An apology to Uzbekistan

The 5 day ride from Samarkand to the Tajik border taught me that I was wrong.

It turns out that the Uzbek countryside doesn’t just consist of either sand or cotton leading right up to the dead flat horizon. Myself and Hubert, another cyclist with the same bike as me (!), cycled through a landscape that was beautiful and varied, changing every 50 kilometres or so. Cool mountain passes led down into green valleys fed by plenty of ice cold streams to swim in, which, in turn, ebbed away into the occasional short stint of desert.

I was rather critical of the boring cycling in the west of the country in my previous post. So, Uzbekistan, I apologise. You’re not all bad.

The ride itself has been pretty routine, so here are some pictures from the ride that brought about this country’s redemption in my opinion.

Before leaving Samarkand, this would probably have been a contender for the best scenery cycled through in Uzbekistan.
Before riding out to Tajikistan, this would probably have been a contender for the best scenery cycled through in Uzbekistan.
But immediately after leaving Samarkand the silhouettes of mountains appeared in the distance.
But immediately after leaving Samarkand the silhouettes of mountains appeared in the distance.
Streams flowing down narrow green valleys led us to the first mountain pass. The contrast between the green, shady valley floor and the brown, lifeless dirt higher up really demonstrate what a difference a bit of water makes in this arid country.
Streams flowing down narrow green valleys led us to the first mountain pass. The contrast between the green, shady valley floor and the brown, lifeless dirt higher up really demonstrate what a difference a bit of water makes in this arid country.
Meanwhile the traffic, consisting of about 4 car models due to insanely high import duties, kept beeping.
Meanwhile the traffic, consisting of about 4 car models due to insanely high import duties, kept beeping at us.

IMG_4591

And the million dollar question, ‘Otkuda?’, continued to be asked by the locals at any given opportunity.
And the million dollar question, ‘Otkuda?’, continued to be asked by the locals at any given opportunity.
We ate Samsa at any given opportunity. It’s basically a Cornish pasty and cooked inside these beehive-shaped ovens by the roadside.
We ate samsa whenever it was available. It’s basically a Cornish pasty and cooked inside these beehive-shaped ovens by the roadside.
Sometimes the desert returned. A combination of the wind and gigantic herds of cattle turned it into a dustbowl.
Sometimes the desert returned. A combination of the wind and gigantic herds of cattle turned it into a dustbowl.
Luckily were able to find water to cool off in, even though we had to share it.
Luckily were able to find water to cool off in, even though we had to share it.
Not before long, though, the scenery and road improved and life was good.
Not before long, though, the scenery and road improved and life was good.
IMG_4624
Very good.
Days on the saddle were long and we often rode until dark.
Days on the saddle were long and we often rode until dark.
But the lack of light pollution revealed a stunning night sky to sleep under.
But the lack of light pollution revealed a stunning night sky to sleep under.
The daylight of the following morning often then revealed something stunning just meters away from our campsite that we would have otherwise missed if we kept to the road.
The daylight of the following morning often then revealed something stunning just meters away from our campsite that we would have otherwise missed if we kept to the road.
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One thought on “An apology to Uzbekistan

  1. Nick!!! You’re one step away from China, India and Thailand and all those amazing places in Asia!!! Amazing! I like reading your adventures every now and then. I have been inspired by you and I feel like I can do it too!!! 🙂 I remember with a smile those funny days at the WHY NOT hostel in Tbilisi, with all the wild animals, the flooding and the chacha tastings. Wishing you even more of those memorable times everywhere else in the world…
    Greetings from Italy xx

    Like

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