Day 84: Finally on the train again
Bukhara Travel Blog› entry 119 of 260 › view all entries
Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Kevin (USA)
So I had changed my plans a little. Rather than take the obvious route from Bukhara to Samarkand, I had decided to go to Tashkent instead and then sort of backtrack to Samarkand afterwards. In my mind it all made perfect sense.
First off, this would enable me to take an overnight train to Tashkent. Something I'd much rather did than another one of those taxi rides from hell.
Secondly, I had met a couple of Belgians in Ashgabat who were travelling from Belgium to Mongolia by car.
And even if this wouldn't help me with the Kyrgyzstan situation, at least it would be a nice experience to hitch a ride with two overlanders.
So this was a bit of unexpected efficient travel. While I had no intention of zipping through Uzbekistan the way I had done in Ukraine, it was nice to skip a hotel night and do some overnight travelling.
This gave me another full day to spend in Bukhara. I did another walk around the old centre and visited the carpet museum.
The story behind the place was nicer than the place itself. The museum displaying carpets and prayer mats was a bit dull and rather resembled a souvenir shop.
I bumped into Kevin again and we went for a bite to eat at the Minzifa café, where I'd had lunch yesterday as well. This is a lovely place with an extensive menu which consists of a fusion of Uzbek, Russian and European dishes.
As it was too hot to do anything else, I spent the rest of the afternoon in the lobby of one of the more luxury hotels in town, breaking in to their wi-fi and updating my blog.
In the early evening I took a taxi to the train station, which is 10 kilometres away in the town of Kagan. I was happy to be on the train again. It was like the Trans-Siberian Railway all over again, with babushka's selling home made snacks on the platform. Uzbekistan still uses the antique Russian carriages which were left on their tracks when the Soviet Union fell. I was in for a shock though. These old carriages don't have air-conditioning! And the train had been standing on the shunting yard all day, so the carriages were steaming hot. And the fact that the train was completely full only added to the temperature. I'd not thought of this. All the trains I had taken so far had been in spring, when it wasn't too hot, and the two trains in Iran had had air-con.
As the train started rolling there was some mechanical air circulation, but each time we stopped the carriage immediately became unbearably hot again.
My fellow travellers were three very nice Uzbek men who didn't speak a word of English. However, they did understand the word “Golandia” very well. Holland was playing the quarter final in the football world cup tonight they all seemed to be rooting for my country.