Blogs from Khiva, Uzbekistan, Asia

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Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva November 3rd 2016

Having spent a month as youngsters inter-railing around Europe living in the trains and seeing as much as we could we're nostalgic about train travel. It was only when faced with 16 hours of being bounced around in a tiny, hot cabin with a comatose drunk man that we remembered the reality. We caused much bemusement when after getting on the train we promptly bailed off again as it was too hot to bear but when the guard understood why he booted a couple of men off the bench on the platform and we took a seat spending a pleasant hour in the evening cool making new friends with the help of a young man that spoke a little English. When we got back on drunk man was kick out of one of our bottom bunks ... read more
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Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva September 21st 2016

21-9 When we arrived in Bukhara we were amazed at how traditional the old town looked, we felt as if we were stepping back into the days of the Silk Road. Our hotel had a lovely open air roof top restaurant a great place for dinner while watching the sun go down over the minarets and domes of the ancient city. 22-9 We explored Bukhara on foot and learnt a thousand years ago there had been a thriving slave trade. We saw the Ark Fortress, the crumbing city wall and the Samanid Mausoleum, which dates back to the 9th century. We both enjoyed strolling through the narrow streets of the old city to the covered bazaar which dated back to Silk Road times. 23-9 Bukhara is surrounded by the vast expanse of the Kyzyl Kum Desert, ... read more
Ron found a way to the top
Khiva
One more minaret to climb

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva August 2nd 2016

Today, it's another share taxi, this time to Urgench. The ride is 3 hours...another cheap ride too. I'm dropped at the shared taxi station to Khiva. I'm the only one here and decide 20 minutes later that it's ok, I can pay the full 2.2usd fare for the 25km ride direct to Khiva. My hotel is in the old city center. No cars here....so I do the last few hundred meters on foot. I'm the only guest at my hotel, with a driver of one of the tourist groups. This place is amazing, and still, there may be maximum 40 international tourists today in Khiva. Khiva was an old slave trading post. Trust me, you don't see much left of this around. It's more mosques, madrassahs and minarets. The place is so peacuful with nice locals ... read more
Outside walls of the Old City, magnificient at the end of the day!
My first plov...always better with a nice cucumber and tomato salad...
Khiva at night, not many tourists around...

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva July 2nd 2016

July 2 - At the shared taxi stand in Urgench, I had to wait about 10 minutes for the taxi to fill up - we needed one more person. Then we were off, with me sat in the middle in the back seat. When we got to Khiva, we dropped off a guy and then I realized I could see my guesthouse. He started to drive away and I told him to stop, I was staying there, and he said something and drove on. He dropped the girl off and started to go a different way, telling me it was closed. It is an old scam, to get you to pay more somewhere else where they get a commission. I eventually convinced him to take me back, and he got out of the car to chat ... read more
Flight To Urgench (and some weird artsy accidental setting)
The west gate
West gate

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva May 3rd 2016

Day 97 Sunday 24th April 2016 – Bukhara to Khiva After breakfast we got a knock on the door, it was reception asking if we needed to arrange a car to Khiva. We had not organised anything so took them up on their offer and within 40 minutes were on our way. The trip was uneventful except for the rough road jolting us awake every few seconds we would have fallen asleep as the scenery is boring, just flat scrubby land for as far as the eye can see. The driver was constantly weaving his car all over the road trying to avoid the biggest potholes, although at times it felt like he was weaving all over the road to hit the biggest potholes. After about 5 hours we arrived at the town of ... read more
Khiva
Khiva - Desert Forts
Khiva - Desert Forts

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva September 12th 2015

The drive west to Khiva let us see the development taking place here in Uzbekistan, but also highlighted some of the challenges. Although it's not finished yet there are now a few hundred km of smooth concrete road through the desert which makes a massive difference to the journey (concrete is used because it doesn't melt in the heat). Our driver told us that for one section of ~100km the journey time has been reduced from a bit under 4 hours to about 1 hour, but then when we needed to fill up with gas - most cars, minibuses and vans run on methane or propane as Uzbekistan has it's own gas fields – the only station for kilometres was closed. We were lucky as he had some petrol but we saw others who'd run out. ... read more
Kalta Minor Minaret
View from Islom Hoja Minaret
Dusk

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva August 16th 2015

The border from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan turned out to be the worst experience of the trip! It's just as well today has been one of the best. The border ended up taking 19 hours in total and for no apparent reason. It could have been longer too, but the fact we were tourists seemed to get us to the front of some of the queues (a bit embarrassingly). We got through the Kazak side relatively quickly, and then pretty much spent the whole night camping in no mans land in a pen in between the two countries. When morning came around we managed to get through the Uzbek border after a few car and bag searches. We then spent the whole day driving to Khiva, a small mud walled town I'd been really looking forward to. ... read more
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Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva September 29th 2014

Geo: 41.3806, 60.3595Khiva is an ancient Silk Road town - it operated a slave market for 3 centuries on which its wealth was based. They point out the places in the East Gate where slaves for sale were displayed but otherwise there isn't much evidence of its trading past. The caravanserai and bazaar are 'closed for restoration'.So what is there - and why Disneyland. It is a walled town - actually there were two sets of walls. The area inside the inner walls known as Ichon-Qala and the bit inside the outer walls Dishon-Qala. With the exception of one infrequently visited palace Dishon-Qala doesn't figure in this tale, that's Uzbekistan, remote from its capital. That means broken roads and pavements, holes in the pavement big enough to fall down, litter and rubbish everywhere.Inside Ichon-Qala there is ... read more
ruined desert fortress 2
ruined desert fortress 3
leaving bricks to dry in the sun

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva September 26th 2014

Sept 19-21 Khiva Sept 19th. Over 1000kms of train ride from Tashkent to Urgench through mostly barren empty desert, few camels, bit of dry tussock, but mostly just nothing. Eventually arrived in Urgench, where we negotiated a short taxi ride to Khiva for 20,000 Soms discovering the weird nature of the Uzbek currency - at about 3,000 Soms to the dollar. Changing a $100 note into Soms results in a huge 'brick' of notes as the dominant note is just 1,000 Soms (about 30c). So everyone is walking around with huge lumps of cash - much too large to fit in a wallet ! Paying for anything is a real exercise in lengthy counting ! Ancient Khiva had a reputation for barbaric cruelty, slave caravans, and terrible journeys across inhospitable deserts. The historic heart of Khiva ... read more
Juma mosque and minaret
The unfinished Kala Minaret
Madressa

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva May 27th 2014

Khiva After hours of useless bureaucracy and searches to get out of Turkmenistan, we got to Uzbekistan, my primary reason to take this trip. Crossing the border led to an amazing change. All of a sudden there were people along the road, farmers working their fields, kids on bicycles, and lots of traffic, much of it donkey carts hauling produce. Uzbekistan is much poorer than Turkmenistan, but the people seem much happier. We got to Khiva, one of the main Silk Road cities, fairly late. Much of the town is contained inside the old wall. Some things have been rebuilt, but lots of old mud brick houses are still occupied, and many have deteriorated into piles of rubble. Khiva has a huge open air market with lots of food and just about any thing else you ... read more




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