Countdown is well and truly here! We take off tomorrow morning and arrive in Tashkent Sunday eve.
If you’re like me – you probably only have vague idea of where each of the Stans are. They were of course part of USSR until 1991. I’ve included a map of the region just so you start to get your bearings. So our vague plan – is Uzbekistan the Kazakh then Kyrgy then Tajikistan. Given the distances involved it will at best be dipping our toes in the water …with just a taste of each country, whetting our appetite for future adventures.
So for next few weeks we’ll be cycling along the old silk road through Uzbekistan, hopefully taking in Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. It sounds remote and isolated but there’s 30 million people living there with a population density of more than 22 times that of Australia. Like all the Stans the dominant religion is Islam, so we’re destined for some absolutely stunning mosques. It is a police state that’s harshly governed, but don’t panic Mum, everyone also says it is an extremely friendly country with hospitality part of every day life.
So the bike(s) are packed – and yes my bike has a name! Adrienne will be on her Thorn, which is well worn in but also has some new equipment to make this journey just a little bit simpler. There were so many great names for my bike – and I had to test a few out as I rode along Vivien, (drawing from French and Latin alive, live), Wee Wendy (am sure bike and I will soon become one), Petal (a play on pedal of course,) Olga (Russian princess), Peri (as in peripatetic), Blackbird (flying along), Arash (Persian for bright arrow), Roshni (Persian for shining) and that’s just a sample.
At the end of the day it felt like the bike chose her own name.. Peri , so we’ll see if that sits right and sticks as we travel along.
So now its just final packing – passports and then sitting back closing our eyes and landing into 100 days in the Stans. See you there.
Everything is packed, Peri in her box and that mess above now neatly organised in multiple packing cells. We’ll see how long that order lasts 🙂