I am not from Almaty, but I love this city, happily visit it often, write articles for the Almaty periodicals, but I never had such a truly magical weekend, as it happened just the other day in sunny July.
It all started when my friend Larissa suggested a ride on the cable car up to Chimbulak, which itself assumed a nice easy walk in the mountains. Our another friend, a psychologist, Aliya went with us. She also thought that we would just have a simple ride and came to the meeting wearing a short red summer dress and sandals. And that was just wonderful! Because that easy mood gave adventurous charm to the whole unexpected adventure in the mountains. So, we boarded an overcrowded bus number 12 at the foot of the Kazakhstan hotel and got to the Medeo ice rink.
It turned out that the cable car goes up in three levels, at different heights, and Larissa, without hesitation, got the tickets to the extreme point - to Talgar pass. I should say: it is worth to ride the cable car, but not just for the pleasure of gliding smoothly over the picturesque mountain slopes! When we got to Talgar pass, we began to inspect the grand panorama of snow-capped mountains and eternal glaciers, smelling the alpine herbs, while beautiful Almaty spread in the blue distance of horizon down there, at the bottom of our feet... Then Larissa pointed to the rocky summit on the right and cheerfully said:
- Shall we now climb thaaat mountain!
The peak was wow, about 3500 m above the sea level. We smiled, thinking it was a joke. However, Larissa already started moving in the predetermined direction confidently. We had to follow. However, it was not that scary. We walked stopping at each new masterpiece of nature, while a fresh breeze ventilated our lungs. These were: yellow poppies, delicate velvet edelweiss, bright orange and black butterflies, lush green grasshoppers, interesting form of stone installations, blue sky and white clouds, new, breathtaking panoramic views of the valley and the mountain peaks.
We walked and walked, but then fatigue in untrained muscles of our legs affected, feet burnt, and Aliya started showing the growing interest among many climbers descending from the summit in her little dress and sandals. Some tourists, who looked like experienced professionals, began to discourage us from climbing further, equipped like this. Indeed, the route became more difficult, the trail was steeper and rocks slipped out from under our feet. So we offered timidly Larissa to enjoy with what we already had before our eyes. However, our brave and tireless guide called to go ahead, changed shoes to the sandals’ of Aliya, leaving striped funny socks on her feet, fit the size of her snickers to the foot of our psychologist, and we had nothing left to do but to go to the target. We grumbled jokingly. Joked, that what the eye fears, the feet do. Or no the feet, but what left of them. Larissa managed to find the most interesting angles, making photographs. Where she went, we also needed to take photos there. Photo shoot at the height of the bird's flight!!! The red dress of Aliya, coloured socks of Larissa and our waving in different directions loose long hair fluttered everywhere with butterflies. Pedicures with little suns and ladybirds fit into the overall colour canvas in principle. We really looked like freaks against all the passing by professional rock climbers. However still, we were really mountain! It was not our first time! Simply we were not ready for spontaneous travel. Our merry band, looked like not fitted to marches through the mountains, still attracted attention. This amused us, cheered up and gave strength.
And here we are at the top! It was worth it! We said "Thanks!" to Larissa a hundred times, a million times, for this peppy spirit (and for her sharp verbal boosts). We would not get there otherwise!
Here we are at the top, almost at the heaven!!! That’s true! The warm stones in the form of small imperial thrones took us into their arms, unreal beauty was around, clouds were in the form of hovering tender hearts, and Aliya turned on mantras in different languages of the world. We laid under the beautiful sky, listening to musical chant dissolving in the majestic space. Soul thanked us for this magic! It got calm and relaxed, accumulating the good energy. Clouds hung in the air from the magical tide wave, descending to us.
A group of foreigners from Scotland, the UK and California (as we later found out) stopped by us. They listened to the mantras in the silence of the mountains with sinking hearts too. Another guy, Artem from Krasnodar, joined us for the rest of the day. A mature woman is appeared, she was such cheerful and airy. She said that she was looking for her old husband, who is somewhere here in the mountains. Everyone wished good luck to each other! So through the whole mountain route we met friendly and quite amazing people, with open, enthusiastic and good look. We already looked different on the descent. We were almost heroes!
We didn’t want to return to the city, but we had to. And here again, Larissa invited all of us to go to Kok-Tobe. Our feet did not feel the earth, but we were full of energy, and we got the next batch of unforgettable impressions. Firstly, we watched a pink sunset from the observation platform at Kok-Tobe, and then enjoyed the view of the city at night. Later again: the old creaky cable car took us to the heart of Almaty. We wanted to shout "HOORAY! " to that day at the Palace of the Republic, and we did that, heading to the large fountain at the Kazakhstan hotel. The fountain played with a powerful jet of water that refreshed the air, and Aliya gave a helpful hint: to imagine how this raging gushing energy inside of us processes our desires in their execution. Something else for today!? All of us were ready to be amazed! We walked down the Lenin street. There was jazz playing on the street. Our guest from Krasnodar already considered himself as an Almaty citizen. However he never saw the 28 Panfilov Heroes square! There was dusk in the city already, and we arrived at the eternal flame at first, and then to Ascension Cathedral: there were children still playing at the square in front of it, launching glowing pinwheels into the air.
We decided to leave at this point, and then we heard volleys of salute coming from the square. What a wonderful finish of our adventure! Once again: Hooray! Vivat! To this magical day!!! Thanks, Almaty! Thanks to our charming Almaty girls - Larissa and Aliya!!! And what? Now I love Almaty even stronger, and still know, that such ordinary miracle will happen if you are ready to accept it.