Wanderlust | Part 5

Wanderlust | Part 5

[For the back story on these photos, see: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4]

Our goal in Azerbaijan had been to get a seldom scheduled cargo vessel across the Caspian Sea to Kazakhstan. While sitting in Baku, burning through over a $100 USD a day, we eventually decided that the time and money we were wasting trying to get on a cargo vessel across the Caspian Sea wasn’t the best use of our limited resources. We pulled the trigger and hopped a plane from Baku to Aktau, on the western edge of Kazakhstan, the world’s ninth largest country.

We then spent a couple of days training across the stunningly barren Kazakhstan, before arriving in Almaty. We needed two things in Almaty - a visa for China and a visa for Mongolia. After wasting two days trying to get both and with only a 30-day visa for Kazakhstan, we contacted David at Stan Tours. His advice - our only hope was to fly to Kyrgyzstan, get a visa on arrival, and see a certain Chinese lady, called Miss Lu. Don’t even bother going to the Chinese embassy.

Before flying to Kyrgyzstan, we decided to go horse riding in the nearby mountains - mainly because I was trying to convince my wife that it was a good idea to buy some horses in Mongolia and ride across the steppe for three weeks.

Her response?

“Let’s go for a short horse ride first and see if we even like it”.

These photos show: Kazakhstan sign; famous MIG Fighter in Aktau; Aktau architecture; training through the desert of Kazakhstan; train conductor’s; in train magazines - no English editions though; Mosque on a 30+ degree day; just married - random wedding encounter on the road; stunning tile work; camel ride; exploring old ruins on one of the old Silk Road Routes; mum and bubba at our horse trek guides home; drying apricots; riding into the mountains; our camp; cooking up dinner; my horse - Mr Ed - having a roll; back in Almaty and an electrical storm; foyer of a bath house - the best remedy after riding a horse for a couple of days.

Next week’s post: Kyrgyzstan