night in a row to save money. I went to a hotel in a pretty central location, but it was a dump. You sure don't get much for your money here. There was a pool out back with trees growing in it and it looked like it had no water in it for 10 years or so. I did the 8 KM walk around the city my first day. It covered everything from the mosque, which is the biggest mosque in Kazakhstan. Then to the market, which is just another market. I went to a few parks that are typical soviet parks with old Soviet Union symbols and war statues. The landscaping in the city is next to nothing except in the parks and in the parks it is a bit untouched except for the flowers. My favorite park was the Zenkov Cathedral. It is an Old Russian Orthodox Cathedral made completely out of wood
. Even the nails were made out of wood! It was not a tall cathedral but pretty impressive and situated in Paniflov Park. A lot of the Central Asia countries have a Paniflov Park. This must mean like Plaza de Llamas in South America. The lower part of town just featured some of the squares, monuments, town halls, government offices, opera house and universities. There was one monument that replaced Lenin when the Soviet Union collapsed. I got my head shaved on Pushkin Street near the market for roughly $3. I think it is easier to go with this style for a few months and not carry around shampoo in my bags. I have had shampoo twice since I left home and both bottles exploded all over my clothes. I did go out to party at night time and I can say it was alright. There was a high girl to guy ratio, but of course I am taken, so I did chat or dance to anyone.
My second day in Almaty, I was met by a couchsurfer with a name that I can not pronounce. Saying Kyle to a person from Kazakhstan may not be hard, but for me to say there name it is completely foreign. This guy lived in America for three years and saved up a lot of money and is now basically retired as a 25 year old Kazakh with a nice car. He took me into the mountains, which actually have some incredible scenery. There is very little snow now, but in the winter these mountains are hard to get to. The bottom of the hiking started in Medeu at 1700M and there is a cable car from there that takes 30 minutes to get to Chimbaluk. We chose not to take the cable car and just hike half way there. We saw some pretty good scenery with the moutains, a nice river and of course the small mountain village of Chimbaluk. There is a sports complex in Medeu that is the main focus here along with the ski resorts. The complex hosts winter sports every year I think.
Lufthansa Airways was on strike the day I landed in Germany. This was some pretty bad luck. My flight was delayed 2 hours and the total time of my trip was extended to 49 hours. I arrived Almaty about 3 AM and just slept in the airport for the 2