Almaty

First thing when we arrived: taxi drivers asking us insistently to pick them and a lot of rain!! As we decided not to take a taxi because prices announced were probably like 10 times the normal price, we walked to find buses to the downtown. We stopped at a bus station to ask our way and big surprise which has been repeated a lot: nobody here speaks English!! And since we don’t really know Russian, we knew it was going to be hard!!!!!!! Thanks to sign language, we finally managed to explain we wanted to go to the downtown and a guy decided to accompany us! He was really nice and he paid the bus and took us to a hotel… way out of our price range but it was sweet of him anyway!

We found a coffeehouse to have a nice breakfast that looked like this:  


coffee.jpg

 

We finally found a small, dirty but cheap hotel thanks to a French (!!!) guy we randomly met in the street and who was sleeping there. This guy, David, was traveling in Central Asia and told us some great stories!

Almaty is a big, polluted and busy city! We visited the main attractions: the parc Panfilov with the Zenkov cathedral and a war memorial. Here if the beautiful cathedral (orthodox):

Panfilov-cathedral.jpg

 

Samir and I in the parc:


Samir-and-I.jpg

 

A real Kazakh met in the street: 

kazakh.jpg

We visited the central mosque, beautiful but simple as well. We decided to visit the bazaar as well: great idea!! We got ripped off pretty fast by nuts sellers. They begun asking us to try everything, telling us it was the best products ever! At the end, they tried to sell us like 10 kilos of nuts (almonds, cashew, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan and macadamia nuts…) and dried fruits (apricots, figs, plums….). After harsh negotiations, we finally left with something like 4 kilos! After the bazaar, which is a busy, noisy, smelly place, I was exhausted and I probably looked something like that:


market.jpg

 

On the second day in Almaty, we also visited the cathedral Saint-Nicolas, which is smaller than the cathedral Zhenkov, but beautiful. We met a Spanish-speaking priest and chatted with him for a little bit about religion and stuff like that. It was really interesting!

Then we just wandered in the streets, enjoying the sunny weather. The mountains nearby were beautiful. It looked like this on a day with clear sky:

 kazakhstan-mountains.jpg

Zhenkov cathedral Panfilov war memorial Almaty Kazakhstan

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