Bilderverkauf aller 50 km / Pictures on Sale every 50 km

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thanks to all the 50 km Picture Buyers

Gilbert (Japan, Tokyo)

Bastie (Germany)

Herr Weste auch We genannt (Germany Leipzig)

Lawrence (Japan, Tokyo)

Aki San (Japan)

Andi (France, Marseille)


I hope you enjoyed the idea and the pictures.



Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Birth Day Vati

Best wishes and thank you that you teach me a lot which is very helpful for us at this journey. I hope we can do in future more of such journeys together as big family. We will enter Tajikistan at your birthday (:).


The summary about Kyrgyzstan I will write later. It seems in the Pamir we will not have that many possibilities to check and write e-mail. That means we may not be available the next 2-3 weeks.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

East Kazakhzstan was CREAT

Anna, a friend of mine, asked me if I have already to much impressions or if I am still open for new things. She knows me very well and it is true. Especially after the 3 weeks in Kazakhstan with a lot of nice people we met, a lot of different and interesting landscape; we had a huge amount of new impressions. Actually I would need a time of "normal life", means working and staying at one place, to be able to store new impressions on my hard disk. Anna and I often discussed this point and I always said for me a journey that is too long is not good. I just need a time to be able to experience new things and to completely understand what I have seen before. If I do not have this time then it can happen that I just go to the next place because it is on "the list". It is interesting, beautiful, ..... again, but the impression is not so intense. Having too many impressions let me feel desperate in how to write the Blog. How to find other words then beautiful, colourful ... I mean I am not an author and I wonder if the people are really interested to hear again that it was nice. I know that my grandmother, aunt and parents always waiting for our news and therefore I try to go on with writing.


Well, do not worry; we do not want to stop our journey. We are half way to Germany now. Last days we just had something like a normal life. Visiting offices and embassy of Tajikistan in Bischkek (Kyrgyzstan), I changed Oil & Oil filter, Air filter of the car. I checked the breaks and several small things at the car. Now we have already 15000 km and it was time for this check. Tajikistan will be more challenging for the car but for now everything seems to be ok (:).


Stop last time you heard from us that was in Kazakhstan and now we want to go already to Tajikistan? Yes I stopped writing somewhere at the end of our Altai tour. So now the short and the long version what was happening recently.


Short version:


After Altai we went to Almaty to get the Visa for Kyrgyzstan. From there we went to the South-East of Kazakhstan, visiting the small version of the Grand Canyon in Kazakhstan and entering Kyrgyzstan. Driving through mountain valleys filled with Jurts, Nomads and there herds. Visiting the second largest mountain lake in world, Issyk-Köl and getting Tajikistan Visa in Bischkek.


Long Version, will not be finished completely (:), only until entering Kyrgyzstan:


28th of August: We were starting in the morning from Lake Zaijsan. First 100 km we just follow the road through the steppe seeing a lot of huge wild eagles sitting on the lamppost of the electricity line. These eagles are still used for hunting. The training of them takes years and the person who is doing the training is a much respected person under the Kazakh mans. The landscape changes into a moon like hilly area, with erosions due to heavy rainfalls on the dry land. In the afternoon we are making our camp on a wide mountain plateau. Here the steppe is encircled by the mountains which shining red in the sunset. We only can hear our own breath, the wind, and nothing else.  It let you feel to be very fare away from everything and you are able just to think about nothing, just feeling the wind and that is all.


