Going through the steppe



Next day we went to see our first city in Kazakhstan. Wide boulevards, high buildings, everything perfectly clean and tidy. Atyrau serves as a base for Kazakhstani oil wells near the Caspian Sea and this explains the wealth seen all around. It is completely different from a typical provincial city of this central Asian country. Another unique feature is its location on the Ural river.  This makes it one of a very few cities, where you can travel between continents just by crossing a bridge. We therefore said our final goodbye to Europe in the afternoon and started our almost 1000km long journey through the steppe to Aktau, lying on the coast of the Caspian Sea.

The road was in a really good condition due to the need of transporting oil by heavy trucks from the oil wells all around. This however ended in a small city of Bejneu. We ordered borshch and bear in a local restaurant and this was the last moment we saw the main railroad heading further into the Uzbekistani desert, then Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. It is hard to describe the journey through the western Kazakhstani steppe. Never-ending grassland, where 100km is nothing and the only difference is made by a camel or horse herd here and there. Unlike previously, here the road is in a disastrous condition and all the vehicles try to follow the same path. This creates a massive cloud of dust. During our first night we discovered a pool of rain water (in a desert like this, this can be compared to winning a lottery) hidden in a canyon. In the morning we were joined by a local shepherd, who also wanted to use this water for himself and his sheep and goat herd. We had a little Czech-Russian conversation, typical questions such as Where are you from?, Where are you going?, How long have you been traveling?, etc. In the afternoon we continued, but got slightly lost, which turned out to be quite advantageous. We found a dried out lake, which however was connected to a water drill. This is where the wild horses come to drink. We set our tent, put the chairs out of our car and opened a can of beer. In the evening before falling asleep we were quite scared from the thudding of hooves of the numerous wild horses around, but Alin tried to calm us down by saying that a horse never steps on a human. The shepherd woke us up in the morning again. This time he was driving a moped and came with a herd of camels. Conversing with him turned out to be quite difficult because he had Turkmenistan origins and his Russian was even worse than ours.

The main goal of the day was to see the city of Šakpak-Ata. Here you can find a lot of underground mosques from the Middle Ages, which is typical feature of cities in this area. We even saw a group of Russian tourists with a tour guide.

In the evening we decided to have a little swim in the sea. A nice sandy road however quickly transformed into a deep sand and soon our wheels were blocked. We tried to use wooden boards to get the wheelsfree. Furthermore, the sand was full of snakes and one of them buried itself right next to the wheel. Alin just apologized to it saying “Sorry snake, but we have no idea how poisonous you are”, and then completely crushed it with his shovel. Trying to free our car seemed relatively well going, so we took a break from this hard work, left the rest for the morning and went to take a little swim in the sunset.

Příspěvek byl publikován v rubrice Kazakhstan. Můžete si uložit jeho odkaz mezi své oblíbené záložky.

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