We caught the overnight train from Shymkent and were a bit stunned to see a granny and baby in our very small compartment. I had booked online and had no idea what we were paying for! But it was fine, she kept the little baby under her wing and laying down or being fed for a lot of the sixteen hour journey, poor baby! We even got a lullaby! Next obstacle was the language barrier…the guard asked for our registration papers, and when we didn’t respond went off to find an interpreter so that was fine too!
Astana is amazing. The city is only fairly new as the capital, and the building program has been massive. The buildings look stunning against the blue sky. We have travelled on the hop on hop off bus for almost two days, so have had a chance to admire the many architectural creations, as well as visit the oceanarium (most distant from any ocean), the museum and a shopping centre inside the world’s biggest “tent”. It’s been warm, but not oppressive. The Kazakhs probably adore the Summer as it reaches something like 20 below in Winter! We still plan to do a river cruise and visit Mega Silk Way…a huge shopping centre designed with the philosophy of the Silk Road in mind.
Everyone is so polite and helpful. We are seniors/ retirees and so people give up their seats on the crowded buses for the grey haired oldies, and we get discounts! There are some benefits to growing older!