Monthly Archives: August 2014

Kyrgyzstan – crossing the border to Issyk Kul Lake

Just before the border crossing

Just before the border crossing

We crossed the Kazakh/Kyrgyz border on 8th August via the Kegen border crossing without a hitch.

The border guards writing their home-towns on our Troopy windows using tip-ex ;)

The border guards writing their home-towns on our Troopy windows using tip-ex 😉

Borders have a been a doddle so far, plus there are no visa requirements for Australian and British passport holders in Kyrgyzstan.
We had climbed to an altitude of 2000m by the time we left Kazakhstan and the cool breeze coming over the mountains was so welcome.
Immediately after crossing into Kyrgyzstan there were obvious changes in the scenery. Firstly and fore-mostly the dust and brown hills were replaced with a carpet of green grass, windflowers and

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Kazakhstan – the last chapter

Altyn-Emel National Park, the white mountains.

Altyn-Emel National Park, the white mountains.

We finished up at Altyn-Emel National Park and said our goodbyes to the Czech guys who we had been trailing for a few days.We made our way back to Almaty via Lake Balkhash, Kazakhstan’s biggest lake and stopped to camp for the night.

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Kazakhstan – Almaty and touring

Before hitting Almaty we drove via Turkestan to see the famous Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi

Before hitting Almaty we drove via Turkestan to see the famous Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi

A huge place, covered in mosaic tiles. This is the unfinished back

A huge place, covered in mosaic tiles. This is the unfinished back

So on to Almaty.

Almaty is a very interesting city: Tidy, leafy and super relaxed. Not to mention it is full of friendly people.
The poor Russian roads and some of the long stretches of roadworks had taken their toll on our cheap Chinese alloy roof cage. Probably the biggest mistake that we made building up the troopy was buying that. Looking back we don’t know what we were thinking, maybe it was the AUD $2000 price tag of an ARB one. Or the fact the steel Chinese one I had on my patrol was still going strong after 25,000km of punishing km on Aussie roads.

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Kazakhstan – entering the Steppe

A change to the flat scenery of the steppe - beautiful

A change to the flat scenery of the steppe – beautiful

So the day had come for leaving Russia and entering Kazakhstan. It was a Sunday, and our Russian Visa also ended that day – so no room for errors!
We arrived at an empty looking border and for a second thought that it was closed – dammit! But a few more cars pulled up and a person emerged from the first checkpoint asking for our passports and immigration slips. Once checked we got waived on, and to our surprise the next checkpoint said ‘Welcome to Kazakhstan’! So no exit search or list of questions – a complete contrast to what we had been told to expect. Continue reading

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Central Airforce Museum, Monino, Russia

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I have no idea what this is, doesn’t look like it would leave the ground though. Or land for that matter.

Ok just a quick post about the Central Air Force museum in Monino, just out side Moscow.
This was one of the things I was really looking forward to in Russia. During the Cold War different experimental design bureaus were fighting for government contracts to have their planes built. This resulted in all sorts of radical experimental and concept fighters, bombers and reconnaissance Aircraft. Some of which never came into production. The Cold War had both the soviets and the Americans pushing the boundaries of speed, range and stealth. This ingenuity and pioneering technology produced some truly amazing aircraft. The extent of madness that the Cold War created can be witnessed here with aircraft that are designed with one purpose in mind. To deliver a nuclear weapon deep into the opposing continent as stealth and quickly as possible. None of the planes actually had the range to return. It got to a point so crazy that they actually made an acronym M.A.D. Meaning mutually assured destruction. Quite fitting really. Continue reading

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