N 47.81922°, E 81.41317 °



29th-30th of August:


After almost 400 km alone on the street through steppe and mountains, we have asphalt and our first police check point in Kazakhstan. We go to a nice market getting the all the food. It is a heaven for Kotomi as we can get all kind of vegetables, Tomatoes, paprika, chilly, nicely arranged colorful spices, eggs from "Freeland chickens". Most of it is grown in the own garden, which makes a quality of food which you can not find so often in Germany.  We go on in the direction of 4 5 lakes which should be just our stop for the evening to go next to Almaty. But then I was reading in the guide book that one of the lakes is very good for the skin for all kind of chronically skin diseases. Since Kotomi has always a little problem we decide to go there and see if there is some truth with this promising description. Again it is in the border zone to China and the book says you need a border zone permission to go there. But at the police checkpoint where you have to decide if you go to the lake Alakol or Almaty I asked for the way to Alakol and the did not stop me to go there. We are driving along the lake for 50 km, on the right side mountains which look from far away almost like huge sand dune, but being closer they are covered with steppe grass. The top of the mountains stuck in pieces of dark clouds, the bottom shines in a strong yellow due to the deep standing sun. This contrast produces a mystic atmosphere, while driving through a dozen of sheep herds followed by the cowboy on the horse.


Nevertheless, it is getting already dark and we have to find a way to the lake. Thanks GPS and my ability to see quite good in the dark we find a place at the black private sand beach of the lake Alakol. Next morning I go for swimming as always when we are at a lake or river. Swimming there feels like bathing in softener. The book says the water has a very high Ph value and it is quite warm. We decide to stay one more day. Not only because of the water, also because of the wind and the chance to Kite surf, and to watch plenty of different birds. Again a lot of them I never saw before and my unfortunately limited knowledge about birds does not allow me to tell you what we saw (:). The wind was not that much so I decided to cook a Plov (Central Asia Fried or in spices steamed rice with vegetables and normally meet). I want to cook on the fire but there is no wood at all; just a sand beach behind the high lake grass (Schilf in German, how to say in English?, do not have a dictionary here, stolen by the fu... Mafia (:(( ). But there is a lot of very dry cow shit. I saw the people everywhere to heat with that or collect it on huge hills for the winter. Even in Kanats Banja in the town we used shit to heat. Ok to make it short I just cooked on shit and it was really working well. Not stinky nothing, just like a normal fire, basically it is almost like a pellet of dried grass.


N 46.00484°, E 81.43934 °


31th of August:


We are taking a small street through the mountains to come to the main street that goes to Almaty. Along there are thousand of wild apple trees. Apples, apples, ...... red, green,  small, sour, sweet, and mostly quite small. The sour are really nice for me. We are collecting a lot since Kotomi wants to make apple jam. She never saw such full apple trees before, and not the small ones. We also find and collect black hagebute (in english I do not know) to make a tea. Later Kotomi reads in her guide book and tells me that Almaty in Kazakh language means apple field. On the main road we go on for some kilometers and just sleep at some river unfortunately close to some industrial town. But it is already dark and we a re not in the mood to go on. 


N 44.94382°, E 78.43542 °


Crazy Apple field


1st of September:


Along the main street to Almaty we feel like swimming through a sea of apples. Thousands of people selling apples , apples, green , red,  ... 10 liter pots, 50 kg bags,....,some display them like a picture. I wonder who can eat all these apples. In Almaty we find the Kyrgyzstan embassy but it is to late for this day. In this city I feel again the crazy driving style like in Russian cities. In Pavlodar, in the north, I feel the people drive relaxed and that was really nice after Russia. But here in this boom town, skyscrapers, huge metal class constructed buildings, huge new buildings of oil companies and banks, the amount of luxury cars is increasing. That means the number of incredible stupid and crazy drivers is increasing too. Especially the ones with the big cars like Landcruisers, which they do not need in that modern city, are worst. I feel that rich in Almaty means really stupid and arrogant driving. Anyway we are sleeping in the mountains close to Almaty. This was not a good choice since here the clouds are compressed and it is often raining. On the way there you can see luxury huge houses of the "Rich". One big area looks like a huge prison, but inside a park of family houses, close by close. One of these areas is called luxury.


