May 122010
 

We’ve made it to Burkhara in Uzbekistan. The streets in Tashkent were as wide as the best of them in Paris. It’s a very green city, but it looks to be getting less green as trees were getting chopped down all around us eating lunch (a touchy subject in Tashkent – more soon).

We took the train to Burkhara this morning and spent 7 hours on a comfy train with shedloads of room for luggage. None of this 2 seats facing in each direction and a table in the middle – we had two seats, and the space you’d expect another two seats to be in the UK were free to put your luggage with no seats there.
Today is the first day I’ve really felt like I’m away travelling as we wandered around artistans and craftsmen – it reminded me a bit of Hoi An in Vietnam. I’m trying desperately not to buy stuff and think of shipping it home to my imaginery house back home! Of course there are plenty of madrassah’s, minarets and mosques and for once I have been really impressed with them (they don’t usually ‘float my boat’).
As well as that the food’s been great and people are super friendly.
Every car was a taxi in Tashkent! Every night we’ve had lifts home from punters and they are far more efficient and regular than the Edinburgh taxis – they almost envisage the exact point you want a lift and pull up and offer you one.
We did see some pretty eye opening (or head opening!) heads of something for sale at the Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent this morning. If you’re reading this over breakfast stop now….
It was literally a dozen heads which I assume were cows, lying on the tarmac, quite literally with their heads cut open. I saw the guy throwing some skins into the back of his car boot as well……I did warn you. When I get back online I’ll try to put pics up too 🙂

Plans at the moment are to leave here on Thursday and get back to Tashkent, take a day trip to the mountains, then we have a taxi booked to take us into Kyrgyzstan on Sunday, spending the night in Fergana Valley.
I must admit I’m typing this about 80km from the north Afghan border and another 80km would take us down to Masir-e-Sharif. I’d just love to head down there again, but time doesn’t allow. I’m looking forward to keeping a track of a guy in the guesthouse who is heading through Afghanistan independently next week as part of some grand overlanding plan.

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