Woke up and walked back to Astrakhan, making it to what we thought were the outskirts and stopping to camp.
Made it into Astrakhan, where we stopped briefly to do food shopping and phone home from a cafe wifi, and then rather surprisingly made it most way out the other side without losing bearings once. We had to make distance and couldn’t afford to be slow, and thankfully we were managing to pull it off.
Again, up early and walk as far as we can. Today we crossed quite a few bridges over quite a few rivers, walked through one small town where Kieran simply asked directions to Kazakhstan and got pointed in the right direction. Camped on the final bit of road to the border and dicussed how unexcited we felt about it, then attributed it to how tired we had began to feel after three months of constantly having to make good distance.
The border was closer than we thought, and the process was a lot more hassle free than we expected. There were no shops, cafes or currency exchanges, indeed there were very few buildings at all. The border control was simply a question of “do you have any guns? bombs? then go ahead.”
On the other side we got registered at a small brick cabin, and pointed to the only other building in sight and told that it was a hotel. It looked unfinished and there was no one around. Entering to find someone, we were greeted by what can only be described as mass, freshly skinned carcasses piled up in a corner of the room, no idea what species, and a man who told us that the nearest hotel was 40km down the road. We made it about 3km and stopped under a bridge for the day, our first night in Kazakhstan.