As you can probably guess from both the title and the time of year, its wintertime in Astana. And yes, to answer the question I already know is coming next, it is very cold living in what is essentially south Siberia (but without the trees). Since its usually grey, cloudy, and windy all day in addition to being cold I rarely go outside and explore the city. However, this was the first day in the month of so since I’ve been back from my holiday in the US that the sky was blue and not smoggy/hazy, so I decided to go exploring again even though it was -5ºF/-20ºC outside.
I didn’t exactly go anywhere new or exciting that I haven’t written about before, but the city looks pretty different in the snow. It was interesting to visit places that are packed with people in the summer that are completely dead in winter. For example, the viewpoint for the Presidential Palace usually has people walking around, especially in the park right before the stairs, but today it was only me and a security guard. I saw maybe ten people total walking outside in the park between Khan Shatyr and Ak Orda. I will say that I had to melt ice off of my face a few times, but it really didn’t feel that cold outside when walking in the sun. Most everywhere is plowed or shoveled down to the cement, though I did have to trudge through knee deep snow near the Pyramid when I was trying to find a good view. Anyway, here are some pics of Astana in the winter as a brief update before I catch up on writing about my trips to southern Kazakhstan and Turkey.