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Almaty - Targhan 97km

Back in the saddle.

all seasons in one day

After what seemed like an eternity off the bike I was back riding again but it has to be said I was sad to leave Almaty behind. Sad mainly because I had to say goodbye to my wonderful hosts Gaziza and Adina.

We shared one final breakfast in the morning we meant one final fantastic view of the mountain in the background. I’m not good at goodbyes at the best of times but they have to be done and I like I said I was genuinely sad to say goodbye. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to really convey to them just how much they did for me while I was there.

People in Almaty had constantly complained to me about the problem of pollution in the city. I suppose coming from China I’d not really noticed it too much but as I rode out of the city I suddenly became very aware of it as I made my way through the early morning traffic and thick heavy polluted air. It was a relief to finally see trees lining the road and the number of cars become less and less.

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Good to see Arsenal branching out into other areas in Southern Kazakhstan!

I’d met Kenta (acyclist.blog.fc2.com) the other day in the Uzbek consulate. We’d made a rough plan to ride together but I’d told him to set off without me as I didn’t want to rush leaving in the morning. I was really happy to catch him up after about 40km and in addition to meet another cyclist ‘Paco’ from Germany. Both of them were heading to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan but it meant we’d have a couple of days riding together.

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It was clear from the offset that both of them were very keen on what we shall call a relaxed pace. It didn’t bother me too much; perhaps I could learn a little from them and slow my riding down a touch. I’d left a day earlier than I expected from Almaty so I too wasn’t in any hurry. I have 9 days to get to Tashkent in Uzbekistan a distance of just under 900km.

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We had a long lazy lunch in the shade of some trees and swapped stories of our various travels; both Kenta and Paco seem interesting people and it’s just nice to have a bit of company out on the road for a change.

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In the afternoon we took a short ride of about 50km before stopping for tea. As we sipped on our refreshing beverages some rather nasty looking grey clouds formed in the distance, the wind picked up and the inevitable rain shower passed through. By this time we’d all been off the bikes for a good hour and reached a consensus that it would be best to stay here the night.

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The restaurant had a covered outside area and we asked the boss if it would be possible to pitch the tents here to which he gladly agreed. After dinner we got to meet their son and experience that Kenta found very exciting once he found out that the boy was in fact Almaty Province’s high school Judo champion.

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Ordering food is quite difficult when you don’t know the language and a variety of guide books later we managed to finally get some food on the table in front of us. I’ve decided that the best way to deal with this is to photograph every meal I have and then simply show it to the waiter or waitress in the restaurant.

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So the first day back in the saddle and I have to say it felt good.

Posted by Ontheroadagain 21:02 Archived in Kazakhstan

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