Saturday, June 13, 2015

Last night I held Aladdin's lamp And so I wished that I could stay

The morning of our departure to Bukhara we had been warned that as we got closer to the center of town the road probably would seem less of a road but that we should keep going.  And sure enough road turned to alley turned to pathway turned to very small space between between two cement barricades opening up to grand central bazaar across the street from our hotel.  It had also been suggested that Bukhara was the place that still most retained the spirit of the old Silk Road and I think we truly did experience what it may have been like way back in the day.

Rest day in Bukhara.  Walking tour of the old city in the morning seeing only a fraction of the internationally recognized architectural wonders that are here.  We lucked out as we found ourselves in the middle of the annual Silk and Spices festival.  There was a parade in the morning right by our hotel (which really was in the middle of it all) and everywhere you went all day was another musical and dancing troupe.  The colors and noise were glorious and the streets were packed well into the night.

I've been buying small things along the way, always conscious that I am on a motorcycle and have a long way to go but in Bukhara I broke open the piggy bank. I walked away with silk scarves, hand forged cutlery and even a 100-year old carpet.  Thank goodness for Federal Express.

And I even managed to catch up on my post card commitments.

A short ride across southern Uzbekistan to Samarkand followed by another rest day - I know hard to believve but this international travel is a lot of hard work.  City tour in the morning as we visited Tourmaline's mosque and mausoleum as well as the 16th century Registan.  All had been significantly rebuild during the Soviet period and even though the refurbishment continues they are still in need of a lot of attention.  

There was a great local market around the corner from the hotel.  Everything from the exotic to the mundane was for sale.

Great lunch at the home of a local family.  Apparently that's a thing in both Bukhara and Samarkand where not only are private homes used as B&B's but also tourist restaurants.  In the afternoon I decided it was time for a haircut and a shave.   And I think it just might have been the best haircut and straight razor shave I have ever had as it came with a full facial and scalp massage.  My exuberant recommendation to the rest of the group saw a line at the door for the rest of the afternoon. 

And the Brian train keeps chugging along.

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