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Peak Belukha (Beluha) climbing 4506m in 2004. Karatyurek, Kucherla, Shambala, Akkem.
 

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2006. EUROPEAN HOLIDAYS
July-August 2006. 3 weeks in Europe.

July-August 2006. 3 weeks in Europe.

This year 2006 we were waiting impatiently for the summer holidays because we were invited by my friends to visit Europe for one month. My friends - Jean-Claude Legros and Evelyne Felix, his wife - are from Belgium and we know each other many years already. In 2004 they were invited by me to visit Russia and we had a beatiful trip to Altai mountains, where we had a climbing to the highest peak of that region - Belukha (Beluha) Mt. 4506 m. After that travel I was invited to visit their country - Belgium. In 2005 this plan was skipped, but in 2006 we could find the needed time and some money for this dream of childhood.
To get a visa to Belgium (we were asking for Shengen visa) in Novosibirsk was not too easy. First of all we were obliged to use Belgium general consulate in Moscow because there are no any other departments in Russia. But we were lucky to have an agreement with their staff to send all needed documents via post not visiting them personally. In total we spent half a year to gather all recuired documents and papers and al last we got this travel visa for me and my wife, Zhanna (Jane).
So, in July we packed up our rucksacks and took a train from Novosibirsk (Russia) to Almaty (Kazakhstan). From Almaty we had a car to Karakol (the eastern part of Issyk-Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan) via Kegen town on the Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan border. We went to Kyrgyzstan first, because we decided to leave our daughter Lyuba with our parents while we have a trip to Europe. This choice was the best for that time - Issyk-Kul region has a perfect climate for the health of our daughter.
In 19th of July we had a flight from Kyrgyzstan's main airport "Manas" (Bishkek) to Moscow, Sheremetyevo-2 (Russia), where we had a next flight to Brussels. Upon landing in Brussels' airport we were met by Jean-Claude and were brought by his car (Renault Megane - good medium car) to his house in Awan - a settlement near Aywaille city.
From the landing in Brussels in the first day and to the last day we had there we tried to see as much as it possible. Those three weeks we actually spent there we had no any rest, because it was pity to have that - we were walking around and kkeping an eye on all what was happening around - the style of European life was really interesting for us.
During this travel we had time to visit Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland and Holland (Netherlands). And the general effect of this trip is very positive and that's clear for us now why so many people try to move to Europe leaving the countries where they live now. In our opinion now - Russia is behind the current economical and social situation of Europe on 50 years, not to mention Central Asian republics like Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan...
That's all in short above. We have so many emotions after European holidays so there is no enough time and paper to describe it. We had a camera with us and it was working all the time so we have a lot of pictures. The best photographs of Europe and our holidays I post here. I have added descriptions to every picture, so you can understand what every picture is about and where it was taken. Click on the photo and the new window with larger picture and full description will be opened...

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We had a lunch stop in one beautiful cafe on the way from Almaty to Kyrgyzstan. There was a garden with roses and Tien-Shan's blue firs. On the photo: Me, Lyuba and our friend Sergey, he has met us in Almaty with his car and brought us to Issyk-Kul.
On the way Almaty - Issyk-Kul Lake. In the Cafe.
Charyn river. This place is also on the way from Almaty to Issyk-Kul if you go via Kegen. We found this place really wonderful.
Charyn river. On the way Almaty - Issyk-Kul lake.
Lyuba, me and Sergey are against a background of river and Charyn canyon.
We and Charyn river. Almaty - Issyk-Kul road.
This is a house of my friend Jean-Claude (he is on the photo in the door). His car is here too - Renault Megane. The dog - 'Pasha' - is very kind and playful (his favourite game is to bring slipper thrown by somebody out).
The house is built from stones and very large. We were living on the 2nd floor.
The house of Jean-Claude in Awan (Aywaille).
Sitting-room. The door further is to the kitchen. On the photo Zhanna is looking through photographs of Jean-Claude - he has a big box of it after many travels around the world.
In the house. Sitting-room.
Working room (office) of Jean-Claude.
Office of Jean-Claude.
We were lucky with the weather. The weather like on the picture is usual for the every summer in there. But we had it a few times only, because the summer of 2006 was dry, hot and sunny over the Europe.
The rainy day. Awan.
We were walking around one evening there and noticed some unusial brown sticks on the ground. There were a lot of slugs there! We have never seen snails like that - we have others.
Slug (snail). After the rain.
One day we were eating these snails for the dinner. This is a usual meal in tis part of Europe. Snails were big, "fat", with garlic sauce cooked in oven. That was unusual but tasteful.
Edible (eatable) snails.
How could I miss to taste such a meal? Of course I ate all what I was offered. Thanks to garlic sauce it was really not bad.
Snails. I am tasting.
We have visited our friends in Brussels. Friends - Bernard and Myriam - invited us to have some city sightseeing excursion, moreover in this day 21 of July Brussels was celebrating his National Day. On the photo: I am against a background of huge construction "the Atomium" of carbon structure or iron atom.
Hello from Bussels.
Famous place of Belgium, Brussels - "Pissing Boy" (Manneken Pis). The man near me trying to look similar as boy.
Brussels. Pissing boy (Manneken Pis). Belgium.
The main square of Brussels - Grand Place. There are a lot of people there - mostly tourists of course. We have met a russian speaking group here - the tourists from Ukraine.
Brussels. Grand Place Square.
We were embarrassingly surprised with the beauty of square's and buildings' architecture.
Brussels. Grand Place Square again.
Walking in the city we found a tea shop where we could buy any tea from the world - more than 400 kinds. We bought one tropical tea for us - it was very tasteful, we tested it upon return at home.
Brussels. Tea shop.
That was a National Day and we were watching how different aircrafts with great noise were taking part in the fly-past.
Brussels. Fly-past
I think the local people like all pissing.
Brussels. Pissing dog.
On the way back from Brussels to Awan we visited the regional center - town Liege. Jean-Clause had some work in one garden here.
Liege. Jean-Claude on the work.
We have visited my friend Eugen in Germany. After USSR was broken he with his parents moved to Germany from Kyrgyzstan. Frim that moment we had no any contacts with him. Only one month before our European trip I have found his address and other contacts. He was happy to meet us and we spent 2 days with him in his new house in Pirmasens (town is not far from France border).
Germany. Pirmasens. Friend's house.
I have visited Eugen's parents there - they live in the same town.
Germany. Pirmasens. Eugen's parents.
The main square of Pirmasens.
Germany. Pirmasens. Main square.
Eugen offered us a small excusrions arond his area and thanks to him we visited a few interesting historical places. One of them is Heidelberg Castle.
Germany. Heidelberg Castle.
Hidelberg Castle is situated above the town and the good view of the streets and houses is from the fortifications (walls).
Germany. Heidelberg Castle. Town view.
Castle Heidelberg has an old (considered to be the first) drag store and laboratory. M.V.Lomonisov was studying in the university here. The first university of Germany was founded in Heidelberg in 1386. There is a biggest barrel / wood there. We took a picture against a background of the wood, but it wasn't a biggest.
Germany. Heidelberg Castle. The wood.
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