Back from the Steppes ….

Apologies for being so quiet of late but it appears the Kazakh Government aren’t especially keen on bloggers and WordPress in particular. There I sat in my hotel room ready to beguile you with stories of grumpy ex Soviet customs officials when, well, nothing. Having googled ‘Kazakhstan WordPress’ it appears there is still a sprinkling of Communist paranoia when it comes to blogging so get used to lots of reflective posts.

Starting with this one, my journey to Kazakhstan.

On 11th March I had a very early start, a car came to pick me up to take me to London Heathrow at 04.30am, groan. The journey was extremely quick and the notorious M25 on its best behaviour.

Check in was easy, with the added bonus of my luggage being forwarded all the way through to Atyrau Airport and a boarding card issued for the second flight of the day.

I was lucky enough to have the luxury of Business Class flights for my trip so headed straight for the Business Lounge, a read of The Times and this lovely bowl of fresh fruit.

Fresh_Fruit_Salad_and_Pineapple_Juice

Jo Malone may have been open at 6am and I may have accidentally bought one of these before boarding (white Mint & Jasmine Cologne, my favourite!)

Jo Malone

My first flight of the day was the quick hop from London to Amsterdam courtesy of KLM. Having had a light breakfast already I opted for a black tea and a caramel waffle, yum.

Caramel_Waffles

Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam has a very laid back vibe for an airport. Even when it’s really busy there always seems to lots of room and places to chill out. Again due to my tickets I was able to use the Crown Lounge and if I hadn’t been on the way to work I may have made much more use of the bar facilities!

I just had time to snap these Clogs before boarding the second flight of the day.

Clogs_Amsterdam

My memories of flying Air Astana 5 years ago are not great. Miserable cabin crew and very poor quality food were the highlights. However it appears they’ve undergone some sort of transformation and having spoken to a few old colleagues the consensus is that this isn’t just confined to Business Class … good to see.

I enjoyed a glass of Tattinger Champagne (how the other half live, I know!) and a very good meal. I had a starter of smoked salmon and scallops with a wasabi foam, followed by lemon sole with samphire and baked new potatoes. I settled back with my kindle and stretched out. This turning left on the plane could become addictive 🙂

Below is the menu in Kazakh … good luck!

Air_Astana_Business_Class_Menu

On arrival at Atyrau airport the ‘bun fight’starts. Forget all good manners and expectations of gentlemanly behaviour as if you don’t elbow your way to a good spot on the bus you’ll be in Customs for hours. I know all this but unfortunately having to have a single entry visa processed meant the back if the queue for me, hurumph!

Once through the various officious queues for god knows what purpose I finally climbed into my taxi to the hotel and met the acquaintance of a nice English chap called Jeff. More about our adventures to come.

It’s great to be home.

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One thought on “Back from the Steppes ….

  1. Welcome back! I’ve had the pleasure of flying first class a few times in my life and there really is nothing like it! Glad you had a great experience. Looking forward to hearing more!

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