We often think a journey begins when we board a plane (or ship or train or car) but perhaps it really begins when we arrive, body mind and spirit at our destination.
We arrived – bike boxes intact, along with the rest of the luggage. But it took a while for a minds to catch up. Within our first hour we had left a passport behind – thankfully a helpful soul had found us before we even noticed the passport was gone nor had we gone too far.
Like many places, negotiating the cost of a ride often takes longer than the ride itself. So after much discussion with a growing crowd of curious men we squeezed 2 bike boxes and Adrienne into a car not much bigger than a mini. I took the other car 🚗 – also small with the rest of the luggage. The ride was akin to a police chase, high speed, weaving in and out of traffic, veering at speed across lanes and in tunnels and fearing death. We both separately had visions of joining Princess Di. Thankfully bikes, Adrienne and I all arrived safe and sound and within minutes of each other.
The architecture is a real mix of style, both functional and astonishing
First impressions? Uzbeks are warm, friendly, generous and always keen to help. So generous at times you feel like you have been kidnapped. Yesterday we stopped for a rest from the day’s heat while searching for fuel for our camp stove. We were asked if we wanted to try some local food. Munisa – a local woman who was sitting in the same place we stopped – bought us food to try ( thankfully not meat) a lemony yoghurt and rice – surprisingly good and cooling on a hot day. Hours later we were still flying around in her family car along with husband, son and husbands brother all in search of fuel. We were finally driven home, fuel in hand and also given bread to take home. Today we went to Munisa’s school for a meet and greet.
Each day there has been a new story of hospitality and warmth.
Misha our local baker showed us how he make bread, placing each loaf (that word doesn’t seem right for the beautifully crafted bread he makes) on the wall and roof of the oven.
In addition to the people, there’s the markets, wonderful displays of dried fruits, fresh spices that waft their perfume throughout the market air, bread of every shape and size and more.
Of course our plan was to get about everywhere on our bikes but it thankfully took a few days before we put them together. So instead we had the opportunity to experience the subways. Wow – each one different, each one a different shade of spectacular.
So we’ve wandered the streets by foot, by subway and today by bike. That’s right we are finally back on two wheels. The wanderings have been delightful but now it’s time to hit the road jack.
Tomorrow we’re off to Samarkand – so will be off the air for a few days. We’re both looking forward to being on the road, sleeping in the tents and just being out of the city – even though it’s been wonderful. See you soon