Category Archives: Kazakhstan

There and away – Driving through the ‘Stans.

As I sat scribbling this post on my notepad, on the plane back home, it occurred to me that the past two car journeys had been the first ones, in Central Asia, where we hadn’t been serenaded non-stop by some … Continue reading

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The 5.29 train to Aktobe.

This post dates from over a year ago. It wasn’t meant for publication on this blog; a book was going to be its destiny, a book on travels in Central Asia. Alas, this wasn’t to be; yet, I liked this … Continue reading

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Fireworks, mountains and sleeping elephants. Wrapping up 2017, in pictures.

The last trip of the year has just ended; the rucksack’s been duly unpacked and its contents unceremoniously thrown into the washing-up pile, hoping for some merciful hands to put them into the washing machine without the whites turning pink … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, China, Europe, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, London, Overlooked locations, Piemonte, Random memories, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, UK | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 2).

I’d seen Serik a long time before we met in the parking lot outside the Altair hotel; in fact, I first read about him on Al Jazeera. Dubbed “Aralsk’s only tour guide”, he’d accepted to be my guide for the … Continue reading

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Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 1).

The aurora was a promise of yet another scorcher of a day, as it’d been yesterday and tomorrow was bound to be, but right now it was fresh and cool as I sat on my pack on the first of … Continue reading

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“I’ve once been to Kyzyl-Orda, but never to New York”.

I recently attended a training course which, as corporate events normally do, started with an ice-breaker. Every attendee had to stand up, one by one, and declare to the roomful of colleagues something quirky, or unusual, about himself. When it … Continue reading

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Out of the steppe.

There are trips we’ve wanted to do for a lifetime, which work their way up to the top of your bucket list. Well, I’ve just crossed one from mine and if I had to distil it in four pictures whilst … Continue reading

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The world from above. Steppe, mountains and the Caspian sea.

Looking at out planet from above is a profound experience. Michael Collins, Apollo 11’s resident philosopher, famously said that looking at Earth from a great distance was the strongest memory of his epic voyage, going on to add that Earth was … Continue reading

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A tent, a poplar tree and the Dubai of the steppe.

An ever-helpful airshow runs on a loop on my seat’s in-flight entertainment system as we fly high above the steppe towards Astana. A tiny Air Astana airplane flies above a map of the world painted in greens, blues and tans, … Continue reading

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A snowfall that would’ve made Bruegel proud.

It was snowing when I arrived, and it hadn’t finished yet when I left. Everything between the flights from and to Kiev – with their cargo of harmonica-playing, duty-free-vodka-guzzling men – happened under a soft blanket of falling snow. Of … Continue reading

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