For quite a long time, my Kazakhstani friends from Almaty were nagging me to visit Almaty by saying “it’s gorgeous city, it’s the New York of Kazakhstan…”! I didn’t need to have wild imagination to believe their saying but just compassion. After so long roaming around the globe, I am quite familiar with this kind of exasperation which is correlated with the longing for the homeland and as consequently the beautification of it.
Almaty was the previous capital of Kazakhstan, south east of the country close to the borders with Kyrgyzstan and it has totally different scenery, climate and population from Astana. It’s surrounded by mountains and forests, it has a mild climate comparing to Astana and an established multicultural population. The latter, I’m suspecting, gives the right to my Almatian friends to be a bit superficial in their description.
The distance between Astana and Almaty is around 900 Km and by airplane one and half hours.
Looking out my hotel’s window, I was quite happy to see something else other than steppes.
An elegant girl is waiting for taxi.
On the way to the airport we passed by this mini replica of the Eiffel’s tower and I’m still wondering why my friends didn’t mention Paris and were insisting on calling Almaty “New York” !!??