Having boarded at 2000 the night before it was not then greatest nights sleep I have ever had but it was better than expected as I did have a bed, albeit the top bunk. I was woken in the morning around 0600 with a few people crashing around and I dozed for the next couple of hours finally getting out of my bed at 0900 when the man below me had got up, packed away his stuff and turned his bed back into two seats and a table.
Having not seen what the countryside was like outside the window up until now, due to it being dark, I was keen to find out. Raisin the blind I found that the country was predominantly flat(ish) grassland, similar to the North American Prairie. It was the same for miles in any direction other than the few villages we passed through in a blur. At points the scenery turned green and there was a sea off reeds and small trees then as quickly they would disappear and the view would revert back to brown grass to the horizon. As we neared Almaty and reached the outskirts not only did we start travelling through the industrial sector of thew city but the horizon also changed, into view came mountains, snow capped ones. A beautiful backdrop with Almaty nestled amongst the foothills.
The train stopped and deposited everyone on the outskirts, 7km from the centre. I hopped on a number 37 bus and rode it in. My hostel was about 15 minutes walk from there. It was safe to say that by the time I arrived I was desperately in need of a shower. The hostel wasn’t bad when I arrived, especially not for £2 a night, a shower was required bit I thought I would first explore then return for one later.
I will admit that I had high hopes for Almaty, I had anticipated that because it had previously been the capital then it would have a richer carpet of history but like Astana all of its building are concrete and less of the!m are architectural masterpieces. My hour and half long wander left me underwhelmed, maybe tomorrow the city will reveal more of its secrets. Right, shower time.