Day three of the Atkinson descendants’ trip to Kazakhstan was every bit as exciting as the two previous days. Imagine our surprise today when we arrived at Almaty airport from Astana to be greeted by members of the Kazakh Geographical Society – KazGeo – all kitted out in specially made T-shirts and driving a van with this wonderful slogan on the side. It was the beginning of yet again another amazing day.
From the airport we were taken to Shymbulak, an alpine resort (alt.2,300m) above Almaty, where we were given a wonderful lunch.
That was followed by a drive to downtown Almaty to the offices of the British Council, where I delivered a speech to launch the book South to the Great Steppe to an enthusiastic meeting of around 60 people. Most of those who attended had heard about the event on social media.
Then it was on to Kok Tobe, on the mountainside above the city, for dinner – and the most incredible thunderstorm many of us had ever witnessed. Trees came down around us and we were forced to take shelter inside whilst the storm raged.
However, it did not stop the celebrations. KazGeo Presidium member Nuridin Tudakhanov presented members of the delegation with wonderful gifts – scarfs for the ladies and chapans and hats for the men.