Our train journey across Kazakhstan

From Semey in Northern Kazakhstan we decided to get down to Almaty in a hurry because we're really struggling with our Chinese visa and want to give ourselves time to sort it out, whether to fly somewhere to get a Chinese visa, go West back to Europe instead, or fly to India and miss out the Karakorum Highway.

The Chinese visa situation is an absolute nightmare for so many people, there are people stranded all over Central Asia trying to get to India and the visa situation doesn't go back to normal until October 17th...too late for us to cross the Karakorum.


We managed to pay a bribe to get our bikes on the train, only $15 each bike which we felt was reasonable.
 We then had a 20 hour train journey which we shared with some very friendly Uzbek and Kyrgyz people heading home after working in Vladivostok in Russia. All flushed with dollars and looking forward to seeing their families. Some of them had been travelling for 7 days and had 3 more to go. That's one hell of a commute.
We arrived in Almaty at 5am and then cycled the 12km from the train station through an empty city to the house of the registrar of the new HaileyBury International School in Almaty who we'd been put in touch with by Jerry - Rosie's dad from Lamma who edited the Kazakhstan guide book for Odyssey. The registrar - Jack Helmsley worked on some of the translations and maps for the guide and has been a superb host for the last 3 days.


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