Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Sunday, November 5, 2023

If we careened over the edge, seatbelts were not going to help!

Woke up to another beautiful clear blue sky in the Fann Mountains at Iskanderkul.

The plan for the day was to make our way to the capital city of Dushanbe (pop 1,200,000). The only question was "how are we going to do this??"

Our caretaker friend Hamid came by and brought us some more bread and boiled eggs, and we think he said that all we can do is try to flag down a passing car. 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

We never saw a single cloud the whole time!

We didn't have much in the way of food available for yesterday. We had some snacks only. So when we woke up, we didn't have any breakfast.

But then there was a knock at the door...

Friday, November 3, 2023

Welcome to Tajikistan, country #63 - What an adventure!

Thursday was a travel day. We planned to leave the guest house at 9:00am, and make it through the Tajikistan border and into the town of Panjakent by 11:00am. Then find a shared taxi that would take us to Zeravshan-2 where we could somehow catch a ride up to Iskanderkul Lake and then the tiny mountain village of Sarytag.

But right from the beginning, it didn't go as planned!

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

We are off to Tajikistan!

On Wednesday, we walked to a less touristy part of Samarkand. It's actually a nice city. Lots of park space, and crews of people constantly cleaning and sweeping leaves, even into the evening. 

Beautiful sunny day, with a forecast high of 19C (66F). But with the sunshine, and no wind, it actually felt warmer than that.

October Expenses - Yikes!

We know that when we do a trip to an oddball country, it's always an expensive endeavor. But this most recent oddball trip, to Turkmenistan also involved the cost of getting there from Eastern Canada. 

And, although we use the $CAD for our expenses, most of the trip was priced out in $USD. And the $USD has been on a tear since July and now sits at over a three year high vs the $CAD. Not only due to $USD strength, but also $CAD weakness.

Bought some more flight tickets!

And finally, I am all caught up on the blog posts. Not having internet access while in Turkmenistan for five days meant that I was playing catch up since we got back online!

So the post you are reading now actually details what we did yesterday. And one of the things we did yesterday was some more onward travel planning.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

One last walk around Bukhara, and then the train to Samarkand

It was quite hot on Monday with a high of 29C (84F). So although we didn't do too much, we decided to walk into the more modern section of town outside the tourist area. There's not really a lot to see. I think on an overall basis, we enjoyed Khiva more than Bukhara. 

Our train was departing at 4:06pm, and the train station is quite far from the central area, so we had to be back at the guest house by 2:00pm.

Second ferris wheel ride this month!

After a late breakfast on Sunday, we walked over to a big park where Ruth was looking for an old mausoleum that she had read about. Along the way, we came across an amusement park with a ferris wheel.

We always like a ride in a ferris wheel, especially when the price is reasonable! 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Surprised by the number of tourists here

Uzbekistan is having a bit of a heat wave for the next couple of days. Highs around 29C (84F) with hazy skies. Not really that humid, but it's definitely hot if you're in the sun. Supposed to be back to normal highs of 19C (66F) by Tuesday.

We set off to explore the city of Bukhara.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Long ride through the desert to Bukhara

We haven't done much in the way of planning for this "stan" countries trip. We had no idea until the last minute that we would be crossing the Turkmenistan border at Dashoguz, so our recent stay in Khiva was also last minute.

But it turned out great, and we met a wonderful local family. And if we had crossed a border further east, we would have skipped Khiva entirely because it's so remote and it would have involved backtracking. 

Last day in Khiva, Uzbekistan

On Thursday, our last day in Khiva, we returned to the old city to see some of the things we hadn't seen the day before. There's a reason that your entrance pass is good for two days... there is a lot to see.

Once again, a decent enough day with some sunshine and a little cooler high of 19C (66F).

Saturday, October 28, 2023

The old city of Itchan Kala, Uzbekistan

On Wednesday, we set off to explore the old walled city of Itchan Kala. There are more than 50 historic monuments and 250 old houses, most built in the 1700's, although the original Juma Mosque with its 112 wooden columns is one of the oldest structures.

A little cloudy and overcast, but still with a pleasant high of about 20C (68F).

Friday, October 27, 2023

First day in Uzbekistan

It's Tuesday, and we are in the small city of Khiva, population about 90,000. The attraction here is Itchan Kala, the inner walled old city that has been in existence for about 1,500 years.

Itchan Kala was the first Uzbekistan attraction protected on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Welcome to Uzbekistan, country #62 - crazy border crossing!

Most of the group departed Ashgabat in the wee hours of the morning at like 3:00am for their flight back to Istanbul. From there, they were headed to a variety of destinations, with some simply going back home to work, while others were continuing travel.

Ruth and I were the only ones planning on crossing the Turkmenistan land border, and we made arrangements with Johnny's tour operator here, Ahmet, to get us to the border.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Ashgabat at night... like Las Vegas, but without tourists!

One of the guys hired our bus to take us around to some of the other sights that weren't officially included in our tour. We had about three hours to waste, and let me tell you, it's not that difficult to waste three hours in Ashgabat.

In fact, Ruth and I could easily have spent three more days in Ashgabat alone. So much to see and do!