Wake up early in the morning for a good breakfast at our B&B Antica. The plan is to reach the Kasakhstan border today. Matteo doesn’t have the visa to get into Kasakhstan before June 1st but we will try to see if they let us in anyway. On our way to the border, Matteo gets pulled over by the Police for speeding but our now well-organized strategy will avoid him from paying the ticket. Once we get to the border in Chinaz we try to see if they would let us in but we get denied and have to wait until midnight. We then try to make the best of it by speaking with all sorts of people at the border. Iranian truck drivers, women in a pilgrimage to Bukhara and guards.
After a great breakfast under beautiful old trees of the B&B Antica, we decide that a minor tune up for the bikes is needed. We are kindly showed a garage nearby where we would be able to do the job needed. Matteo has to change his oil and filters while I have to check my air filter and add some oil as well. Once the job was completed we return to the B&B and start our visit to this city of Samarqand that is full of history along the “ Silk Road “.
Thanks to Matteo’s beard an Imam stopped us and invited us to visit his Mosque. A pretty unique experience. Tired of the same food you can find in any little restaurants, we decide to accept a dinner that the owner’s of the B&B had prepared for its guest at their family home. With us there was an English man, three Germans and a Turkish lady. The dinner was a typical Uzbek dinner. Great salads to start following with a delicious Plov. A dish based on rice with all sort of vegetables and sheep meat. A pleasant evening that differs from the rest of them being on the road.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN toward Samarqand. We both are pretty happy and relaxed and since it is “ only “ a 300 Km leg we take it pretty easy. The people of Uzbekistan are extremely nice and welcoming. Even the Police keeps on stopping us just to say hello and wandering about our journey. At around 5.00 PM we arrive in Samarqand. Matteo’s guide on Central Asia recommends a little B&B named Antica. This B&B is a charming place located in the old part of town with a beautiful courtyard with lot’s of old trees. We are assigned the bedroom in which the famous dancer Barrico stayed as well. The owner of the B&B is a very kind woman and runs the place with her sister and family. After a nice shower we decide to wonder into town to see if we can update our blog at an internet café. In Uzbekistan internet is still pretty controlled and we are not able to connect. We than decide to go to bed after a light dinner and starting making plans for the cultural visit of the next day.
We wake up pretty early in this beautiful city of Bukara. Today we plan on visiting the city and give the bikes and ourselves a brake.
After a good rested night we are on our way to Farab ( Town at the border between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan ). The border is the river Amu Darya. The river starts in Pakistan. Surprisingly we are able to cross the border without any difficulties and we are finally in Uzbekistan. Many say that from Uzbekistan onward you really feel being in Asia. After a few hundred meters we meet a pleasant individual named Vincent. He is a French engineer that is riding his bicycle from France to Nepal. He started his journey August 2010. Vincent at the age of 20 was diagnosed with a sort of leukemia cancer. Unfortunately he also went into coma twice. The first time from a major fall into a crevice in the mountains and later from a bicycle accident. Since then he was unable to find a job. He is trying to make the world aware that even challenged people are perfectly capable of working. Along his journey he is giving lectures and meet people with handicap. We were fortunate to share a lunch with Vincent. After a beautiful lunch we said our good byes and Matteo and myself headed for Bukhara. As soon as we enter the city we realize that this is really a special place. It has been a fundamental meeting point along the “Silk Road”.