A visit to a silk road jewel
Bukhara Travel Blog› entry 9 of 13 › view all entries
Bukhara is one of the best preserved of the ancient silk road cities. It sits in Western Uzbekistan, and was a vital part of the road network that stretched from the shores of the Mediterranean to China via Meshad, Merv, Bukhara, Samarkand, and Kashgar.
Our visit to Bukhara had several purposes. First of all, my wife and I had lived there for two years, and we still own a beautifully restored courtyard house in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. We love the place and wanted to spend some time there again. But also, we wanted our friends in the city to meet our youngest, Silas, who had turned one just a few months before.
One of the most wonderful things about Bukhara is the network of winding alleys that are too narrow for cars and that open up unexpectedly to quiet reflecting pools of water surrounded by trees.
We spent most of our days visiting friends. Each visit is invariable made into a multi-course meal, no matter what time of day, and no matter how many other homes we may have visited that day. It was like having thanksgiving lunch five times a day for a week straight! We had a wonderful time sitting on the foor of 200-year-old homes with elaborately carved ceilings visiting with our neighbors and friends.
The weather in November was perfect for this trip, and the boys loved running down the alleys on our way to the different homes. Because there are no cars, they had much more freedom than they usually do at their tender age, and they took full advantage of it. But every evening we would find their pockets stuffed with sweats and dried fruit. Anytime we were not looking, friendly grandmas would fill their pockets with all kinds of treats, which they would proceed to eat at any moment they were not sitting down at a meal. It was children's paradise, and we decided that a week of candy and snacks would do no long term damage to our active boys.
We were sad to have to leave the city. We wished we could stay for longer, but unfortunately, as happens with every good trip, time is never enough, and it was time to move on. But an adventure awaited us! We were off to Turkmenistan! We had one backpack for all four of us (we travel light) and a new dictatorship to discover.