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Old 04-11-2013, 11:37 AM   #78
eustachius OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Austria
Oddometer: 95
We spent two nights in Bishkek, had a couple of beers there and some decent food and my first icecream on this trip.
Leaving Kyrgyzstan was absolutely troublefree. There were lots of cars and trucks waiting, but people waved us on and we were in front. Nobody seemed to be upset. Here again, customs officials were efficient.
At the Kazakh border same impression, but they wanted to search our luggage. They were simply curious to see our gear.
We were on excellent roads all the way to Almaty and on to the lake north of the town. We wanted to go along the lake north of Almaty and into the National Park, but were not allowed to enter without special permission. So we camped at the lake.

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First stop in Kazakhstan. Adrian insisted on paying

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Swiss bikers in underwear, it was getting hot again. We couldn't get to the water, too bad.

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On the second day, going north to Taldyqorghan and on to Lepsi.

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It was a hot and bumpy ride. We stopped in Lepsi to buy food and drinks for another camp and who do we meet? Jan from Prag on his F800 GS, who had come much the same way I had. But he had also been across the Afghan border. So we were four to camp at the river.

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If you look carefully, you can see the Swiss bikers' 'espresso machine'. Some bikers' needs are bigger than others'.

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It was getting hotter every day.

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And sandy.

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We took a break with those railroad workers. Nobody wanted to move. It was tough going and distances in KZ are huge.

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Barren land for many miles. It's gravel, sand, dried mud, shrubs, but you feel so much safer when you are not alone.

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After a long day riding in the sun and dust, camp at a brook. The water was perfect for a bath.

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We spent one night in Semey (Semipalatinsk) and on Friday 24th we entered Russia at the border post south of Rubtsovsk.
We were very positively surprised by Kazakh people. The roads are perfect in the south but badly deteriorated in the north. It's incredible that even the main roads are in such a bad state. It's potholes, broken asphalt, gravel, burst truck tires. At times we couldn't go much faster than 30 -50 kms/h for long stretches of straight road.

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First stop in Russia, right after the border.
Leaving Kazakhstan was easy. We bought insurance for Russia for 15 days. This was long enough for the transit to Barnaul and on to Mongolia.
The Russians were very helpful with filling in the immigration forms and we didn't have the impression that they made us wait longer than necessary. While we were waiting, we were chatting or trying to chat with army people and customs officials. Rather relaxed.
And then we had our first drink in Russia. Nastarowje, or something like that. Please feel free to correct me. My Russian was so minimal and now it's almost completely gone. I think this is the single, most useful investment for a trip in those countries - study some Russian. It serves in all countries, from Turkmenistan on till Ukraine. Of course you can do it without, like me, but it makes a big difference, we all know that.
I have to add something here. I was so glad I had my Garmin and OSM.

eustachius screwed with this post 04-11-2013 at 11:57 AM
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