Khiva… who stopped the time there?

Located nearly on the border with Turkmenistan, Khiva is the icing on the cake for those who wish to feel the lazy atmosphere of the Silk Route. Not many tourists reach the city as the trip through the desert is quite challenging, but it’s well worth it! The city is divided into two parts -the new Dichan Kala and the old one called Itchan Kala, hiding behind city walls erected in the 10th century. The labyrinths of streets, winding among mosques and minarets, families living there for generations and tranquility of the place will make you forget about the whole world. The city is basking in the hellishly hot rays of the desert sun....

Shopping a la Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is like a country from the Tale of Thousand and One Nights, with its countless mosques, madrasas and mausoleums glimmering with blue mosaics. Apart from visiting incredible monuments (more on this topic in other posts) you absolutely must find some time for exploring bazaars and doing some shopping Going shopping in cities of the Silk Route such as Samarkand, Bukhara or Khiva is pure pleasure as well as great opportunity to see at close hand the everyday life of the citizens of Uzbekistan and feel the atmosphere of the city. Delicacies at a bazaar in Samarkand. The city is renowned for its homemade nougats, chocolates and...

Uzbekistan’s Ceramic Capital – town of Rishtan

           Rishtan located 40km south of Kokand is known as a town of artists. It is believed that the place has been the centre of ceramics production for a continuous period of over 1000 years! Over the centuries the master craftsmen from Rishtan developed their own unique style recognized all over the world. Typical ceramics from Rishtan is hand-painted with the use of colourful paints, with the dominant colour being turquoise and blue and their various shades. The craftsmen pay a lot of attention also to fine details of patterns painted drudgingly with very thin brushes –that’s another characteristic feature of Rishtan ceramics. ...

The Two Faces of Samarkand

Samarkand is a city with two faces –you can find such statement in almost every account of a trip to this city and most guidebooks. After the first glance, every tourist (and there are lots of them) comes to conclusion that Samarkand is a real gem. The city is extremely well maintained, clean and trimmed in every respect, a real postcard. All around you may see glistening turquoise historical buildings, which are in perfect condition despite the fact that they are one of the oldest buildings in the whole Central Asia, as well as well-tended urban greenery, elegant souvenir shops, wide streets and colourful fountains playing music. It all...

Samarkand… beyond the beaten track!

The list of must-sees of Samarkand is nearly identical in every guide book and no wonder, as it’s really hard to remain indifferent to the Registan, beautiful mosques and mausoleums. But once you’ve seen it all, reach for the list of attractions located beyond the beaten track. We actually went to see them all and we sincerely recommend them as they nicely complement a standard visit to Samarkand. xxxx “Meros” Paper Mill in Konigil. How a dreamer from Samarkand revived an old tradition. xx        Just 5km from Samarkand a local craftsman called Zafir Mukhatarow created a very unique place which reminded the world...

Uzbekistan on your own? 4 suggested routes!

Are you planning to go to Uzbekistan on your own? Are you considering potential routes? Understandably, everyone has their own way of selecting routes because it is probably the most enjoyable part of trip planning. However, since it’s always good to have some starting point, we want to recommend to you the most optimised routes through Uzbekistan.   Route 1. “Express Route” – 7 – 8 days xx There’s no point in deceiving yourself –a week is not enough time for Uzbekistan. You need to make up your mind: either you do express sightseeing, jumping from one sight to another, or you resign from something. On the other...

Tastes of Uzbekistan

One thing is dead certain as far as Uzbek cuisine is concerned -when you visit Uzbekistan, you will taste plov. It’s a traditional dish the Uzbeks are absolutely crazy about, their truly unchallenged national dish. The said plov, sometimes called by the Polish people “pilaf”, is served in nearly every Uzbek restaurant or bar. Plov is prepared in enormous cauldrons called kazans. It takes a good few hours and a lot of work to make it. Tradition in Uzbekistan has it that only men are allowed to cook plov, what makes perfect sense as it is really hard physical work since the dish is usually made in huge quantities. Capacity...

