Being a Big Girl in Uzbekistan!
Going on a journey is all about learning. Yes - it's about seeing new things, being in new places, enjoying these experiences…… but that is all about learning!!
I went to Uzbekistan on my own for three weeks and it was an adventure. I learnt a lot about the places I visited, the global shared history of inter-connectivity and I also learnt a lot about myself.
It felt like a journey for a Big Girl, travelling on my own to a place is not so well known as a tourist destination. I felt very safe, very welcomed and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
I know that I am so fortunate to have these opportunities to travel, it is a real gift, a privilege.
Here are some reflections and photos that I posted at the time:
January 17th 2019
A lovely day of learning: Alexander the Greatest and the sons of Ghengis Khan, friends after a catastrophic earthquake, Soviet and Islamic carpet weaving styles, bazaars, monuments and the first woman in space on a mural in the metro!
Click on the photo to see the FB post.
January 18th 2019
Snowy mountains, windy lakes, petroglyphs, a very ancient Buddha... and a glass of Uzbecki beer!
January 19th 2019
I have had a glorious birthday - deliciously bonkers and when you get to my age the only way to celebrate! Tonight I am in snowy Khiva - a truly amazing place - with the first snow for many years - felt that enthusiasm and exuberance! I have been so welcomed and then the lovely messages from around the world..... Thank you.... Not to mention 10th century mosques, the legacy of the different Khans and a huge cake which I shared with the lovely people in this hotel.
January 20th 2019
Today I went to the desert in the snow, the only visitor at a 2nd Century fort, stories of kings, generals and an amazon - then back to Khiva!
January 21st 2019
Today I knitted as we drove all day across the Karakum desert, passing close to Turkmenistan. Snowy desert then rice fields leading to sunny Bukhara!
January 23rd 2019
Bukhara, so many WoW moments.......
January 24th 2019
Water....... an ancient Sardoba, water reservoir, essential for the thousands of camels, horses, traders, soldiers and slaves who rested at the caravanserai over the millenia. A man made lake of enormous proportions for cotton, a failed endeavour, and a series of underwater tunnels which enabled Alexander the Great to build his citadel on a hill top 300+ years BC. Precious, precious water.......
Being the only visitor on the top of the citadel was amazing!!!!
27th January 2019
I went to the mountains and stayed with lovely people. Heard perfect silence in the valley of the eagles and petroglyphs, saw a billion stars in a dark silky night....... and counted my blessings.
28th January 2019
This tree is in front of the Mosque at the Residence of Amir Temur (Tamerlane) in Shakhrisabz, and was planted at the time of the palace's construction around 1400.... #loveoldtrees
It took 50,000 slaves to build the Palace in 24 years whilst Temur fought and won 1,000 battles - ending up ruling from Istanbul to Delhi...... a distance of 4,500kms - makes you think!
30th January 2019
These photos were sent to me by Alegra Tricia Jenkins.
I'm traveling around Uzbekistan and this is the major museum in Samarkand - it's within the original fortress which was destroyed by Ghengis Khan in the 14 century - the fortress is very ancient. The museum was established in Soviet time and holds exhibits from Afrasiab, the old city. Afrasiab was built on layers of ancient cities, not very well excavated I think. My guide only knew the official history - the skulls were in a case in the latest section of the museum circa 7th century.
31st January 2019
Tonight I'm 25 kms from Tajikistan and 35 from Kyrgyzstan - which in its self is amazing - but today I went deeper into my understanding of the global connections of power. This time it was cotton - the driver behind the Russian invasion here at the end of the 19 century was triggered by the American Civil War and the drying up of cotton from that source. Who would of thought that here in Kokand, they were invaded by the army of the Tzar of Russia because of the cotton supply running out from America......
Knitting my way across Uzbekistan - luckily I found a wool shop in the bazaar in Samarkand to replenish my stock!
1st February 2019
In Uzbekistan ....but not for long!
Tomorrow morning I leave Uzbekistan after an amazing journey. I have been asked many times about being a woman (I should say older woman) travelling on her own and there are many answers - but simply - why not!
I have been made so welcomed, felt so safe, talked to so many lovely young people (in English), communicated with so many older people in gestures, signs and laughter! Seen such amazing ancient buildings and modern traditional craft expertise.... the past, the future, the potholes and the children.....
But most importantly I have been blessed with yet another opportunity to learn. The more I journey, the more I can see just how connected we are, now, historically and beyond that.....
We live on tiny islands of knowledge in a shared sea of history. We are all the children of Gaia.
The Uzbecki flag is green for the land, white for the snowy mountains and blue for the sky - and it represents this beautiful country well.
I came to Uzbekistan because I briefly met a Spanish couple in a minbus at Madrid airport - I am so glad that I listened to them.....