With the weather being so nice, this Sunday I decided to go into the mountains. Located just half an hour from the city center of Almaty is the ice skating rink Medeu and the gondola to the ski resort Shymbulak. Bus 12, which stops opposite Hotel Kazakhstan, takes you there for only 80 tenge (= 25 euro cents). On the way to the bus stop, I stopped by the impressive monument of the Kazakh poet Aby in front of the Palace of the Republic, which is a concert hall.
The Medeu ice skating and bandy rink is located in a mountain valley and sits about 1700 metres above sea level. It calls itself the "highest skating rink in the world" but that appears not to be true anymore. Also, no significant championships have been held here for decades. The building and the surroundings still look impressive, though. Walking around, I learned the Russian word for ice cream: мороженое.
From Medeu, I walked some 400 meters down to a gondola station from where I bought a return ticket to the popular ski resort Shymbulak. I had the gondola all to myself, and so I could absorb the magnificent view in silence.
From the gondola, you could really see how big Medeu actually is. The whole ride to the Shymbulak ski resort located at 2200 metres took about 10-15 minutes. I could have stayed in there for much longer, because the views were breathtaking!
Then I arrived in Shymbulak (also known as Chimbulak), where the weather was still great with 14 degrees Celsius. There were lots of people skiing, and for the first time I also heard some Dutch! Must be a lot cheaper here than in Switzerland or Austria...
After having lunch at a restaurant called "Chalet", I traveled back to Almaty to prepare for another week of work. Have a great week everyone! :-)