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You have to dream of peaks!

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Author: Konstantin Kostyuk, Moscow, Russia
Teamleader: Taras Pozdnii
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Kilimanjaro is a dream from my childhood, along with myths about Africa, with books about exotic animals. This is the symbol of Africa! That's why my heart sank when I thought of climbing Kilimanjaro. Especially since it is a high mountain, fairly easy, and also extremely beautiful - all the advantages at once.

I found a company that takes me upstairs, and then more than once was grateful that my choice fell on Kuluar. Only here they offered to combine the hike in the mountains with the Safari program and vacation in Zanzibar, and at the best price. Our group was especially lucky - we were to be led by the founder of the company, Taras Pozdnii, and this is a guarantee of interesting communication and a fascinating program. We were lucky with the group, we went together with Siberians, which means that the preparation, the humor and the mood were at a high level.

It was my first hike in the mountains at this altitude. Age, however, does not help (and I am 50), but it does not scare me off either. I saw with my own eyes real pensioners, although it is difficult to imagine how they managed to climb the mountain. I had to devote time to physical training, to collect my ammunition. I lacked experience. I miscalculated with my sleeping bag and I got a little chilly at the altitude. It was not warm in Africa, but at the summit we encountered subzero cold and wind knocking us off our feet. We climbed the summit, walked all night and caught the very dawn! It was a wonderful picture, but it was just there that the mountain sickness caught up with me, and I did not want to face it. You should not be afraid of it, but it gives you unpleasant feelings, it is a fact.

Africa is a miracle! And a miracle at every step. This is the change of climatic zones - from the lush jungle, through the twisting taiga and mossy tundra, to a completely Martian landscape of bare rocks. There's the abundance of savannah animals, of which there are countless. It is, of course, people - smiling chocolate faces, women with huge vats on their heads, savannah children, Maasai. African programs are interesting because everything here is alive, not a museum, the Africans let you yourself join their ranks: when they made coffee, under the collective African dances, when they changed their clothes in the Masai and participated in the wedding ceremony. Every minute in Africa is a surprise, exotic and, at the same time, extreme.

We were able to get up close and personal with African culture by going to a nightclub and checking out modern African girls. We went to the markets and the market stalls, which is what life is all about. You can meet so many people only in India or China. This life is boiling, though to a European, it's very simple! Cafes with normal coffee can be counted on the fingers of a large city. For a sophisticated person all this exoticism will bring great pleasure.

But most importantly, we saw ourselves. Climbing mountains allows us to look at ourselves from a new perspective. One does not just go up, but overcomes oneself. All these people around are not climbers, but those who need to overcome, who need to go up. After such a climb, all the goals in life are set at a new height. At least, this is what one thinks when slowly and already without strength one moves to storm the unreachable peak.

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