In a previous post I’ve already posted some of the images of my bike tour through Central Asia in summer 2015 – but I realised, I have too many images for just one post. So, look there for the images of Kyrgystan – and see below for my collection from Uzbekistan in October 2015.
From landscape, dessert and people to the amazing cities of Bukhara and Samarkand.
The people of Uzbekistan
Once I crossed the border from Kyrgystan into Uzbekistan the landscape changed drastically. In the east of Uzbekistan I crossed the Fergana Valley, which actually is a plateau in the mountains, which you can only assume in the distance.
The valley is densely populated and used in intensive agriculture. Seemingly mostly cotton and water melon production – the latter really quite delicious. Due to the density of agriculture it was often difficult to find good suitable camp sites, but the people were incredibly welcoming and hospitable.
Almost automatically the focus of my bike tour shifted from the beautiful harsh landscape to enjoying the people, their homes, hospitality and the little villages and markets.
Landscape and Traffic
Oh – the landscape, in particular further west was most amazing again, from small villages to dessert-like landscapes – I loved it. Here is a small collection of images from this part of the tour.
Samarkand and Bukhara – the two former metropoles on the Silk Road
Thanks for reading!
At first 2 admissions: It wasn’t really summer, but neither could I leave earlier nor could I convince myself to rename the trip to “Central Asia much too late in 2015“.
Central Asia is correct, but implies more. It is true, that I cycled for one month in Kyrgystan and Uzbekistan, two countries of Central Asia – but being there, seeing the vastness of the landscape – and meeting other cycle travelers – you realize quickly how big this region and how proportionally short the stretch is, that you cycle in a month.
The Central Stans, former Soviet Unions, span across 2500 kilometers in the dead center of Asia, from the western borders of Turkmenistan at the shore of the Kaspian Sea to the eastern mountains in Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan and Tadjikistan, bordering on China and the Himalayas.
Their prominent position in the center of Asia, between the sea and the mountains, explain why they once have been so important hubs on the Silk Road, connecting Europe to the Far East – and vice versa. In turns this explains Central Asia’s attraction to the many cycle tourists – it being almost the only path that takes you overland across the whole continent, where other routes are hindered due to border conflicts and regions of unrest.
Instead of the long haul across continents, in October 2015 I went “just” for a 4 weeks trip, starting in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgystan, making my way through the mountains towards the deserts of Uzbekistan, the former “Silk road metropoles” Samarqand, Bukhara and ultimately its capital Tashkent.
In Bishkek I had asked for a visa to Tadjikistan – with all the paperwork etc – but the embassy seemed unable to find the relevant stickers – and I wasn’t willing to wait another 5 days for them to rummage through their drawers. So, I left without the sticker – and without the permission to travel the Pamir Highway in Tadjikistan.
In the short run this led to quite some frustration, whereas later in the mountains I was actually a little relieved not having to pass an additional 1000 meters of elevation.
The mountains of Kyrgystan
The tour started cold in the Kyrgys mountains – cold, but amazingly beautiful.
I enjoyed the mountains, even if I sometimes was cold – or had to dress in 6 layers to make it safely downhill again. However much I missed going through the Pamir, I was in a way also relieved, that I didn’t have to climb another 1000 meters and battle stronger snow storms.
After a couple of days in the mountains, I crossed a hilarious border crossing into the Fergana Valley of Uzbekistan. Find the pictures in the next blog post here: Uzbekistan in Summer 2015.
No updates forever! So clearly, this blog has made its way into oblivion, being totally forgotten and not worth having a “News” section.
So – here we go for a little restart – and I do hope things will run a little more smooth in the next year.
A small update:
Right now I live in Amsterdam and work here for Greenpeace International. Full-time – which so far left very little time for other things.
In the next weeks I hope to supply you with some images of Amsterdam – it’s a great place!
Just when leaving, things got really busy in Istanbul – not even to mention, what is going in other parts of Turkey. While Gezi Park in Istanbul is now largely peaceful, dancing and singing, police is still using excessive violence in Ankara and other places.
On our last days in Istanbul, we’re packing, trying to meet and say good-bye to as many as possible, we’re caught in the escalation of the Gezi Park Protest on Taksim Square. Continue reading “Farewell from Istanbul”
I need a little help and/or consulting for my next steps. (I’m a beginner!)
I’ve been working on my plugin, using a Custom Post Type “Project”, some help from the plugin “Advanced Custom Fields” – and now I have succeeded in the general functionality. Have a look at the images here and http://www.project22.org/project/ to see the functionality. I admit, there might be plugins doing something similar, but I’m not advanced enough yet to understand and adjust their code to my specific needs ;(. Continue reading “How to make my plugin theme-independent?”