually, we were on our way. I looked at Kazakhstan for the first time in my life. This was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. High mountains with snowy summits, green fields, a group of wild horses, and bright red flowers. Especially when the sun is shining its light on us, the world became a magical place. I was imagining myself riding a horse running through those fields, the landscapes scream complete freedom. The cities are not as developed as back home, but it’s very clear that this country is trying to improve anyway they can, building new buildings, opening nice monuments, keeping the parks clean, and offering amazing food. It wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. We had two stormy nights surrounded by mountains watching the lightning and listening to thunder. What I have been wondering for days is why people were afraid of me coming to this country. It has been absolutely amazing. It is incredible how many different cultures and religions are living together, respecting each other. At least in the Almaty region where I have been. The only moment when disaster could have struck was when a water pipe bursted a couple seconds after we walked on that exact spot, but that would have been kind of hilarious as well. I mean.. if none of the rocks flying around hit us of course. Oh well, Kazakhstan it’s time to say goodbye for now. I hugged the host of Hostel Almaty Dom firmly for his hospitality, and off we go back to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan!