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Reisverslag Uzbekistan – 1001 (Russian) nights
6 juni 2015
Uzbekistan – 1001 (Russian) nights
Our first stop was the city of Khiva which has an old city from the 1001 night stories: flying carpets, wise old man sipping tea and mighty shiny minarets (with tiny doors, in contrast to the very large old city gates). It is true ancient silk road romantics: high and even wider (mud) walls surround palaces, mosques, medrassas, small old houses and souvenir stalls. Entering the gate, you feel in different times as the old facades of these buildings tower above you, most with intricate patterns in bricks, blue tiles and blue mosaics or complex wood carved doors and pillars. Wandering the small streets that provide little shadow in the burning sun, it is hard to say in which medieval Muslim place you are exactly!
Modern Uzbekistan however also requires new skills from the local people – beyond playing the local variant of the guitar, drinking tea, trading goods and drawing small details on large buildings: counting lots of paper money very fast. The need for this skill is obvious from the large number of small notes with big numbers. A meal is about 30 000 Som, which we paid for in Khiva with notes of 1 000. Only later we discovered the much more practical 5 000 Som note, which so far seems to be the biggest one (worth about 1.2 Euro btw).
From Khiva, we went to Buchara city, a tour by car through the desert of seven hours. All hail air-conditioning!
Arriving in Buchara a very nice but also very busy Silk & Spices festival blocked the car’s way to the hotel. Carrying our luggage to the hotel we realized that Buchara was hotter than Khiva, nearing 40 at the height of the day. The spice market however did look very nice in historic Buchara, which has more of mix between the old centre and newer buildings and so is different from Khiva in layout. Those old bazaar buildings, medrassas and mosques are however all very beautiful (or: beautiful restored as most buildings are actually restored by the Soviets or by Uzbeks after independence – just as they were in Khiva and Samarkand). At the festival we were actually part of the fair in a way as many local people wanted to have pictured off/with us!
Even more, one lovely family invited us to their home for a home-cooked feast meal. That turned out to be a great evening with the father speaking Russian and his daughter in law (a respected English teacher) and her little sister (eleven years old) translating to English. However, as per local tradition, quite a few neighbors also showed up to the party and even the English teacher of the little girl came over to share more stories and good laughs. As you can imagine, the next day was all about recovery and slowly getting back into travel and sight-seeing mode. All in all, we really enjoyed and appreciated the wonderful hospitality and will not forget that evening for a very long time.
An old train brought us from Buchara to Samarkand and will tomorrow bring us to Tashkent, where we will spend a few more days before heading to the Fergana valley and into Kirghizstan.
Foto's bij verslag (8)
6 juni 2015 16:06 | Door: Marion van Wanrooij
Zo wat hebben jullie toch een geweldige tijd daar en wat leuk dat je thuis mocht dineren bij een familie in Kiva. Grappig dat iedereen met je op de foto wil, jullie westerlingen zijn ook vast een bezienswaardigheid.
6 juni 2015 16:13 | Door: Ronald van Wanrooij
Over deze reis. kun je nog heel erg lang navertellen. Geweldig.
6 juni 2015 17:42 | Door: Anny Prinsen
Zo mooi, zou ik ook willen doen zo'n reis. Hoe kan ik van het begin tot het eind meegenieten van jullie vakantie.
Anny P. van de Anny en Annie :-)
14 juni 2015 13:22 | Door: Maud Zuurbier
hallo Merel en Paul,
Wat een mooie reis genieten he !!!
Peter vertrekt over 14 dagen ik hoop zo dat ze het redden.