View from the three Brothers outside of Almaty, Kazakhstan

Camping in Kazakhstan: the Birthplace of a President

Camping at the Birthplace of Nursultan Nazerbayev Part I: Getting There The bright sorbet-orange sun slowly sunk toward the horizon turning people and cars into black silhouettes against the horizon. Our late start for this Friday night camping trip meant we were racing the clock – racing the darkness.  We stopped only once to pick up some dinner from a Shashlik stand by the side of the road and to grab several bundles of wood[…]

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Astana Barys Mascot

Astana: Just one game

The sound in the 5000 seat arena was deafening as the whistle blew and the puck dropped for what could be the Astana Barys’ final home game of the season. Every seat was filled and every fan had a noisemaking fan-shaped piece of plastic provided by the team. The Astana Barys were down three games to one in the best-of-seven series against Salavat Yulaev (Ufa). They had to win this game to stay alive in[…]

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Tajikistan Mountains

Destination Tajikistan

With fewer than 200,000 visitors in 2012, Tajikistan is not on the average traveler’s list of destinations.  The short time I spent in Central Asia’s poorest country, however, was filled with countless opportunities for unexpected adventures, awe inspiring landscapes, and unforgettable experiences. Tajikistan has two primary draws for tourists: history, and mountains.  Because the country is situated on the Great Silk Road, Tajikistan has numerous archeological sites and ruins. Nevertheless, With 90% of its143,000 square[…]

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Marguzor Lakes, Tajkikistan

Tajikistan’s Seven Marguzor Lakes

If there is one thing I learned about traveling in Tajikistan, it is to always add two hours to the estimated travel time. The road to Panjakent follows the Zaravshan River through a narrow gorge dotted with tiny villages colored copper and gold by the changing leaves of the apricot groves and crisscrossing the river on old one-lane cable suspension bridges. After nearly five hours bouncing along occasionally paved road and detouring through a village[…]

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Iskaderkul Tajikistan

Tajikistan’s Lake Iskanderkul

(Originally Published on 11 October, 2013) We began our trip from Dushanbe to Lake Iskanderkul late in the afternoon under a grey, ominous sky. By the time we reached the third and final toll-booth before Anzob Pass, it was spitting rain.  The toll booth attendant told our guide and driver, Miskola, that it was snowing on the pass and that there was a traffic jam because of ice. As made our way up the road,[…]

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Big Almaty Lake

A Night at Tien Shan Astronomical Observatory

A Night at Tien Shan Astronomical Observatory The collection of wood and cement buildings that make up the Tien Shan Astronomical Observatory sit perched on a small grassy plateau above Big Almaty Lake, a mere 30km from Almaty, Kazakhstan.  There are several observatories in and around Almaty, but as far as I know, this is the only one with guest accommodations. My friends and I arrived at the observatory Saturday around 2 pm with no[…]

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Five popular hikes from Almaty (and links to some online hiking resources)

Five popular hikes from Almaty Almaty’s location, situated at the foot of the Tien Shan mountains makes it perfect for day hikes into the mountains. There are several summits within a one-day hike of the city but also many interesting and beautiful gorges and river valleys to explore.  Here are a few of the more popular day hikes from Almaty and some resources to assist you in planning your outings. 1.  Aksai Valley and Monastery[…]

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