Day 86: The magical city of Samarkand
Samarkand Travel Blog› entry 121 of 260 › view all entries
Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Tim & Wim (Belgium)
Samarkand. The almost mythical capital of the silk road. The name of this city evokes images of slow moving caravans, travelling through the desert under a scorching hot sun. Well, I arrived by train today. But other than replacing a camel for a train carriage, in terms of comfort, speed and scorching heat this was as close as I could be to historic Silk Road travel. Although... I doubt the Silk Road caravans had pop music blaring loudly from their TVs...
After Bukhara and Tashkent I no longer trusted the Lonely Planet for lodging recommendations, so instead I had used the Thorn Tree travellers forum to find a place to stay: Emir B&B. A nice quiet location behind one of the major sights in town, cheap price and very comfortable.
It was run by such lovely people. I needed to change some money in order to pay for the taxi I had taken from the train station. However, rather than working out how much money I needed to change, they simply borrowed me the money to pay off the taxi, so that we could sort out the money matters later while enjoying a cup of tea.
I strolled around the centre for a while, having a peek at the sights of the famous Registan. It was incredibly hot in the middle of the day, so I took refuge in a shady chaikhana for lunch and a few drinks. I figured I'd better leave serious sightseeing for tomorrow morning and escaped the heat for the rest of the day by updating my blog in my hotel room.
When I was in Ashgabat last week, I had met two Belgian travellers who are travelling from Belgium to Mongolia by car. We had kept in touch and met up for beers. We discussed the options of me hitching a ride with them into Tajikistan. Although I had initially planned to spend more time in Uzbekistan, I had managed to visit pretty much everything I wanted to visit already. And by joining them to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, I would not have to worry about cross-border traffic between the countries (which doesn't seem to exist) and I'd have more time in Tajikistan.
So we agreed to stay in Samarkand for sightseeing tomorrow and leave together the day after tomorrow. I love it when a plan comes together.