Over another border, into another Lada Taxi, no AC, 40+ degree’s, it was hot, it was still mostly desert outside. Upon arrival to Nukus we checked in to a nice hotel room, a really nice hotel room, we can’t remember the last time we saw a nice hotel room. It was from here that our 12 day Uzbek adventure would begin.
Early next morning we climbed into the back of a massive SUV, swinging by the local market to change our 200$’s into millions of SOM on the black market.
Then we commenced the Aral Sea “Extreme tour” for thousands of miles we drove along the bottom of the former sea bed, visiting villages in decline, abandoned ships, ancient monuments and dilapidated airfields, until finally we reached the salty shores of the Aral Sea, totally alone, we camped the night under starry skies.
From the Aral Sea we drove to the ancient city of Khiva, with it’s adobe brick fortified walls and blue tiled minarets arriving in Khiva felt like walking onto a film set.
The heat so intense it was difficult to leave our adorable guest house so early mornings and late evenings were dedicated to exploring the town. It was then onto the touristy town of Bukhara to admire the Madrassa’s and Mosque’s. Here, unfortunately, Anna become very ill (everyone seemed ill, even the locals) and for a while our planned journey by train to Samarkand was not looking great, but as luck would have it an Iranian Doctor just so happened to be staying at our hotel, he supplied some med’s and then travelled with us to Samarkand. Amir very quickly became a good friend, being able to speak Farsi and understanding the history of the local area, he taught us a great deal and gave us access to many areas we would never have discovered, spending time with Amir was an experience in itself, we were lucky to have met such a true gentleman, Amir gave us an insight into what being in Iran could be like, we kept hearing about how hospitable the Iranian people are and even though we wouldn’t get to visit Iran on this quest, at least we got to have a tiny Iranian experience in Samarkand…….within 24 hours Amir was asking for his medicine back….It was in Samarkand that we perhaps saw some of the most stunning architecture on the silk road, at the Registan to be precise.
Our final train journey in Uzbekistan took us to the capital of Tashkent, an awful place that we couldn’t wait to leave. We got our Typhoid jabs as quickly as we could then stuffed ourselves into another Lada Taxi for an excruciatingly long journey through the Fergana Valley, to the border with Kyrgyzstan.
Click the interactive map to see the places we visited during our twelve days in Uzbekistan.
1) The Aral Sea extreme tour can not be put into words, for what the eyes see the brain can not comprehend, swimming in the salty waters and camping on the desolate shore is a true “one-off” experience.
2) Meeting Amir in Bukhara and having the pleasure of spending our 3 days in his company in Samarkand.
3) The rich silk road architecture, fantastic stimulation for imagining the past.
4) Melons really don’t get any better than in central Asia
1) Enduring the extreme hot temperatures of Uzbek desert up to 60 °C
2) Wasting our time and money in the capital city, Tashkent.
3) Anna’s delli belly part 2
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