N 43.17365°, E 77.01447 °


2nd of September:


Shock!!! 140 USD for the Visa of Kyrgyzstan. We are happy that Kochan do not need a visa. Ok actually if I would wait 10 days in there I could get it for 65 USD. We decide for one day waiting and 140 USD; thinking it is like two times 70 USD; just to have a better feeling. The food of the Kazakh is influenced by different nations and also by Korea. We are happy to get some kimchi at the market where you really can find everything. We eat  again some Samsa (Самса, filled "Blätterteig", can somebody check what is Blätterteig in English). Since I have some questions about Visas we visit David from Stantours to whom I was writing a lot of e-mails. He is living in the area already 10 years and has a Travel company which is specialized on Central Asia and Visa support. We meat at a huge shopping center and I can easily recognize him. He is coming from east Berlin and Kotomi recognizes him as German as he comes with the bicycle (:). He gives us a lot of useful hints especially that a lot of things got easier in Tajikistan and that we can easily get the visa and the special permit for the Pamir Highway in Bischkek (Kyrgyzstan) without invitation. I just give him the money for the invitation for Uzbekistan since I just want to get the Visa in Dushanbe at one day without waiting. We can go there only at the end of our Tadjik visa and I do not want to risk that I have have to wait for 10 days.   


From the experience of the day before, we decide to sleep this night in the steppe, making a fire, and see the town in its smog and rain. The next morning blue sky, but the 15 km far away town Almaty already in smog. Just in front of the snow capped mountain, which you may not see in the city because of the smog.


N 43.39956°, E 76.79984 °



Maklen and Klara

3rd of September:


In the morning I prepare the documents which David need and send him by e-mail. At 3 pm I pick up my expensive Visa. We driving through Almay to look for some unsecured WLAN and we found in front of some apartment block. During I am speaking with my friend Didi from Germany on Skype inside the car the 73 year old Марклен (Marklen) comes to us. He asks where we come from and the usual. His wife Klara looks out of the window of their apartment. She waves with her hands that we should come in for a tea. We think lets have a tea, I have to finish my Chat with Didi and again we experience the hospitality of the Kazakh.


Maklen comes from Karl Marx and Lenin. The name Klara comes from Klara Zetkin. Both are pensioners, being him 13 years older. They traveled a lot and were also working several years in Yemen and Turkey as engineer. The whole family is living together; son and his wife, their two kids, and the mother of the sons wife. 3 generations in one house. The apartment looks futuristic, totally different from what we saw in Kazakhstan before. The son who is lawyer made the design, it looks like in a ship, in the wall are big round "windows", which are a fake and used as a shelf. In the kitchen a flat screen is installed to watch TV during cooking.


The oldest generation is very friendly, but the wife of the son is one of this new type. She even did not take of her sunglasses, did not greet, and seemed to be queen of the world. Maybe she is also one of this crazy drives with her nose in the sky.


Marklen and Klara are a really cute couple. First we get a tea served with honey from the Altai, which the guide book say is the best of the world. It is really rich in taste and remembering these colorful meadows with its different kind of flowers it has to be good. We get to taste a delicates the fat of the horse back, it is like a speck and really delicious. She will not let us go before we had a "real meal"; she make for us filled paprika. Meanwhile I have to smoke Cigarillos with Marklen and he telling me his stories from Yemen and Turkey, how both went to the University in Moscow and that they really like to travel. The food is ready and all the family except the new generation which does not feel like joining is gathering at the big table. Everything is quite formal. There is wine, but since I need to drive Kotomi has to drink (:). Klara recognizes a hole in the jacket of Marklen and is little bit angry but he looks like a small boy at her and say:"I am sure it was not there yesterday. I wonder where it happen". Really funny situation, she waves with her hands saying "нуладно" (something like well, it is ooooookkkk....)


Around 9 pm we leave, we are so full. We find a place in the mountains and we both have difficulties to find a sleep as our stomach feels like 10 kg heavier.



N 43.26617°, E 77.01684 °



4th of September:


 After checking internet, going to the market to get some food it is already to late again. We just some manage some 100 km out of the city to the East.



