Welcome back to the blog! If you didn’t catch the last update, we’ve scheduled weekly posts scheduled for friday mornings. They won’t be up to date (these posts will span our summer in Kazakhstan whilst we walk through winter over the Himalayas), but we figured little and often to be better than a five month essay followed by a five month silence…
Leaving the flat in Atyrau we relaxed until checkout, making the most of the comfort and wifi, and then returned to the Noodle bar where we made the most of a buffet and wifi. We did some shopping on our way out, not making great distance but making it far enough to find decent city outskirts camping, and set ourselves up for the walk ahead.
As we were leaving the city the next day we were greeted by various English speaking Kazakhs offering help, some giving us water and one giving us a bunch of bananas. There was a bit of rain which was nice, and that evening Arjun found a scorpion squashed behind the back support of his rucksack; we would need to be more careful checking our gear in the morning.
The wind was horrific the next day, and we could see dense, dark storm clouds chasing up behind us, so we took our luck in finding a restaurant and got inside, not five minutes before a lightening/thunder/snow storm blew over us. The staff inside were terribly excited, and explained to us as we sat down with a coffee that it was the first time some of them had ever seen snow. Getting into conversation they then offered us a shower and a place to stay, informing us that the building next door was like a hostel and that they would get us discounted rates if we were interested. Still a little downhearted from leaving a nice, private apartment, we took the offer and indulged in hot showers and a little bit of Premier League Football viewing for a couple of nights whilst we waited for what seemed like a hurricane to pass over.
Come the end of the month the wind had died down a little, though still strong enough to make us worry about our tent, and so we continued on, camping that night next to a randomly fenced off area, desperately trying to use it as shelter.