Beyond Chernobyl: Ukrainian Dramas

Posted by & filed under Travel Diary, Ukraine.

It can be tempting, having survived through the past few turbulent years in the UK, to think that its politics are uniquely messy, dysfunctional, or just plain weird. A couple of recent visits to Ukraine put paid to such ideas for me.

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Azerbaijan: Europe or Asia?

Posted by & filed under Azerbaijan, Uncategorized.

“Herr Professor, Please: We’d Rather Stay in Asia” – Ali Khan Shirvanshir, in Azerbaijani classic novel “Ali and Nino” (1937)   Before I had set foot in Azerbaijan I had unconsciously put it in a category. It was clear. The Caucasus comprised of three countries – Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The first two were largely… Read more »

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Onto Ashgabat

Posted by & filed under Silk Road/Stans, Travel Diary, Turkmenistan.

Silk Road Part 17 of 17.   Click here for 1 of 17 >>>  We woke early and after breakfast hit the road. Although a pretty shoddy road, it was far superior to the one we had taken the day before and the craters in the road now firmly put into perspective. About an hour from… Read more »

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Into Turkmenistan: Kunya Urgench & Darvaza

Posted by & filed under Travel Diary, Turkmenistan.

Silk Road Part 16 of 17. My driver Urinboy, a fifty-something clad in leather and faded denim, picked me up and we bounced our way along potholed roads to the classics of Uzbek rock and Russian hiphop. The border crossing was fairly straightforward and friendly. “Irlandia”, the border guard whispered, wide-eyed, slowly shaking his head…. Read more »

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Khiva

Posted by & filed under Travel Diary, Uzbekistan.

Silk Road Part 15 of 17. Unfortunately the Afrosiab train does not yet go to Khiva, meaning we needed to take 4 wheels. The drive through the flat scrub-land of the Kara Kum (“Black sand”) desert was not too exciting other than the odd glimpse of the Oxus (now called Amu Darya) river, which, for… Read more »

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More Bukhara

Posted by & filed under Travel Diary, Uzbekistan.

Silk Road Part 14 of 17. After rising early and walking through the city streets while they were still quiet, savouring the atmosphere as the city woke up and the Afghan birds called from the mulberry tree in the courtyard of the Masjadi Kalon, I had a quick breakfast and met with Rustam again. We… Read more »

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Bukhara

Posted by & filed under Travel Diary, Uzbekistan.

Silk Road Part 13 of 17. Another comfortable train journey brought me to Bukhara. My driver, Tolmas, picked me up and dropped me to my hotel where Rustam, my guide, joined us. After a whirlwind history of the city and the emirate around it, Rustam brought me to the tomb of Ismael Samani, founder of the… Read more »

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Samarkand

Posted by & filed under Travel Diary, Uzbekistan.

Silk Road Part 12 of 17. The very comfortable Afrosiab train pulled into Samarkand exactly on time, a comfortable 2 hours and 15 minutes after it left Tashkent. My guide, Armida, of Armenian origin and a lecturer at the university in Samarkand, picked me up and we headed to the edges of the city to… Read more »

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Tashkent

Posted by & filed under Travel Diary, Uzbekistan.

Silk Road Part 11 of 17. Khurshid, my guide in Tashkent, picked me up after breakfast and we drove north – crossing the Anhor river, thereby leaving the new and entering the old town – to the Harzat Imam Complex. This is the heart of old Tashkent. It includes buildings of various ages including the… Read more »

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