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Almaty

KAZAKHSTAN | Thursday, 5 March 2015 | Views [848]

Ascension Cathedral, Almaty

Ascension Cathedral, Almaty

THE DECISION TO FLY TO ALMATY WAS AN EASY ONE — twenty-two hours by train versus 90 minutes in the air.  As much as we like train travel, a full day across the flat, snowy barrens of Kazakhstan wasn’t tempting in the least.  

Almaty, originally Alma Ata, “Father of Apples,” was the capital of Kazakhstan from 1927 until 1998.  It was moved out of the earthquake prone southern area to Astana to be more central and nearer Moscow.  Almaty is still considered the cultural and social capital of the country but we are having trouble getting a handle on it.  It has many modern conveniences but still exudes a communist-era feel.  Even the Ascension Cathedral is modeled after St. Basil's in Moscow.

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    Panfilov Park WWII Memorial

Vladimir met us at the airport and drove us to the Guesthouse on Sadovaya, a perfectly wonderful place, if a bit out of the way.  Our “suite” isn’t lushly furnished but it is spacious with a fridge and both CNN and BBC.  The bathroom has one of the best showers we’ve had in a while, the water is hot and the temperature of the room is in the Goldilocks zone — just right.

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   Our best buddy, Vladimir

Vladimir speaks little English and his son Alexander isn’t much better.  My Russian is limited to “Hello,” “Good-bye” and “Thank you” but somehow we have been able to communicate.  Vladimir is more than willing to drive us to the supermarket and has offered to take us towards the national park tomorrow for only gas money.  Can you imagine the folks at the Holdiayinn being so accommodating?

 

 

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