After almost one month on the road and after more than 5.500 km’s it was time for our well deserved rest in Astana. Did you know that Astana means ‘capital’ in the Kazakh language? Some people say : “you love it or you hate it”. Well, I have no idea why you could ever hate Astana, it is gorgeous! It is a relatively new city, because on the 6th of July it’s Astana’s 15th anniversary.
On our two day resting period we did over 30 km’s on foot through the city. Yesterday we did most of it by night and today we had the company of Bota and her brother who showed us around.
The city itself is a weird mixture of building styles, changing from ultra-modern, over old Soviet style to just old pieces of crap (pardon my French!). You come from a vastness of nothing to a European style city and it is a bit strange to see this big a difference in one country, but if the rest of the country is headed the way Astana is going, then I am sure that there will be a boom in tourism in the next 10 years or so.
You can see that everything is built with the future in mind and that they are trying to accommodate a lot of people on a small surface. They are also trying to have an own building style and they do not just want to be like Russia or Europe, but it seems to be a nice mixture of both of them.
There are some gorgeous promenades, beautifully kept parks, even a beach by the side of the river and there is enough room for all the pedestrians and the cars to live in harmony.
We wanted to visit a museum, but it was closed so we walked even more around to look around and sweat in the sun. Bota and her brother were nice enough to show us around a bit and accompany us through the city. She is staying at the edge of the city with her family and came all the way to the centre for us.
We are now preparing for the next part of our trip towards Mongolia and will leave tomorrow to do a whole day of off road driving as we will be doing most of the rest of our trip.