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November 30, 2008

Almaty views

The view from my hotel room in Almaty wasn't particularly great as it looked east and not south. Still, even if it had looked in the right direction it wouldn't have given me the view I got by looking out of my window as there was another building and trees blocking the front!

Early morning view from my window in Almaty, the sun strikes the peaks just south of the city.

The mountains are about twenty minutes drive from the hotel and the drive is a precipitate one in terms of the climb. The city is at an altitude of about 900 meetres, but Medeo, the Ice Stadium in the mountains is at around 2,500 metres and there is a ski resort at Shymbulak above the Medeo "Dam" which is at 3,500 metres. You can watch the temperature fall as the car climbs into the mountains - it was 11*C in Almaty when we started and -3*C at Shymbulak. In distance terms, the two points are around 10 kilometres apart.

The peaks seen from below the Medeo "Dam" - which there to hold back snow, not water!

Spectacular scenery and really worth the effort to visit - but the road is definitely not for the inexperienced or the faint hearted. Kazakh drivers apart, you do need 4x4 power and a very steady driving style. There is a lot of ice on the road despite ploughing, and much of it is hairpin bends as you climb a long way in a short distance. As I said, not for the faint hearted.

Posted by The Gray Monk at November 30, 2008 08:53 PM

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