Winter, opportunities for skiing, and this year had me choosing the Almaty province of Kazakhstan.
The first resort, Shymbulak, surprised me in many ways, not the least by how conveniently most things worked out, from ski rental to the absence of linguistic problems. I stayed in a wonderful place, Hotel S.N.e.G., where everything was top notch. I was met by the friendliest faces, had a room with the grandest view over the ski slopes and Almaty in the distance, ate excellent food, and in general felt like a princess. Shymbulak has a nice variety of slopes, neatly groomed, and relaxing places where you can hang out, chilling to house music.
Next place – Ak-Bulak – turned out to be exciting for quite another reason, the weather. Heavy snowfall made this little place quite fun. There were easy slopes at the bottom, however more challenges higher up, especially considering the fog that made it difficult to see where the slope actually was…and I ended up skiing together with a friendly guy from the ski patrol.
Elik-Sai is something else! At this powder heaven I became friends with kindred spirits from Almaty with whom I had the best time ever! Thank you Aliya! This hidden gem does not provide its visitors with any modern facilities, however that perfect powder feeling that a lot of us ski freaks long for. The tow lift consisted of a rope, to which you attach your borrowed portable “lift” with a kind of a spanner fastening. After getting off, you tie the “lift” around your waist, bring it with you down, and use it when it’s time to go back up again. (First time for me to see a construction like this.)
Time for a summary of 2017. So many things to be thankful for, and so many to worry about. Personally, I have experienced a year of so many overwhelming things that times for reflection have been necessary. The move to a new address, where I have found a new home, a peaceful place where I can relax and enjoy fantastic times with wonderful members of family and friends. The challenge of new assignments at work – thankful for the trust given to me, and for opportunities to be able to make a difference. Travels, to places where I felt truly welcomed; Sochi, Russia – What a fantastic skiing experience! Impressed by all friendly encounters, by the helpful people that crossed my path, by how welcoming the hotel was, also towards four-legged friends of their guests… Siem Reap, Cambodia – Finally I got to see Angkor! In the middle of the chaos of moving home, I took this time-out, and do not regret that decision for a minute. The Vatican – I doubt that it would happen twice, to be invited to experience the humbling event of a “Consistoro”. I was fortunate to be able to participate in the Papal Basilica of St. Peter, when Sweden’s first cardinal was inaugurated. Hard to explain in words what it felt like to be there. Astana, Kazakhstan – little had I expected to be so charmed by the experiences in this fascinating place, but I was. Mund, Switzerland – hiking in the mountains like Heidi. Belize – horseback riding in the jungle. London, the UK – Who can turn down an invitation to the Houses of Parliament? I certainly couldn’t, and experienced very interesting discussions during Parliament week. This leads to the many things one can worry about… The world seems to be shaky. There are reasons to open ones eyes to so many things affecting us all. Leaders of the world have agendas that are not always easy to follow. All human beings need hope, and something I would like to remind us of, is the fact that so many countries signed the Paris climate change agreement, and hopefully we can all encourage our leaders to stick to good initiatives like that, and also be better role models ourselves in the process. In an article by The Guardian, Sir David Attenborough points out signs of hope, that we are moving in the right direction when it comes to the way we think around environmental issues. He points out that human beings are out of touch with the natural world, and therefore don’t see the effect we are having. In connection to the Paris agreement, he also mentions however; “I would like to think the reason that political figures can adopt that sort of policy, which they know will be at a cost to their national economies, is that they are beginning to realise that people worldwide wish for that happen because they wish to protect their natural world.” Let us hope he is right! How can we continue to move in the right direction? In my opinion; education, education, education…
2018…the year of the Dog. I was born in the year of the Dog…so what can go wrong?! I am staying positive and passionate, and wish you all the very best for the coming year! Thank you for taking the time to take a look at my blog! I hope that it is a little piece of inspiration, that my pictures can contribute to showing the beauty of the world and make you go; “… and I think to myself, what a wonderful world…”
Happy New Year!
Just a little taste of Astana, host of the 2017 World Expo.