We arrived to Samarkand late last Friday with the intention to stay two or three days. The first day was planned to be a pure rest day while the others were planned for sightseeing. However, things did not turn out the way we planned to and we have spent most of the time here resting at the guesthouse which we now are just about to leave (Wednesday morning).
So what has happened?
Uzbekistan has a size and shape very similar to Sweden. We will travel across from the very west end to the very east end which is almost exactly 2000 km. We have a 30 days visa and that is enough to travel 2000 km at a convenient speed and also have timeto stop and visit cities. However, the requirement to register at least every third day at a hotel licensed to host foreign tourists has forced us to press really hard through some empty desert sections without any hotels and it is fair to say that the ride from the port in Kazakstan to here has been tough. The road has been long and very often of bad quality, the weather has been hot or extremely hot and the time pressure added to this has finally taken its toll.
When we got here we were exhausted. As I mentioned in a previous post the ususal rest day ache in my thighs got a lot worse in Bukhara and we were forced to take an extra rest day there. Here in Samarkand realitiy has in some way caught up with us and we have been sleeping most of the time. We planned to leave already yesterday, but in the morning my stomach was a bit upset and prevented us from leaving. It was just a short and not serious ordeal and it got better already around noon, but then I was too sleepy and powerless that I couldn’t even think of start pedalling again. To make things worse I managed to bump into the sharp corner of the bed in our room and now I have a bruise on my thigh that matches the colours of the ancient cupolas.
We knew we have pressed hard and we expected reactions like these but they came a little bit too early. Kyrgizstan doesn’t require us to have a visa when entering the country and there are no obligations to register every few days. Our plan has therefore always been to stop for up to a week in Osh in Kyrgizstan to just rest, but we simply didn’t make it there and had to rest here instead. We are not the only ones who have run into these kind of problems. At the time of writing there are 11 cyclists at the hostel and three more left yesterday night so the cyclists are in majority and all are to a varying degree exhausted for the same reasons as us.
All this means that we did a lot less of sightseeing than we had planned to. We haven’t entered many places, but just walking around in this amazing city can be enough. The architecture and all the old buildings are just magnificent. Please enjoy some of the photos below.