Samarkand is what most people imagine when they think of Uzbekistan. Well, that is… most people who know something about it’s heritage (others probably just imagine desert). It’s the classic post card picture, pretty in every way, and the mosques and medrassa’s that are restored here put a spell on me right after I first heard about them. Now I was indeed very much looking forward to my visit, and dearly hoped it wouldn’t be an anti-climax (like, in a way, Bukhara had been).
While my previous post was all superlatives about Uzbekistan, I realised Bukhara would be different from the moment I started walking through town. I wasn’t too happy with it’s first impression, and had a hard time coming to terms with the town. That probably had a lot to do with the fact that almost everything I wrote about Khiva, has been somewhat countered in the ancient city of Bukhara.
After having spent 2,5 days in beautiful Khiva, today I’ve journeyed on towards Bukhara, my second stop in Uzbekistan. I’m writing this entry while sitting in a shared taxi, in the sweet company of Dominique and Françoise, a French couple I’ve met yesterday while on a tour to the desert’s castle ruins.
I’m always pretty stressed about border control – for no particular reason really. So far (knock on wood) I’ve never had a troublesome experience. Yes, I’ve been questioned at length in Japan (probably because I happened to be the only white person to get of the boat from Korea) and in Istanbul (for no obvious reason), but other than that – nothing has ever gone wrong. And yet – my heart is always beating a bit faster, no matter how hard I try to look like the innocent backpacker I am.
Let me start this writing by stating my surprise with the punctuality of Russian everything. I suppose I had a stereotypical idea of Russian strictness, in a rather negative or bureaucratic way. But so far I am happy to say that I’ve only experienced the benefits of it (let’s keep it that way!)
And so it begins.
The biggest country in the world.
While the plane prepared for landing I looked East and realised that vast, cloud clad horizon went on and on, all the way to Japan. It’s hard to grasp the size of this country, especially when you only visit two places. Here I am in the first: Saint Petersburg.
I made this drawing to say thank you to my colleagues whom I’m leaving after 10 years. Yesterday was my last day in the office… I think I still need a moment to process it all: the sadness of goodbyes and the excitement of a new beginning, the waves of kind attention and gifts, the gratefulness and emptiness.
It’s always been my goal on this blog to write from honesty. I don’t believe the world is served by false portrayals of perfection or happiness: there are two sides to every coin and travel is no exception. Continue reading Gratefulness and emptiness→
My take on the world and the things I love. Prominently among them: travel, art and the ordinary. I share my discovery of our beautiful world, my self and the arts I'm trying to develop (photography, sketching and writing) in a way that is both honest and poetic. Please join my journey.