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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Almaty, Part 2

After a good night's sleep in a nice bed in a hotel room (as opposed to a moving train), we spent our second day in Almaty exploring mostly on foot.  We live on something that resembles a compound in Astana, so one of the things we were really looking forward to was being able to just walk around, go into cafes that interested us, and visit parks.  Almaty did not disappoint, and our hotel was quite centrally located for walking.  Here are some of the highlights we hit:

The former parliament building, from Almaty's days as Kazakhstan's capital:

Lots of beautiful trees:

Women's war memorial.  I believe the woman on the left was a sniper, and the woman on the right was a machine gunner during World War II:

Almaty's version of Bayterek Tower:

Zenkov's Cathedral, which was designed in 1904, and is one of few buildings to survive the 1911 earthquake in Almaty.  It is made entirely out of wood, even the nails:

A gathering of people and pigeons:

The Central Mosque, which I failed to photograph in its entirety.  I had forgotten to bring a scarf, but a woman selling souvenirs in a kiosk outside loaned me a (very sheer) one to wear inside.  Interestingly, a woman who looked like a local even went in without any head covering at all.

Gorky Park.  There were lots of statues, games, and rides here:

We also had Korean food for lunch that day (yum!).  In the late afternoon, we headed to a hotel where a tour office was located to finalize an activity for the next day; a tour to Big Almaty Lake and the Sunkar falcon farm.  Because this hotel was far from Gorky Park, where we were at the time, we decided to take a taxi.  I think this may have been the scariest taxi ride any of us had had in Kazakhstan up until that point.  To make matters worse, the driver was playing really odd music.  The lyrics were in English, but they weren't songs I remember ever hearing before (nor are they songs I ever want to hear again).  Has anyone else had the misfortune to hear a song that may be called "Shooby Dooby Love"?  Ugh.  I'm thankful to say that we emerged unscathed and lived to hear other, better songs.

Aside from that particular brush with death, it was a great day.  I loved having that day to just wander around, especially since the next day was more structured.


  1. Hannah, I just had a lovely visit with your parents and grandmother about a week ago. Your mom showed me your blog and graciously shared it with me. I have so enjoyed reading about your adventures. What an exciting time for you and Scott. I am a first cousin of your grandfather David Weston, but closer in age to your mom. I think my granddaughter Shea will enjoy some of your blog as well as my daughter Bliss. They both love to travel. Shea is 15 and loves adventures, she goes with her parents every year after Christmas to Mexico to build homes. Enjoy yourselves and Thanks in advance for letting us share in your adventures.

    Aunt Zee ( Zerilda Fornaciari Wornica) Eric always called me Aunt Zee and my kids called Susan and Sheila aunt also.

    1. Hi, Aunt Zee! Welcome to the blog! My mom told me that she had had a nice visit with you recently.

      I think when we last saw each other, I was still a kid. I hope our paths will cross again sometime soon!

  2. Dear Hannah and Scott, Almaty looks gorgeous. How fun to see Shrek and Donkey! Congrats on receiving your shipped goods. I hope you are both well. Miss you!