Trip to Tashkent? Top 7 – must see!

Tourists usually don’t stay for too long in Tashkent. They usually treat the city as a starting point, good for one or two days, when then plan a longer travel around Uzbekistan. What interesting sights are there in Tashkent? How to plan your trip? These are our propositions: aa 1. See the Minor Mosque aa aa It’s a beautiful building, especially at sunset. Although it lacks historical significance as it was put into service only in 2014, it is definitely worth visiting simply for its beauty and photogenic qualities. Inside you may see a picturesque courtyard with interesting wooden columns. The mosque may accommodate around 2400...

Silk Factory – A Gem of Fergana Valley!

Yodgorlik Silk Factory is a place hidden in a maze of the city of Margilan, which is one of the oldest cities in Uzbekistan located in the Fergana Valley. Although nowadays more and more tourists come to this place, it still preserves its magical atmosphere. The choice of a location for the factory wasn’t actually accidental. Margilan was built at the crossroads of ancient trade routes. It used to be famous for manufacturing the best quality silk in all Central Asia. The factory is definitely worth visiting as it employs around 450 people, mostly women. As you pass through consequent production halls, you may appreciate the whole...

Floating market

When you walk along the beautiful Dal lake, you are “attacking” by the owners of the boats (Sikhar) almost on your every step. They want to find a client for a cruise on the lake or rent a boat as accommodation. Despite of their insistence it’s very recommended to try any cruise they offer....

Jumping !!! Aug08

Jumping !!!

Why do we jump during our travels? Nobody knows. Once, some years ago, somewhere, in the middle of nothing we jumped first time and it was the beginning of tradition, which we implement stubbornly during each trip to express happiness, euphoria, delight in the beauty surrounds… Below,...

Land of absurds… Uzbekistan with a pinch of salt

1. EVERY DAY LIFE Such a situation: Lunchtime, Khiva, Uzbekistan. Hot as hell, the sun is simply scorching. As we are almost starving, we begin to look for a place which would pamper our palates and fill our empty stomachs. We finally choose a restaurant bearing a very catchy name” Yusuf Yasavulboshi”. We enter the place confidently and we instantly sense a cool and nice breath of air that tells that the air conditioning is working properly. We are welcomed by a smiling waitress. Remembering well our previous experiences, we ask her for a menu. It’s a common thing in Uzbekistan that restaurant menus are bursting at the...

Ala Kul Lake – trekking plan with MAPS!

Ala-Kol Lake – trekking plan*  Turquoise lake located 3530 m above the sea level, quite popular destination for people loving trekking, adrenaline and beauty of wild nature surrounding. Due to high lake elevation and not so easy accessibility lake can be admired only by patient and strong tourists, whom tiredness is like piece of cake. Whatever the pain in the muscles would be… final breathtaking, little bit lunar landscape is worth every single drop of sweat you had to squeeze from yourself. There is no possibility to make this trip easier by renting jeep with driver. You must use your own legs… no other option, sorry Lake is not so...

How to reach Aral Sea? 3 ways how to do it!

Even though we already have a post about the Aral Sea, it occurred to us that we might sum up our journey once again in terms of costs and potential ways of getting there, so that everyone could make up his mind whether the game is worth the candle. Once you get to Nukus, a city located in the northeast of Uzbekistan, you’ll most probably decide (like us) that, apart from the Savitsky Museum of Art, the city hasn’t got much to offer. In that moment an idea to catch the escaping shore of the Aral Sea will dawn on you. Taking into account the fact that in a dozen years or maybe several decades such a trip may not be possible...

Ramadan? Don’t panic!

Wise statistics show that Muslims represent almost 20% of the population of the world. Since Ramadan, that is, the holy month of fast, almost without fail falls during our “Western” holiday season, there is a good chance that one day you will fall into the very middle of it during your trip. We have our own memories from travels we embarked on in that period to Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey or the Indian Kashmir, but in these places the tourists are exempt from the rules applicable during the “holy month”, and even the locals themselves sometimes make nothing of these restrictions. So it doesn’t make much...

