Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Spring from Almaty!

While a large portion of North America and parts of Europe were taking a battering from big snow storms this week, the city of Almaty has been in the full-on embrace of spring. Most people in Kazakhstan will tell you that spring begins on March first.  Most years this is probably just wishful thinking.  This year, however, March first saw a dramatic warming of the weather.  By March fifth, most of the snow was melted and sidewalks began to show through the thinning layers of ice and sand.  By the time the Nauriz Holiday began on the 20th, it was warm enough to venture outdoors in shorts and a t-shirt.

A valley just west of Almaty and the site of my first hike of the season
Spring is my favorite time of year in Almaty.  Spring brings clean air and warm sun-filled days.  Spring brings green grass and bright flowers.  Spring brings the return of hiking weather and day trips to the mountains and the steppe.  Spring brings people out of their grey buildings with carpets and blankets to lay across fences and beat with sticks.  It brings the sounds of children on the playgrounds of Gagarina park, and the frantic chirping of birds in the branches of barely budding trees.  Nothing beats the arrival of spring after a long white and grey winter.

Spring also brings me back to the blog that I have so sorely neglected these last two months.  I apologize to the seven of you who read every post and have been missing me (I'll try not to let it happen again).  So in the spirit of new beginnings and fresh starts:  Happy Friday, Happy Spring, Happy Easter everyone.

P.S.  I am thinking about collecting treasure maps but maybe not in this forum.  Let me know what you think.

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