Holiday in Central Asia (27): conclusion

It was always apparent that this trip to Central Asia would be a challenging one.  In the end, we visited four countries and not five (because Turkmenistan would not allow us entry); we made seven flights instead of nine; and we stayed at 16 hotels instead of 18. So, not quite what we expected, but still a very full programme with lots and lots of travelling often on very poor roads.  The weather was fantastic but typical temperatures in the mid 30sC could be quite wearing. 

In a group of only eight, one went down with covid and spent three days in bed, two had such severe diarrhoea that they need medical attention and a drip, and all but three of us – that included me – had bouts of diarrhoea necessitating the use of Imodium. Even without these problems, three of the group had walking difficulties. I was pleased that, even at my advanced age, I was able to manage everything physically. But a problem for me was that at least three voted for Brexit and I had to try hard to avoid political debates. 

In spite of challenges and issues, it was a simply fabulous trip. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan were mostly about scenery: canyons, rocks and lakes. Uzbekistan was essentially about architecture: mosques, mihrabs, minbars, minarets, madrassas, monuments and many many more miles. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are poor countries but Uzbekistan is thriving and I was pleased to find it more politically relaxed and more economically advanced on on my previous visit.

We had lots of knowledgeable local guides but most of them spoke too much and too fast and their speech was heavily accented, so that concentrating on the information was hard. The toilet situation in Central Asia is something else. When you can find them, they are probably squatting affairs with no paper and no running water. The highlights of the trip were our visits to Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.  Although I saw each of them 16 years ago, I loved seeing them again.  



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