Three nights across the western Kazakh Steppe wild-camping in glorious weather allowed me the time to try out a few ND Grad filters and test out the long exposures required for star trail photography. Our transit to Uzbekistan was quicker than anticipated as we passed by hundreds of kilometres of nothing. We stopped briefly in Atyrau to get some cash and food taking the opportunity to register while there.
It’s all about the mountains…
Before leaving the UK Georgia was assured to be a highlight of our trip on our way to Central Asia. I would spend hours pouring over maps of the Caucasus, working out possible routes, likely snow fall on mountain passes, places to visit etc etc. The whole region is also steeped in history as it forms a geographical bottleneck of the overland routes between the far east, middle east, Persia and Europe. For centuries the country was ruled by the Ottomans, Persians, Mongols and most recently the Russians as it provided a gateway (and control) for trade along the old silk road.
After the craziness of Istanbul roads, we welcomed the relative order that seemed to ensue in the Turkish capital of Ankara. Although Istanbul is the culture centre of the country, Ankara is the administrative centre and so the place we needed to go for most of our Central Asian visas. After driving all day, through blazing sun and random snow, we eventually found the Ulasan Hotel where we were allowed to camp (tucked away out the back of course!). It is one of the only places that allows camping and is a good spot overlooking the lake. (more…)