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: