Kazakhstan – run for the border

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Performances – sometimes competing against the nearby karaoke booth, Almaty:

Afer two weeks in the boarding school and playing to huge audiences at Arbat and Panfilov Park, the mountains around Almaty beckoned us. The jumpy stilt-walker went one way and we went south, to the snow-capped peaks.

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Hiking in the mountains near Almaty:
Imagine a band going hiking — one has a 25kg backpack with the accordeon and food, one carries the cello with our sleeping mats wrapped around the top, and the other has a mess of bags strung over both shoulders. The day-trippers stared and laughed. Even the cows, but only because the single flat place on the hill was full of dried cow dung. Nevertheless, the bRoKen ZiRkuS moNkey bAnd rehearsed many songs and wrote some new tunes.

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Hiking in Kyrgyzstan – a short trip to renew our Kazakh visas:

So much fresh mountain air gave us the distance to our citified lives that we needed to reach a decision:
Skip Aserbaijan, Georgia, Turkey — 3 more months of cycling, plus another 3 months in the south to bridge the winter . . . it would wear out our little group of 3 monkeys. Since Vietnam, we‘ve been saying that we need a larger group — for the music, for the daily life on the road, for the energy and inspiration many people can give each other.

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Jurts in Kyrgyzstan are only used for festivities, not for living like in Mongolia:

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The bus took us to the wrong border between Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan, so we hitch-hiked 300 km back to Almaty between sheep and watermelons:

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2 days in the train from Almaty to Uralsk: