We managed to get up before the farmers this morning to the beautiful sight of the sun breaking through some low clouds as a bright red ball in the sky. After breakfast “bread and chocolate spread with some not-so-great coffee” we set out to knock off the last few kilometres into Bukhara. It was too hard to resist having a second breakfast when we found a shop selling giant loaves of fluffy white bread, just like you’d find in Europe or Canada and the first we’ve seen for a very long time. Soon we were rolling into the old city of Bukhara, a gorgeous place filled with ancient buildings, street markets, art galleries and leafy trees. It’s too bad we only have a month in Uzbekistan or we could happily spend quite a few days here.
In the afternoon we met Jungsun, our Korean host who’s teaching language classes. She’s kindly welcomed us into her home for a couple evenings and as we write this she’s cooking dinner. The smells are really making our mouths water!
The only small dilemma on our minds at the moment is the problem of registration in Uzbekistan. All tourists are supposed to have a docket which shows where they’ve spent the night. Normally we would get this at a hotel but obviously we don’t get anything if we use our tent or stay with friends. We’ve heard we could have troubles leaving Uzbekistan if all our nights aren’t accounted for. At the same time, we know plenty of people cycle across the country and the nature of cycle touring means you spend many nights in the middle of nowhere. There must be a solution here but we haven’t figured it out yet. What is really amazing is that no Uzbek official has told us about this requirement. We only know from Jungsun and from reading guidebooks. You’d think that something supposedly so important might be mentioned when you receive your visa or enter the country?
Postscript: On our second day in Bukhara we went to see Rakhima, Jungsun’s friend, and we watched her family making bread. Here’s the video:
9th April 2008 at 7:06 pm #
We went in Uzbekistan last year. When we left the country for Tajikistan (on the road to Dushanbe), at the border no one asked to us the ‘registrations’ of the hotels. The same thing is happened to our friend five months ago. We met other travellers and when they left the country no body asked the registration. Don’t worry about that. Have a nice trip! Patrizia and Claudio
9th April 2008 at 7:34 pm #
Glad to see that you got through Turkmenistan on schedule. I suppose you will be heading for Samarkand and Tashkent over the next few weeks. Your mention of registering your presence with the local authorities made me wonder if you make any contact with Canadian (or is it UK and German representatives) if you ever get to places where there are any ? We are now enjoying a few days of Spring-like weather with temperatures getting into the teens in the afternoon but still negative during the night. Should suit the maple-syrup producers.