Kazakhstan visas in our passports and passports in our backpockets we started cycling toward Kazakhstan, which was about 115 kilometers away. We decided to cycle there in one day because there was only two days in our Russian visas and we heard that one who doesn’t follow these schedules will be punished. Wind was again on our side and our bikes rolled pretty nicely towards worlds biggest land locked country. We spent our last rubles to lollipops and amazed how Russians sold chickens like potatoes next to the road. The saleswoman wondered if we had had an interesting trip if this was something new to us. We also wanted to take pictures. Last kilometers in Russia we played music loud and it was time to say goodbyes to this country. Or was it? First border guard didn’t know what to do with us. He was followed by guy who owned even bigger hat and he said that this is no place for us to cross the border. It was a place only for Kazaks and Russians. We were quite surprised for a while until a truck driver parked in front of us and said that throw your bicycles to his trailer and he will give us a ride back to Omsk. We gladly took the offer and after night ride e were back in familiar Omsk. We grabbed something to eat from gas station and went sleeping to our tents.
After a short rest it was time to pack our stuff and go to another border crossing point, which was even more far away than the last, about 130 kilometers. We were a little tired already from the morning but ten hours in our visas put speed to our legs. Lots of cycling and even the wind turned against us. We had ran out of water and we couldn’t buy any because we had spent our last rubles to lollipops. Luckily twenty kilometers before the border was a gas station where we arrived so thirsty and hungry. We ate a lot there and when there was only one hour in our visas left we had to continue. It was matter of minutes when we arrived to the border. At the same time pouring rain started. For our relief there were no problems in this crossing point and we arrived to Kazakhstan! Very tired we pitched our tents and fell asleep instantly. Rain continued whole night and most of the day. First encounter with Kazak people was when they offered us free meal at cafe, because we still had no cash. Amazing! The next one was when we arrived to the village of Bulaevo, where we finally found ATM. After cash withdrawal we had tenges in our pockets and it was time to go buy some food. We asked where shop was but instead of going there we were invited to office where we had meal and place to sleep. Really amazing! With the help of night guard we were able to dry all our soaking wet equipment. At morning we headed south, but we only got one block away when another gentleman saw us and invited us to his place to have something to eat. We ate luxurious meal and also had sauna and he showed us some of the pictures from the days. After a nice morning we left the village and headed to small road. The sound of silence was a sign that hectic days were behind us for now.
Next morning the wind was a nice reminder of best parts of cycling and quiet asphalt road was like from the best cycling road book. Idyllic cycling ended quite soon when the rain came. First small rain leaded to absolute pouring one. Angry rain filled sharp holes in the ground and bikes with our arms was in quite of a stress. When we started this small country road we thought that asphalt would continue all the way to big Astana road. Well, it didn’t. We arrived at the end of asphalt and all we saw was mud all the way to ankle and it lasted to horizon, which locals call Grass. Again we were quite amused the fact that there was no turning back. When we watched the map tenth time a local came and invited us to have lunch. When we ate we were told that the Grass will end after eighty kilometers. As said there was no turning back and the next day after we had detached our mudguards we were ready to encounter this road.
Day went slowly by walking. The road was too muddy to cycle and the grass next to it was too thick. Eventually, frustrated by the road we chose compass and headed to field where you couldn’t see anything in the horizon. Only help was thin tractor path which we followed quite a long time. End of the day we had walked thirty kilometers and it was time to sleep in the village called Kirovo. We chose to put our tents in the central park which wasn’t the best choice. Kids who was very very interested about us wanted to see us and hear our stories right after we had fallen asleep. Well, after brief stories they went away and came back half an hour later with new child who wanted to hear same stories. Next day the road got luckily better and we cycled about fifty kilometers to next village, where our sleep weren’t interrupted by children, but birds. They came right next to our tents to screech and I had to go scare them away with sticks quite many times.
Last nights bad sleep didn’t bother because of next days great landscapes, weather and roads. It didn’t took long till we arrived to big road that led to Astana. The road is probably the best in Kazakhstan and its really easy and comfortable to ride. Maybe we were a little too comfortable, because calm police voice told us to stop and show our documents. After brief chat I was told to get in the car where we were fined about 10000 tenges, because we were a second in the wrong side of the side line, but we didn’t have that much cash with us so they took 7000(about 30 euros). From there our journey to Astana took only couple of hours.
So we arrived to Astana where we asked about visas in China embassy. We don’t have enough time to get them here in Astana so we will head our bikes to south towards Kyrgyzstan. We also went to say hi to Finnish embassy staff and they gave us good knowledge about Astana and border crossings in Kyrgyzstan.