So I know you all must have been waiting on tenterhooks to hear if Samarkand redeemed Uzbekistan for us a little bit (of course you were). Actually, it kind of did!
The sites in Samarkand are much more spread out, so we saw a few faces that didn’t belong to Western tourists. And the Silk Road sites certainly did not disappoint. Faruz, the owner of a small scarf and ceramic shop located in one of the historic buildings (okay, some things weren’t too different from Bukhara) decided to be our tour guide, driving us around town and taking us out for traditional Uzbek food. I mean, he’s originally Tajik, but we still considered it a taste of Uzbek hospitality.
We also really loved the guest house we stayed in. Bahodir B&B is located right next to the Registan, and the kind manager gave us free tea, cookies and watermelon when we arrived. It also must be mentioned in Lonely Planet because we met several of our friends from our hostel in Khorog, Tajikistan there. Central Asia really is a small world.
After Samarkand we headed to Kyrgyzstan, taking a bus to Tashkent, and then a taxi to Andijan in the Fergana Valley. Ughhhhh Tashkent, glad we only spent an hour with you. Getting the taxi to Andijan involved yet another arguing match with a crowd of drivers, who all finally decided to accept our price at the same time, resulting in Sasha being pulled away by one man, Danielle getting into another car, and all of our luggage going in different directions to different taxis. We managed to regather our stuff and all get into the same taxi, but we were happy to be leaving.
We couldn’t find any cheap hostels or guest houses in Andijan, so we sent Danielle into an upscale hotel to convince the young night shift receptionist to let us have a room for cheap. Which of course she did, rockstar. He even gave us free soda and offered to do our laundry. It was for sure the most luxurious place we’ve stayed on our entire trip. Well, until the beds did this:
Then we were off to Kyrgyzstan! We made it safely through the
billion six stations of passport control on the Uzbek side, repeatedly assuring the immigration officers that no, we were not carrying any religious books, CDs or flashcards. And on the Kyrgyz side? They stamped our passports and asked if we needed any help finding accomodation in Osh. Ahh Kyrgyzstan, so nice to be back!