The bazaar, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Sunny greetings from Almaty, Kazakhstan’s former capital city and still its largest and most economically important. The city is a candidate for the 2020 Winter Olympics.
After really liking Moscow (Russia) and falling foolishly in love with Dushanbe (Tajikistan - pictured here), I have mixed feelings about Almaty. While I admire, for instance, the efficiency of Almaty’s international airport and was very positively impressed by the national carrier Air Astana, I’m finding it hard to fall for the city.
In my eyes, Almaty lacks charm: it’s big, chaotic, unattractive, and is desperately trying to imitate Western European cities (café chains, shops,…). The result - from an aesthetic perspective - is an urban mess.
Almaty lacks exactly what I loved about Dushanbe: authenticity. And perhaps also the serene and tranquil pace of life that I also miss in Europe at times. Why can’t the world slow down for a moment?
But that’s just my first impression after strolling the more central streets of Almaty today. Maybe I’ll discover other facets of the city that will make me change my opinion? I do hope so!
The streets of Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s charming capital city.
Besides having the world’s tallest flagpole and the longest flag, Dushanbe will very soon be home to the world’s biggest “tea house,” a majestic events venue with truly impressive interiors. The building is due to open to the public later this year.
Greetings from Dushanbe!
I landed in the capital city of Tajikistan this morning at 4:30 am after a hectic flight with UTair Aviation. But let’s skip the details of the messy check-in and the even messier luggage collection, and focus on the positive: This city is so captivating!
I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something special about the people, streets, parks, and more in the city that has been putting me in a great mood since the ride from the airport to the hotel. Speaking of which: I’m staying at the Hyatt Regency Dushanbe, which besides being an amazing property, has some of the friendliest hotel staff I’ve ever met. I am really thankful for their assistance with many things making sure my stay is a great one.
Since I am really exhausted right now, I’ll tell you more about Dushanbe tomorrow and over the next few days. Good night!
Given my photographic obsession with negative space and blue skies, I just started a new Instagram project and feed where I’ll be posting such photos from my travels.
Moscow is such an amazing city. I’ll have to admit I didn’t expect the place to be so nice - it’s a really positive surprise!
Tomorrow night I’m off to Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital city and its largest with a population of over 747’000.
Can’t wait to be there!
Today was a Saturday as every Saturday of the year should be.
It started with an early morning stroll around the Red Square, which is really close to The Ritz-Carlton Moscow, where I’m staying on this first stop in Moscow (yes, I’ll be back in Moscow in August…). With very few tourists on the square at that time and gorgeous blue skies, it was a great moment to take pictures.
After that, I spent the morning and afternoon mastering the art of me-time at the Ritz: Snacks and drinks in the Club Lounge, chill time in and by the pool, jacuzzi, steam bath… Loved every moment.
And the day got even more fun when I met up with lovely and extremely talented instagrammers in the evening. We insta-walked from the Moscow State University to the Russian Academy of Sciences, from which we had a magnificent view of the city’s skyline at sunset. To see the InstaMeet’s pictures, follow the hashtag #191919Meet over the next days on Instagram.
Love Moscow. Love Instagram. Love the people I meet on my travels.
Today was the first day of my four-week trip covering Moscow (Russia), Dushanbe (Tajikistan), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Tehran (Iran), and my beloved Dubai (UAE). It was a fabulous start and I am really excited about what’s coming next!
As usual, I’ll be checking out a few hotels in the different cities I am visiting. Here in Moscow, I am staying at The Ritz-Carlton, which is only a few steps away from the famous Red Square.
I am staying in a room on the 10th floor with access to the Club Lounge, which serves food and beverages from breakfast (7:30 am) until after-dinner desserts and cocktails (10pm). Both my room and the lounge offer panoramic views of the Red Square.
On the floor above the Club Lounge is O2 Lounge, the hotel’s rooftop bar with a terrace. Besides the beautiful views, O2 Lounge has some very colorful lamps! Trust me, these lamps are quite big, but somehow I managed to make them fit into the picture above!
More about my stay in Moscow tomorrow!
Charming cafes, cobbled streets and the lake make Como a great romantic getaway.