A wake up call at 6.00am, finished packing, payed bill, jumped in taxi and arrived at Tashkent Railway station, a grand edifice if ever I did see one. Stretching at least half a mile I was somewhat confused as to where the entrance might be but spotted what looked like a security check point and offering ticket and passport was ushered through. I was growled at by an official looking Commissar who reluctantly stamped my ticket, showed him that yes, I did have a camera in my camera bag, and there I was, in the VIP Waiting Area! Tea was brought,I was given a box of Uzbekistan Railways tissues, bowls of nuts and dried fruit were laid out on low tables, massive leather sofas, there were newspapers, morning tv, pretty girls and flunkies, and me. I have no idea how this came to be but I wasn’t about to complain and the hour before departure passed rather um, surrealistically. I was then escorted out of the waiting room by one of the aforementioned pretty ones, down the platform, onto the carriage and to my seat in a totally full compartment. Another oh dear moment.
We left on time and raced out of Tashkent on what appears to be a German financed railway line, electrified and very fast, not French TGV fast, but fast enough. Some fruit juice and piece of cellophane wrapped cake were given out then we had to buy water. The scenery was flat, agricultural, irrigated, with the occasional cement works. We moved West and the desert developed, dry and sandy, low hills loomed to our left looking daunting in the heat. Then it was all over. Two hours to travel 300 kms (180 miles). Not bad. And I was in the legendary city of Samarkand.
I always have known I would get here somehow, its always been a goal and here I am. My little B and B is perfectly situated in the old part of town near all the famed sights, The Registan, Bibi-Khanym Mosque, The Shah-I-Zinda and the Gur-E-Amir Mausoleum. All to be investigated and hopefully described as the days pass by. While waiting for my room to be ready I did venture out to see the Registan and it did not disappoint. It encompasses a huge area and is probably the most well known building in the city. If you have ever seen photos of Samarkand it will have undoubtably featured the Registan. Consisting of three different Medressas (schools basically) it is incredibly tiled in blue, the minarets reach to the sky, the domes are marvelous, the vast courtyard dwarfs the crowds (sparse actually), and I loved it. The photos were a bit washed out as it was noon time, so now, after 6.00pm, I will venture out again and see if I can improve.
What a completely awesome place! I know nothing about this part of the world; really loving following your adventure and learning all about it. Also that train journey sounded pretty classy- keep up the good work! Love.
Yes Sophie it is all very interesting.
Keep thinking how Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Tamerlaine all passed through here.
I find it very romantic.
So great that you are doing this trip! Hope it continues to be wonderful! Laura
Thank you Laura, it certainly is proving wonderful and maybe will be more so as the days pass.
It’s all about tickets and visas so let’s hope.
How did you always know you would be there someday?! How great that you got there…how impressive!
Hope I answered your question to some extent on latest post.
You above all people know how hard it was to get here, but here I am.
An awe-inspiring place and so beautiful in the sunset. ‘Samarkand’. What a great name!
I know Annie, it does flow off the tongue nicely doesn’t it.
Sunset was brilliant and sunrise this morning was pretty amazing.
Trouble is that the buildings are all so huge it’s difficult to get them in one frame.
Am madly trying to remember the name of a famous film of my” day” about Samarkand? Looks really beautiful.
Could it have been the Golden Horde starring David Farrer?
It came out when I was three.