I expected poor roads, hot days, car issues, team disagreements, dirt, hunger, and communication challenges. But there was one thing I didn’t expect – Kazakhstan. The 9th largest country in the world has knocked me off my feet…my smelly, hot , dirty mongol rally feet.
The environments and unfortunately road conditions in Kazakhstan change wildly form day to day and hour to hour. However it’s the cities that have stunned me. For example – does anyone even know the capital of Kazakhstan? I didn’t until a 2 days ago when I saw it on the map and we pointed our Mongol Rally car in its direction.
When we arrived in the capital city of Astana it blew us away. Here was an ultra modern city with high rises and architecture that rivaled Hong Kong and Valencia. The parks were planned out beautifully with landscaping. All of this urban planning was surrounded by big malls of course. Yet none of us experienced travelers had even heard of it before. It was as if we had discovered the Emerald City of Oz.
Locals were out strolling along the parks taking photos – and of course staring since we seemed to be one of about 100 tourists that I think actually come here a year! A guy in the mall actually stopped us and said he had only seen people like us on TV and never in person.
I wandered around with my camera wondering how such a city could go so unnoticed by the world? I felt like an explorer and it helped that everyone looked at me as if I were Lewis and Clark on expedition!
Kazakhstan even had ice skating rinks in their malls, western chain stores, and street entertainment. You know you are heading towards in the right direction when you have street performers!
The city of Astana will not remain a secret for long – so get here any way you can…yet I don’t know that I suggest you drive all the way from London like we did!
How to donate to our charity – the Christina Nobel Foundation – we are still collecting donations along the way!
- It’s Real Now
- Pimpin’ Our Ride
- Festival of Slow – Mongol Rally Kickoff
- First Stop – Brussels
- Stopped by the Police – Mongol Rally
- Learning to Drive on the Autobahn
- CzechOut our Camping – Mongol Rally
- Racing Through Prague – Mongol Rally
- Driving in Romania
- Twilight in Brasov – Mongol Rally
- Four People One Key – Mongol Rally
- Crossing Borders with Natasha- Mongol Rally
- What I see out my window – Mongol Rally
- Ukraine Highway Culture – Mongol Rally
- Mongol Rally: Driving in Ukraine
- Hotel Nissan – Mongol Rally
- Kiev Paperwork Forgery – Mongol Rally
- Teaming up in Volgograd – Mongol Rally
- Russian Stereotypes
- Good Luck at the Kazakhstan Border – Mongol Rally
- The Hardest, Longest, Slowest, Dirtiest Road Yet – Mongol Rally
- The End of The Road – Mongol Rally
- Camping on the Mongol Rally
- Locals to the Rescue – Mongol Rally
- Setting Up Camp – Mongol Rally
- Bad Things do Happen on the Mongol Rally
- The Birth of Kazakhstan Tourism – Mongol Rally
- Kazakhstan’s Secret City – Astana
- The Best Laid Plans – Mongol Rally
- Our Car’s Health – Mongol Rally
- My ride in a Kazakhstan Police Car – Mongol Rally
- The Real Adventure Begins – Mongol Rally
- Minor Repairs – Mongol Rally
- How To Wait at a Border – Mongol Rally
- Border Bonding – Mongol Rally
- Mongolia Freedom – Mongol Rally
- Lost in the Mongol Rally
- Slowing Down – Mongol Rally
- The Mongol Rally Diet
- Muffler Mayhem – Mongol Rally
- Sink or Float – Mongol Rally
- Mongolian Hospitality – Mongol Rally
- Driving in Mongolia
- Tire Trouble – Mongol Rally
- Desert Illusions – Mongol Rally
- Mongolian Malls and Mechanics
- Shocking Tarmac – Mongol Rally
- Mongolian Cloudscapes – Photography
- Ulaanbaatar in our Sights
- The Finish Line – Mongol Rally
- What’s it all for?
- What Happens to the Car?