Part two – Head west they said..

The old fortress across the river
Crossing the pontoon

Our feet and bikes are caked in mud. The space between the mudguards and tyre jammed with thick mud. It takes every bit of strength to push through it … of course there was the option to leave the bike by the road and just walk in. One of us did that.

Gyaur kala – one of 50 mud brick fortresses still surging but crumbling
The bike give you some sense of the size of the fortress

As we climb aboard I realise I left left our Satellite tracker back at our campsite. An hour plus ride or hitch. I opt to hitch. For the first half an hour I think I have made the wrong decision- then finally a car comes and stops. It is a grandfather and his granddaughter. I climb in. About 5 kilometres later I am dropped off – he is turning off, his grand daughter starts crying – she is about 18 months old – and he can’t get me out quick enough. Not long after another car stops. It is full. Two men in front, 3 in back plus small boy. The somehow make room for me – four grown men and one boy in the back. I am dropped back at the covered market area. The stall holder waves and is holding up my tracking device!

Meanwhile back with the bikes, Adrienne is patiently knitting

A taxi takes me back to the pontoon but won’t go any further. Thankfully, there are motorbikes with side carts and I’m invited on for the last few kilometres.

My ride back across the pontoon

The rain has all stopped and we head off in search of water – by now our supplies are getting low. As the roads dry, the dust starts swirling.

There are mines probably sand mines along the road and a few camels too
The scene looks a little like something from Mad Max
Trucks are pretty good – there’s almost no road trains and they generally move over

Just as our water runs out we reach the Uzbek version of a roadhouse. More eggs, tomato and cucumber salAd and bread and lots of water. It’s getting hot now. Only about 80 kms to go and it will be on the main road so we foolishly think that will be quick.

We hit the trifecta- bad road surface, headwind and hills.

The highway

As are lucky to have long hours of daylight. Sun rises just after 5am and sets not long before 9pm. It was a long hot dry and dusty afternoon and evening.

A mausoleum along the highway
The earth is dry and cracked – any rain just runs off
Cyclist and truck sharing the roads that is often three vehicles abreast going in various directions!

Finally at around 9pm we roll into Nukus. Michel is at the hostel to greet us. He excitedly shares our exploits with other travellers. We are hot, very tired, dirty and hungry. It is great to have a helping hand to find some food before we eat wash and crash.

We have two days – and an amazing collection of Russian art held in what is known as the lost Louvre of Uzbekistan

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/may/21/lost-louvre-uzbekistan-savitsky-museum-banned-art-stalin

Recognise this?

The museums are an art lovers paradise! One more day absorbing it all then we’re on a train for about 21 hours from here back to Tashkent.

8 thoughts on “Part two – Head west they said..

  1. Wens, wonderful journal (part 1& 2). Hooley dooley, I don’t want to sound like your mother BUT…I wasn’t entirely comfortable with you hitching a ride. Loved the amazing photos to go with your amazing tale. You girls are made of steel!!

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    1. Don’t worry Janey – there are places I wouldn’t and won’t hitchhike (Many part of Aus for example) but here feels absolutely safe as houses. People friendly curious helpful and there is no sexual overtones anywhere. And hitching was the best way to go – this time 😎❤️ Really lovely to get your messages xxx

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  2. Hi Wendy I was going to say something like Jane. You are pretty brave hitching and taking all forms of transport from strangers. I can only imagine how a long hot shower and a comfy bed must feel like at the end of some of those hot dusty days. Great pics in part 1 of the old city walls. I bet they could tell some stories. Stay cool and hydrated. Xx

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    1. Thanks Lisbet – feels incredibly safe here and though the driving sometimes does scare me – it feels like the drivers know the road really well. The wall is amazing – could really do a blog just on that! Certainly more than enough pictures to fill a blog 🙂 a shower definitely very very welcomed – the beds here no more comfy than my sleeping mat – but I do love a clean crisp sheet 😊. Am slowly learning that our past travel do not dictate what lies ahead. In most places we have been able to get water everywhere- but here there was a 50km stretch of nothing so will be better prepared from now on xx

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