Opening a door to Kazakhstan: French tourists explore the wilderness of the Ridder Mountains


NUR-SULTAN – Packing their bags for a 10-day trip beginning February 25 and continuing until March 5, a group of five French tourists did not expect the eastern city of Ridder to Kazakhstan amazes them as much with its majestic snow-capped peaks. mountains.

According to Modesto, he and his friends found the Kazakhs friendly and hospitable. Photo credit: Eric Modesto

In an interview with The Astana Times, one of the tourists, Eric Modesto, said he was interested in visiting Kazakhstan because he came across photos of the country’s landscapes. “I first saw the photo of Shymbulak Mountain Resort, but its mountains were too high for us. Then I discovered Ridder, searched for information and found a guide from Almaty, who speaks both Russian and English,” he noted.

Modesto has been skiing since he was two years old, so he shares his hobby with friends while traveling and learning about new cultures, foods and people.

Eric Modesto has been skiing since the age of two. Photo credit: Eric Modesto

To date, they have visited the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, the Sochi Mountains, Norway and Japan, but they particularly liked the snow in Kazakhstan. “It’s very cold in Ridder in the winter and the snow is always fresh and cold due to the sub-zero temperature, so the ‘snow quality’ is superb,” ​​Modesto noted.

“We are engaged in mountaineering and freeriding, so all we did was ride while enjoying the beauty of nature. So we are absolutely delighted with our trip and tired after such a hectic series of days,” he said.

Modesto pointed out that Ridder is a completely different world, reminding him of the Europe of 40 years ago: the architecture and the buildings are very old, the cars too, and buying something in the store requires the help from a seller.

“In European markets and supermarkets, people serve themselves. Also, we were very surprised by the service in the restaurants: the dishes are not served together, but as soon as the dish is done. In France, meals are served together at a time,” Modesto said.

Altai Mountains located near the town of Ridder. Photo credit: Eric Modesto

As for traditional meals, it was not shocking that Kazakhstanis still eat horse meat while the French ate it 20-30 years ago. “For example, I remember when I was a kid we ate horse steak once a week. However, Europeans stopped eating horse meat about a decade ago and now we mostly eat beef. So that was no problem for me,” he said.

Mentioning his future plans, Modesto said he would like to come to Ridder in the summer to hike in the mountains and see bears living there.

Modesto said he and his friends enjoy mountaineering and freeriding. Photo credit: Eric Modesto

He loves cycling, he would like to try it in Kazakhstan and organize bike rides for amateurs. “I think your country has great potential for the development of sports like skiing, cycling and mountain hiking. Europeans are looking for such ‘wild’ places,” Modesto concluded.


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