N 43.57349°, E 78.02826 °



Scharyn Canyon & Talgat


5th of September:


On the way to the border we want to visit the Scharyn Canyon. The Kazakh say it is like the Grand Canyon. It is a national park and like always that guards try to make money with foreign tourist. First they want to have 2000 Tenge. I am explaining that the guide book says something about 100 per person and 300 for the car. After long and funny discussion we pay 1000 which is still too much and go in. Although the Grand Canyon is definitely larger, the Scharyn Canyon is impressive for me. On the other side of the canyon you can see the flat steppe. In the canyon there is a wild stream and green trees. The way down there is quite steep and I am afraid that we can not go up here again with our heavy loaded car. We decide to walk down which was a good choice since the views changing often and around every corner we recognize another "Animal" created by nature in the stone and sand of the canyon.


We go back to the main road and find a nice place in the same canyon but not so steep. There we met a French couple which traveled for one year from France to Pakistan; India ... Kotomi is amazed about their camping car. It is warm inside in contrast to our tent where it is getting cold recently. It seems the winter is approaching earlier than other years. I hope that there will be a coming back of the summer (:).



N 43.27542°, E 78.97525 °



6th of September:


During breakfast outside in the warm sun at the bottom of the canyon a long haired guy with a bicycle is approaching. He comes from Sweden and is traveling with the bicycle since 7 years. Two month the year he goes back to Sweden to sell x-mas trees and then he travel again 10 month. He has its own farm with 18000 trees, a polish guy takes care of it and he just come back to sell it in the X-mas time. He seems to enjoy his travel, but he also say that he does not have a place anymore where he feel like home.


We go on and want to cross the border this day. Along the mountain road a Kazakh is standing with his car and his tire is broken. I stop and ask him if he need some help. Unfortunately I do not have the tools we need to repair his tire. I drive him (Talgat) with his tire to the village. After some while the guy in the shop starts to repair the tire but obviously he is a little drunken. Finally we repair it together without the guy just using his tools. Talgat tells me that nobody stopped the last two hours, when I tell him that the people in Kazakhstan are so friendly. He just says they are not. I say it like everywhere you have both the good and the others. Talgat is alpinist and climbing/guiding at the Khan Tengri a 7000 plus ... high mountain close to Narynkol. One month he is working at the mountain and the other time of the year he is private taxi driver between Almaty and Narynkol. He want to give us money but we do not want, we go on in the same direction on a mountain pass they sell Кумыз and курт and he stops to buy us both. Kumis you know already, but Kurt is something like a cheese made from horse yoghurt. He also gives me his phone number and just in case we will come in his village then he will make a sheep for us.


We are getting higher, driving through a wide steppe and clean air, blue sky with some clouds. The intense green of the meadow suudenly stops at the line where the snow starts. In this landscape the border check point between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan is located in the windy steppe. In Kazakhstan no problem with the border police, but they really checked if we have the second stamp from the registration!!!


Border: N 42.79492°, E 79.17432 °


Kyrgyzstan border control: As I expected we have a discussion about Kotomi. They say we need a Visa for her too, I explain that every guide book says Japanese do not need, I tell him we even aksed the Japanese consul in Almaty and he said it is not necessary. After 5 minutes he gave up and we are in. The Custom officer is very friendly but sleepy. He helps us to fill out everything. Basically he wanted to chat. In the end everybody wants to have a present, a Kimono, or Ikebana, or anything. They guy is checking the car looking for something he would like. I offer him an l wine but he is hungry. He gets some horse speck from me and everybody is happy. It is getting cold now we are in the mountains around 2000 m high. The green changes suddenly to white, green grass of the meadow until the LINE where the fresh snow starts. They tell us that two days ago it was snowing here quite a lot. Along the way Jurts, Cowboys and their herds. Before it is getting dark we find a place 200 meter below the snow line and below the camp of some cowboys.


N 42.74661°, E 78.95669 °