Where to start on a journey that’s taken us across some of Kazakhstan’s more remote and beautiful places over the past eight days and through the back door into Kyrgyzstan, where we sit now on the edge of one of the world’s largest alpine lakes. How about with the sound of two hundred hoofs thundering on the ground around us as a troop of at least fifty horses, their glossy coats gleaming in the afternoon sunshine, raced past us in a high mountain pasture?

Or maybe we should begin with thunder of another kind; thunder and lightening that chased us over bumpy dirt roads into Kyrgyzstan where we dashed for shelter under the eaves of a farmhouse. As the rain poured down from the heavens, over the edge of the roof and into our shoes, we found a local teenager standing next to us, eyeing us up with surprise and a smile. Apparently they don’t get many tourists in his tiny village.

Then there was the lady who insisted we come in for tea when we arrived in her shop to buy some food. “Chai, chai,” she said, beckoning us over with a wave. Out came two cups of tea accompanied by bread, sausage, cookies and candies on the small and rickety table in her crowded kitchen, which served doubly as her bedroom.

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  • Andrew & Friedel

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