On the 13th of September we leave not too late as we plan to ride around 100km. It is the first time since a long time that we put on the longsleeve shirts and jackets; the temperatures suddenly have decreased. Is that the beginning of autumn? During the day the temperatures are still like summer. The distance to Taschkent is 335km depending on the headwind we make it in 3 to 4 days. The first day continues with wind and slow mileage, but we have time, it is not comparable to Turkmenistan.
We follow the mainroad and use, where ever possible, the side roads. There are a lot of pot holes, but only some cars, donkey carriages and other local bikers use the road as well. Many of the cars are nearly breaking apart but are loaded with melons, that are recently sold allover. The first day we arrive in the Town Jizzakh and have the possibility to sleep in a Hotel. Through many backroads we arrive there, but it takes time to get a room, the administration is not that fast.
The selection of restaurants is not that big, in the one we choose we get a special service: We can or must sit in a chambre separee, the main hall is fully occupied. When we arrived a birthdayparty started with loud music and the light was switched off. We get a special service of 4 waiters, the main dish is served with candle light.
For our salade, maincourse and a bottle of wine and water we pay CHF 7.50, the cheapest ever. Being back home it is going to be difficult to adjust to the Swiss prices again.
For breakfast we get milkrice, fresh bread, an egg and some sausages. It is the first time that Markus is eating milkrice.
The next two days are not spectacular. The landscape is the same, it is flat, one field follows after the other, every once in a while there is a channel, a little restaurant, where we can drink some tea. The villages and small towns seem to be very busy where the bazar is located, otherwise nothing much happens, it is rather quiet.
I only make one mistake; while crossing the railway track I get stuck and fall off the bike. Luckily, the bags in the front and the back soften the fall, I don’t get hurt.
In the late afternoon of the 3rd day we arrive in Taschkent. The picture is completely different from what we have seen so far. A modern city is awaiting us, 7 lane roads, huge roundabouts, immense buildings, fantastic parks, many hotels, boulevards – everything seems soo big! It is incredible!
We stay in a 5 star hotel(the price is nothing compared to what we pay in Switzerland) and enjoy the 79 square meters suite. I even get a sports massage, we have some good wine and nice dinners. To discover the city we take the city tour bus, like many other tourists do. It is the easiest way to get to all attractions within a short time.
Taschkent was partially destroyed during an earthquake with the strength 9 in April 1966. There were about 1000 aftershocks until the end of 1966. The city was rebuilt, and the architects could realise their vision of a new modern sowjet city in Asia. Even some buildings of the traditional areas, that were hardly damaged were destroyed to realize the vision. A metro was built, streest were enlarged, parks and huge buildings were built. The expansion continued in the 80th; shopping centers, event halls, living homes were built. Since the independence of Usbekistan, the city was further renovated and changed.
You wouldn’t beliefe what contradicitons we experience! There are the farmers in the country, we sometimes feel like living 50 years back, then we are in thi
Thiss modern city with shopping centers, luxury shops like we have them back home at the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, the broad streets compared to the bumpy and dirty roads in the rural area, very simple hostels compared to the luxury of a 5 star hotel, the grandiosity of the buildings compared to the panel flats from the Sowjet times, beautiful mosques, bazars along the silk road, very simple but good Usbek food, gourmet restaurants downtown Taschkent…
We still need some time to digest all impressions we got lately.