Shymkent/Шымкент, Kazakhstan to the Aral Sea/Арал Теңізі, Kazakhstan–635 km this section (Total Mileage: 8791 km/40,075 km)
I’ve ridden over mountains, through a summer in southern China and an early-spring blizzard, but it was the Central Asian Steppe that got me. I cycled for days to get as far as I did. Most of them temperatures reached into the high 90s or low 100s and a headwind slowed my progress. And every time I looked up, the same flat horizon.
In the end, I flagged down a Russian trucker and got a ride through the last 400 km to the Aral Sea (the train was necessary for visa reasons). I didn’t feel I was gaining much from this particular misery, and I was behind schedule to meet my friend in Tbilisi.
My route through western Kazakhstan.
Arachnophobes, I’d skip the next 5 images until you get to the photo of the baby horse.
While looking around at the ships near Zhalanash, I found some amazing painted portraits on the walls of an old ship. They seem to be the work of a French-Algerian graffiti artist know as Zoo-Project. I’m still following up leads and editing those photos, but watch out for those soon. In the mean time, you can read more about the Aral Sea: