Almaty, Kazachstan to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

We are ready to ride south west to Bishkek  The beginning of stage two of our ride  From Vladivostok to London
We had a wee celebration with Robyn and Mark Tootill KapaiKiwis who are riding from the UK to NZ. They have ridden through the Stans and are heading for China.
We ride south from the hotel Past luxury shops, apartments, the University and  And Bavarian motors and car showrooms
Into the countryside First through market gardens And then through wheat and hay harvesting
A couple of stops for drinks. The Tootills catch up with us at our second stop. It’s a treat to meet someone we know.
We also meet some lovely young women   On a girls’ weekend away To celebrate Zara’s birthday
The road to Bishkek takes a left turn And so do we Through rolling hills and rocky outcrops
To the border crossing Where I break our cardinal rule To stay by my man at border crossings
I went off to the passengers ‘lounge’ A corrugated iron roof offering shade And a 1.5 hour wait at passport control.
Meanwhile Dick and Mark were thr…


July in Kazakhstan Warm welcomes everywhere From our first night at Semey
To the cacophony of car horns And shouted greetings As  we rode into Nur Sultan
Meeting Tsutomu again Was a joy, a reminder of  connections along the road.
It is hot here in July Sunny,too. We find shelter in bus stops or under the rare trees.
We pass by elaborate cemeteries With ornate mausoleums  above ground alongside the road.

Kazachstan is home to the Russian Space programme Russia leases the Baikonur cosmodrome from Kazachstan Which is in the west near the Aral Sea.
NASA astronauts are launched into space to the International Space Station Onboard Soyuz space craft from Kazachstan They land out on the vast steppes.
Pavlodar is our first stop We take an administration day here Dick get to have a turn as nurse.
Then to Nur Sultan The capital since 1997 Known as Astana until March this year. 
Ultramodern glass clad buildings Designed by architects including  Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid
Of to Karaganda which was 70% ethnic German From WW 1…

Kosh-Agach to Kamlak to Barnaul 700km 15 hours.

Our arrival at Kosh-Agach Was accompanied with GPS confusion. I asked someone,”What is the name of this town?”  Kosh-Agach they said.
We pulled up outside the Octpobok hotel Mine host was already opening the garage door for us How could we resist?
On the road in the morning  Fueled with a breakfast of fried egg and porridge we were Ready for the amazing scenery of the Altai valley on a clear day.
Mountains reminiscent of the Remarkables  In Queenstown.  Wonderful roads to ride.
Birch forests, some conifers Rivers with rapids,  Campsites, cabins, in this popular holiday region.
To Kamlak and the Fields of Altai Hotel. Warm welcome, delicious organic food And peonies to bless my soul.
On to Barnaul  Lots of traffic in both directions It is the beginning of the summer holidays.
We leave the valley To the wide open steppe with rapeseed canola in flower And huge fields of wheat and barley. 
And ride into into Barnaul Capital of Altai Krai And our home for the next few days.
While we recalibrate after riding alone In …