Just south of Almaty lies the Shymbulak Ski Resort, one of the most popular attraction in the near vicinity. To get here you can catch bus 12 right across from the Kazakhstan hotel in downtown Almaty, this will drop you off near the famous Medeu Ice Skating Rink (the highest in the world) where you can find a gondola which takes you right up to the ski resort.
|Outside Medeu Ice Rink|
|Gondola from Medeu|
|View of rink from the gondola|
There is then a second gondola which gets you to a restaurant/bar midway up the mountain and a third one which takes you up to the peak, today only the first two gondolas were opened so I stopped at the bar. What I found here was a bit of a dull international food menu with only two beers available, unfortunately the beer I ordered was served warm and gave me a feeling that I shouldn't spend too much time here. Looking around from the balcony and the top of the ski slope however at least gave a temporary feeling of escape while taking in the view this isolated location.
On the way back down I explored around the area at the base of the resort. Behind the resort restaurants there is a road here going further up the mountain which is lined with cabins, walking up it you can find a picturesque view of the natural area surrounding the resort. Around the time I finished up exploring a mass exodus was occurring, causing the gondola line to hemorrhage out of control. To kill a bit of time while the line situation calmed down, I stopped into one of the resort restaurants and ate a dish of horse meat with Kazak naan bread, this ended up making a tasty and incredibly filling sandwich.
|Going down into the smog|