Urumqi, China isn’t on anyone’s travel bucket list. My good friend, Charles, and I only ended up here due to bad planning. And a cheap flight. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it has terrible air pollution and there’s just really very little for a tourist to see. Or is there? If frequent travel has taught me anything, it’s that everywhere is interesting and how much you like a place has a lot more to do with your state of mind than the place itself. Here are a few of the things I enjoyed seeing in this rarely visited city. Continue reading “Finding beauty in the most unexpected places”
The same snowstorm that turned Almaty into a winter wonderland also hit Urumqi, only much harder. It feels kind of crazy to be back in the same city where we began this trip six weeks ago… but it sure does look different now. Continue reading “Freak Snowstorm in Urumqi, China”
Kazakhstan is our last stop in Central Asia before heading back to China for our flights home. It’s a huge country but we just have time to see Almaty, the capital city.
As we set off to explore this very modern metropolis, the forecast calls for a bit of snow. Little do we know how much of a storm it will turn into. Continue reading “Caught in a snowstorm in Almaty, Kazakhstan”
When I discover a new place that I really like, I tell myself I’ll come back. There’s always more to discover. When I love a destination, I can’t escape the feeling that I’ve just scratched the surface. I need to come back. That’s definitely true of Tajikistan’s Fann Mountains. Continue reading “Tajikistan’s Fantastic Fann Mountains”
After an epic road trip on the Pamir Highway, we are very happy to arrive in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
Much like Bishkek (the capital of Kyrgyzstan), Dushanbe is a Soviet city with wide welcoming avenues, leafy green parks, and proud monuments. Communism may have failed but it left behind some nice cities. Continue reading “Dushanbe, Tajikistan”
In a word, delicious!
One of my favourite things about travel is trying all the new unfamiliar foods that one encounters. Here are a few of the delights I discovered while traveling through Kyrgystan and Tajikistan. Continue reading “What does Central Asia taste like?”
The Pamir Highway runs some 1,500 km from Kyrgystan through Tajikistan and the rugged Pamir range of Central Asia. It’s the second highest highway in the world (after the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan). Actually, “highway” is a funny way to describe it. The pavement is frequently broken and riddled with potholes, flash floods cut deep gouges right through the road leaving it unpassable, and, if you’re not careful, you’re likely to plummet hundreds of meters over the unprotected edge of the road. It’s no surprise then that there are so many discarded vehicles on this (in)famous road. Here are just a few that we encountered on our week-long journey. Continue reading “Dead Vehicles on the Pamir Highway”
We’ve just finished a week-long road trip along the famous Pamir Highway that joins Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, and Tajikistan. The route has been used for millennia as a part of the Silk Road but the Soviet Union made a big push to turn it into a real road in the 1930s. Continue reading “Road trip on the Pamir Highway”
After visiting the Communist theme park of Bishkek, we caught a flight back to Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan.
I never used to be a big enthusiast of monuments, preferring the serenity of green spaces and clean mountain air. There’s something about Communist pride and the grandeur of that era, though, that makes me love exploring the endless epitaphs of Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan.