Leaving Russia and entering Kazakhstan

Well we finally made it to Kazakhstan. It wasn't always easy, and there were times when I thought it would never happen. But we overcame the odds and we are now driving through the Kazakh steppe. And it's pretty wonderful and strangely beautiful. For me, Kazakhstan was always my destination, more so than Russia, Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan.
Our first nights wildcamping spot, off the main road
Crossing the border wasn't actually that difficult or arduous. We crossed out of Russia and had a bit of a laugh and joke with the guy tasked with checking if we had any guns, ammo or drugs. Then crossing into no mans land and onto the Kazakh bit, we were met with stern but efficient guards. All in all it took about 1.5 hours to Cross from Russia to Kazakhstan. Plus about an hour more if you include stopping to buy third party insurance in the last chance town in Russia. This ended up costing us about £18 for 30 days cover. Not sure it actually counts for anything, but fingers absolutely crossed we never need to use it. Not sure it actually counts for anything, but fingers absolutely crossed we never need to use it.

Kazakhstan has its own brand of choccy

Not sure if this is normal or they were off to a special event
A quick stop in the largish town of Semey to buy some water, chocolate and a pay as you go sim card. Pretty cheap really, 25Gb of data for about 9 quid.

A strange abandoned Kazakh caravan in the middle of nowhere
A fair bit cheaper than back home. And the women in the KCell shop spoke word-perfect English. In fact almost everyone we have spoken to so far has spoken great English. And, everyone we have interacted with has been ludicrously friendly, warm and welcoming, genuinely happy and shocked that we have ventured to their country, and interested to hear about our journey.

our Kazakh vehicle insurance in hand!
We found a lovely little wildcamping spot for the night, had hot showers next to our van (we pull the shower head out of the window to save faffing about with drying everything). We also had some visitors that evening, a Swiss couple called Martina and Dylan who stopped by to chat after seeing a UK van parked in the middle of nowhere.x They have been driving in Mongolia for a month and are now heading to Tajikistan. We chatted for ages, then they headed off to camp. We made some tea (food) and then watched the season 3 finale of The Americans.

So far, an amazing country. Next we head to Pavlodar and Astana.