The Appeal of Almaty

I planned to head to Almaty at the absolute perfect time during my Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan trip and I unknowingly did so.  One of my friends who was teaching English there had been traveling around Ukraine and Central Europe and was not back until early January.  I knew I wanted to see him and meet some of his friends, so I planned accordingly.  Kostanay was relaxing, Astana was…well, Astana, and Karaganda was too short-lived to have anything exciting to report from the city.  I needed Almaty and I needed her to be grand.

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She was beyond grand.  I don’t know if it was a timing thing, but I just really fell for this city and I fell for it fast.  After over two weeks of travel within Kazakhstan, I was just ready to get to a city that I felt was uncomplicated and large enough keep me occupied for ten days if I had wished to stay there for that amount of time.

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I only ended up staying for eight days, but truthfully?  I could have stayed months.  The city was teeming with the energy I desired from this mammoth of a nation.  I ate everything from delicious Indian food to Uzbek breads at the Green Bazaar.  The city had a bit of a pollution problem, which often hindered me from seeing the majestic mountains lurking behind, but I didn’t care.  Besides, what cold metropolis that is nestled in the mountains doesn’t have a pollution problem these days?  The people were considerate, the beer was ethereal, and although it wasn’t the cheapest place I have ever traveled to, the costs were not as astronomical as I had been prepared for (I came home to Oslo +$2,000 on this trip and I didn’t even pay attention to what I was actually spending while there).

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I heard that snow was coming and I remember cringing and wondering what Almaty looked like in the snow.

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Yep, beautiful.

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I never made it up to the mountains (smog is excessively high this time of year because of the low temperatures) to overlook the city and I didn’t care.  I never skied, went ice skating, or took any day trips.  I just hung out around Almaty, walked around, and ate.  I feel no remorse for any of it.  I saw the same sites three or four different times and they somehow looked a little different each time.  Everyday I discovered something new around the city and that made me eager and energized to wake up every morning and see what else was out there.

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Almaty came at the right time of my trip to fall in love with her.

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But…

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I’m pretty sure I would have fallen in love regardless of when I got acquainted with her.

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Comments (15)

Wow, what an adorably majestic city! Is that even a thing? Well, it is now! Definitely looks like a city worth visiting.

haha that is definitely a thing and i think almaty fits that description to a T.
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What beautiful pictures. Thanks for letting me “share” your trip. Maybe someday…..

such a nice little city :) even looks good with the snow!

thanks taylor! almaty definitely is a special place :)

Wonderful! I would love to go to Kazakhstan one day! Any city in the snow makes it so much more enchanting.

it is really beautiful! and when the smog settles a bit and you can see the mountains…its just stunning!

Wow, Megan, what a cool place : ) Your enthusiasm for Almaty practically glowed through the words and photos!

thanks so much katherine! im glad it came across that way b/c its def how i felt/feel!

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