Dushanbe > Samarkand
Finally it was time for us to leave Dushanbe – we don’t usually stay in one place for so long but have been waiting for the entry date on our Uzbekistan visa to arrive, and today is the day.
Lady washing her carpets in the drain
We got pulled over again with the fake speed photo, but again we managed to get out of it,
We have heard so much about how tough the Uzbek border, that they go through all your photos, check your computers, examine all medications, go through every bag and all its contents, but for us it was very straightforward, so that was good.
On a border crossing day, we usually plan a shorter ride as we never know how long it will take us to get through all the documentation, and then what the condition of the road will be like?
Hey mister mister – change money
This chunk of money equals $20US – 10,000 som = $2.40US and the largest note is 10,000.
The roads are pavement but pretty bumpy in places.
We stopped at a chay (tea) house. The host brought us meat, onions, bread, and kefir with our tea, then wouldn’t accept any money for it – so generous.
It wasn’t long before we were passing over the Timur Pass – high desert mountains, no vegetation – we loved it, so different from Tajikistan.
Stayed at Boysun for the night. This soccer pitch outside our hotel was in use just about the whole time we were there, except for the hot part of the afternoon.
Always time for a photo op – the kids just loved sitting on the bike – this family runs the hotel.
The challenge for Uzbekistan is getting petrol. Most of the vehicles here run on gas and there are a lot of dead petrol stations along the road. We fully fuelled up before we left Tajikistan, complete with our 5ltr containers plus 4 extra 1.5ltr water bottles filled with 92. Our first night we asked the hotel manager where we could get some benzine – he knew a guy (of course), and next thing he was arriving with water and coke bottles filled with petrol. It’s all 80 octane here too, so we made sure we had our tanks half full of 92 so as to mix it.
Next day we headed to Shahrisabz – temps here have been as high as 50 lately, but for us today it was about 39/40.
On the way we stopped for a break to get out of the sun at a chay house, becoming a bit of a habit but its just so good to get out of the heat of the sun for a while.
At our hotel we met up with a guide – actually we weren’t even off our bikes and he approached us. Ended up doing a tour with him and 4 other tourists in the hotel – 2 backpackers from France, a cyclist from Ireland, and another female cyclist from Sth Africa but has been living in Europe for a number of years.
This town was the birthplace of the great Timur, a powerful ruler from the early 14thC. He built an amazing Palace here 700 years ago, this was just the gateway, the rest has been destroyed and is now a beautiful park. For a bit of perspective you can see me standing at the base of it on the left.
It was full of people once the sun went down and it was cooler. The kids love zooming around in these remote control cars.
We had a fun night with the group.
And so on to Samarkand