Leg 4 - Kazakhstan
Beyneu and Atyrau
July 12, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Once we crossed the border, we still had 85kms of classic Kazakhstan roads to negotiate before we got to Beyneu. And by “classic” we mean terrible. At one point we had to stop and fill up the fuel tank from our Jerry cans, as the fuel gauge was showing empty. Sterlin was doing ok despite being fed bad fuel.

As soon as we got to Beyneu we found an ATM which dispensed local currency, such a simple pleasure after Uzbekistan. And then straight to a petrol station where we pumped good quality fuel into Sterlin. Again, these simple acts are such a pleasure. Our Garmin correctly directed us to our hotel and we checked in and had dinner.

Beyneu was not much of a town, as we discovered during our post dinner walk. More of a service town for the district, so had everything one might want but without any charm.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

We woke up and the outside temperture was a chilling 18°C. The coldest we have had in quite a while and wonderful. However we had another longish days drive to reach Atyrau so we couldn’t hang around. The drive was basically desert the entire 420kms and the good news, the road was straight and fast. Apart from the occasional camel and cargo train there was not much to see.

Atyrau was a definite improvement on Beyneu and clearly built with oil money. The buildings still had that wonderful soviet architecture, but now there were also trees and footpaths to make the place feel a little but more livable. Unfortunately there were hideous pipes everywhere supplying community hot water.

We found the most amazing beer house in the back streets of a housing estate. It deserved its number one restaurant rating on Tripadvisor. We, along with numerous other foreign white people, enjoyed a drink and the best meal we’d had in weeks (maybe months)! Caroline had salmon and Stephen had lamb.

Caroline stayed up to watch Germany beat Argentina in the World Cup final. Stephen slept.