I flew into Almaty, Kazakhstan after a particularly stressful ordeal (see 'New Adventures' section) in the Samara (Russia) airport. However, despite the rough start, Kazakhstan turned out to be incredible and pretty much unlike anything I could have imagined or expected. I spent my time in the country in the general vicinity of the Almaty region. Originally, I hoped to get around a bit more and see more places, but infrastructure in Kazakhstan isn't so great outside the big cities and the country is huge, with vast open steppes, so I ended up staying in the same area.
That said, there was so much to do and see around Almaty that there was never a dull moment. Quickly I befriended a few people from my hostel, as well as a local girl named Lera (who joined us after she heard us all speaking English in a supermarket), and together, we wandered the city, ventured into the surrounding mountains, and even went to a local music festival. One thing I can assure though, I'll definitely be back and I'll see more of the country then.