Sunflower country

Moldova is still a terra incognita on the touristic map of Europe. Let’s not deceive ourselves -many people don’t even know where that small country occupying the same territory like Belgium and whether it has something interesting to offer, or not. In 2012 Moldova was visited by...

City of ghosts – walk through the Pripyat!

See how Pripyat, town located near the power plant, called the “Phantom City” or the “City of Ghosts”, looks like today. I don’t know about now, but several years ago it was still impossible to get into the city on your own. Such trips are organized e.g. by travel agencies in Kiev; they obtained passes to the “zone”, fixed transport and a guide. It’s a one-day outing by a mini bus. When we visited the place several years ago only two “batches” were allowed to go in a day (at least that’s what we were said). So, there’s little chance you’ll bump into other tourists...

Camping in Tuscany

  We spent around a fortnight travelling around the beautiful Tuscany. During that time we slept only on campsites and it was like hitting the bull’s eye. All campsites in Tuscany are relatively similar as far as prices are concerned, which are, unfortunately, quite expensive during the...

Ala Archa Trekking

Trekking to the Peak Uchitel, that is … on our way to a four-thousander (4527 MAMSL) * We noticed that the post describing our several-days-long trek to Ala-Kol Lake in Kyrgyzstan is still enjoying considerable popularity so… it’s time for a description of another trekking trip....

Tuscany by car? Top 5 scenic routes!!!

Tuscany – perfect place to visit by car, motorbike or bicycle. Traveling just from point “A” to point “B” in Tuscany should be forbidden and considered as a crime;-). Getting lost in Tuscany is highly recommended, veer off from main roads… look for own places, be spontaneous. We have visited Tuscany several times and always we discovered something new. You can make there any idea of trip you can imagine: vineyards trail, movie scenes trip, culinary trail… or just get into the car and go ahead looking for beautyful places… without any specific plan. Below our subjective summary  of spectacular routes you absolutely must see! Top 5...

Crimean landscapes

We’ve tried write few words about travelling around Crimea quite a long time and finally our plan failed, taken into account current situation there. The situation in Ukraine , especially Crimea is so unpredictable that writing tips about traveling around the peninsula doesn’t...

Frankfurt am Main. Put your nose out of the airport!

They call it “the city of white collars” and many people believe that it’s a good place to work, but not necessarily to live in, as it has no climate. Because of my work I spent there in total well over a year and at the beginning I would “sign up” to the statement about dullness of that city. True, it’s not Prague or Vienna. During the war the city was virtually flattened to the ground, so you’d waste your time looking for an old city from the 14th century. There are places, however, for which you should put your nose out of the airport… although the airport itself also deserves a separate...

God Forbid !!! Mea Shearim experience…

There is almost a million of them in Israel and in Jerusalem itself their population amounts to 100 thousand. They don’t recognize the state of Israel and at the same time they occupy seats in the parliament where they make radical decisions concerning the future of the country. They consciously separate themselves from the civilized world treating it as a pit of corruption. Who are we talking about? Haredim Hassidim, representatives of the most orthodox branch of Judaism. They have their own house in Jerusalem – Mea Shearim district, which is for me one of the top positions in the “must see” list, as far as that...

Children of the Sun Aug08

Children of the Sun

 A little less than 100 years ago Jews escaping Eastern Europe, mainly Romania, Poland and Russia, started to settle down on the then territory of Palestine. Full of zest and enthusiasm, guided by Zionist/socialist ideas, they started to build a new Jewish country. They formed communities which they called kibbutzim. Exactly 106 years later also we found our way to a kibbutz on our visit at our friends from Israel who grew up in kibbutzim. What did we learn about these places? Read on and see for yourself. Kibuttz Ajjelet ha-Szachar around Golan Heights. Well-kept kibuttz, where live around 1000 people. Typical kibuttz buildings: simple,...

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