Uzbekistan: Dreadful food, great people, amazing architecture

Uzbekistan is one of only two* double land-locked countries in the world.  Hands up who knew this? I didn’t until our guide told us. Shame on me. It is surrounded by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan.  It became independent from Russia in 1991. We arrived here in May 2014, entering on the overland truck from Turkmenistan, which is one of the strangest countries I think I’ve been to. I’ve written a bit about it here and here, a longer post will follow, soon. Ancient-mosques-samarkand-uzbekistan We visited the main towns and sights in the two weeks we were here, crossing west to east. These are Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent, finishing our time in the lush (yet conflict-prone) Fergana Valley. Crossing west to east meant we did them in this order, and I’m glad we did. Each town/city offered something new and increased in size and complexity and the Fergana Valley gave us a good indication of the changing landscape we were soon to encounter when we entered Kyrgyzstan. Continue reading

Packing Sins: Four items I brought travelling, but really shouldn’t have

I’ve mentioned before that without doubt anything I brought that had sat in the ‘dither pile’ when packing, was never used. But sadly, it doesn’t end there.  I also brought things I was so convinced I’d use, yet still made no, or limited, use of them.  Here, I’ll tell you about four items that I either didn’t use, or that didn’t work out and explain why.


 1. Scrubba Wash bag

Scrubba-Wash-BagOh dear. The number of hours I spent dithering over buying this makes me shudder.  Overlanding through Central Asia into Tibet and on to S.E. Asia meant we would be travelling in a variety of temperatures.

I brought quite a lot of Icebreaker clothing with me and on the whole they worked really well.  Icebreaker gear is quite pricey so I knew I wouldn’t want to risk sending it out to be washed on a rock in a river. The Scrubba Wash Bag seemed the perfect solution.

I had visions of me, during our overland trip, camping deep in the wilderness of Kyrgyzstan with a fantastic backdrop and no one around for miles, happily washing clothes with my Scrubba.  So, sitting on the sofa in the comfort of my home, The Scrubba struck me as the perfect solution, I purchased it.  Only it wasn’t. At least, not for me. Continue reading

Turkmenistan: An unwelcome guest tries to join me on my first night bush camping

map-showing-route-of-odyssey-overland-istanbul-singapore-journey

The route: Istanbul to Singapore

The overland trip would take six months.  It starts in Turkey and finishes in Singapore.  One third of our time would be spent camping.

However, it’s hard to camp much after Kyrgyzstan, so little camping would be done after this country, just a few nights in Tibet. So really, we camp 50% of the time until we enter China.

Continue reading