A French, a British, a Turk, and an Italian shared their views and experience while travelling across Kazakhstan; why they love Burabay Lake, the city of Taraz, and Almaty and which stories happened to them in new places.
Sebastian Vinke, 46 years old, hometown – Lille, France, Pastry Chef
I arrived in Kazakhstan in December 1998. I was invited to work as a Pastry Chef in new confectionery. Kazakhstan is an exotic country and Almaty attracts me with mountains and its atmosphere. Almaty is not such a big city but a green one. Here are many parks and the city is always clean. At the same time interesting night life also exists here. At weekends the city becomes active and young.
Mainly, I travelled in Almaty mountains. I visited Charyn Canyon and Altyn-Emel National Park. I am fond of regular cycling tours. I really liked this and it was surprising, because I have been living here for 10 years but discover these places only now.
In Kazakhstan I visited Almaty, Taraz, Burabay and Balkhash Lakes. Most of all I liked Taraz. I travelled there in autumn. The weather was warm and it was so delighting to watch how trees were changing their leaves and flowers. Also I like Taraz for slow rhythm of life in comparison with Astana. People are more relaxed and less stressed. There is also much to do in Taraz and a lot of places for entertaining like theatres, restaurants and cafes. We went to the cinema, visited a museum and new cultural centre, and, of course, the most popular historical places in the city. As far as I know, Taraz occupies an important place in the history for many reasons as well as in its status as the city.
Selim Olmez, 37 years old, hometown – Ankara, Turkey, Director of Marketing Department in a hotel
I arrived in Kazakhstan in the middle of September in 2016. I work in the hotel industry. I had never been to Kazakhstan before but after my relocation I have travelled to almost every part of the country. Solely, I visited Almaty 10-15 times in a row. Also I have been to Aktobe, Atyrau, Burabay Lake, Karaganda, and Shymkent. I liked all these cities although, usually, I don’t have much time for travelling from one point to another. Therefore, it is important for me to reach a destination in the shortest period of time. That’s why I like trips to Karaganda and Burabay as they are located not far from Astana. Burabay reminds me about my motherland Turkey. I often travel using my own car as I like driving across Kazakhstan, however, in order to reach Karaganda I took a train twice. I would like to visit those places again so as to see more beautiful sites.
Gracia Anelly, hometown – Bari, Italy, Teacher of Italian language
For the first time I arrived in Kazakhstan so as to work in a pavilion during EXPO 2017. At that time, I was a student and I had to come back to Italy. But I liked Kazakhstan that’s why I arrived here this year in the capacity of Italian language teacher. While I was living in Astana I visited Burabay. And while I was living in Almaty I hiked in the mountains several times. I also have been to Shymbulak Ski Resort near Almaty, Kokjailau natural boundary, the Big Almaty Lake. My latest trip was to Charyn Canyon, Kolsay and Kaindy Lakes. About all these places I learnt from my friends. Else, I saw advertisement by tourist agents. We accepted one of offers and travelled to Kolsay Lakes and Charyn Canyon by bus and we hiked to Kokjailau. That was so exciting.
I liked Kolsay and Kaindy Lakes the most because there was much entertainment. We were boating. And I was riding a horse for the first time, that was delightful. Before that I didn’t pay attention to these animals but now I understand how cool they are.
I am not a sporty human so I have managed to reach only the first lake. I noticed nowhere there were cafes, restaurants and other facilities. I am glad this area hasn’t been used for building – this means people are taking care of the nature. This is cool, and the nature is so beautiful although very much differs from Italian nature. Kazakhstan is so vast and its nature remains untouched by humans.
When we were at the lakes, we stayed in guest houses where we tried delicious national food. There I tried the tastiest milk in my life. Usually I don’t drink milk but at that time I wanted to try true fresh milk and never regretted it.
I should definitely return here as soon as I will have such opportunity. Almaty inspires me for interesting camping in the mountains and outdoor entertainment.
Joe Scott, 30 years old, hometown – Manchester, England, Teacher of Music
I have been living in Astana for 7 years. I like living here, this is one of my favourite cities. My first impression: sunny with beautiful buildings the city is built symmetrically, that’s what I liked. Here you will find everything you need: transport, tidy parks where people are exercising on the grass.
My wife is from Taraz, that’s why we have got relatives there. We travelled to Taraz by train from new railway station Nurly Jol. The railway station looks impressive. It is fantastical for starting your journey here to any destination in Kazakhstan. I enjoyed my trip by train – it is wonderful to travel by train and chat with your neighbours. It is a pleasure to meet different people who share their stories with you while waiting for arrival to their destination station.
When my parents arrived from England they also started travelling across Kazakhstan from that railway station. They were surprised not only by the building itself but also by its personnel who were very friendly, welcoming and talked to my parents in English about their trip around the country.
In Taraz we attended a wedding of my wife’s cousin. That wedding was arranged by the groom’s family and we attended the wedding as honourable guests. It is needless to say that bride’s relatives hadn’t met groom’s relatives before the event that’s why we didn’t know whom we would meet there. Wedding took place in a huge restaurant complex. As we had entered the building people met us with chocolate and baursaks and greeted us with hugs and kisses. We were pleased to be in the centre of the action. A bit later we discovered that was another wedding, not ours. It turned out there were several ballrooms in the restaurant and we entered the wrong one. Unfortunately, we had already passed all sweet things to those people, so we just had to apologize and leave them for correct ballroom with our wedding.
In Taraz I had an opportunity to visit a school and talk to pupils. They asked me how it felt like studying in Great Britain and looked very interested. I was pleased to share my experience with them. That was the first time when I was in a Kazakh school and I was surprised with a discipline that children observed and how high the standards of English teaching are.
I will definitely come back to Taraz again someday.