We traveled to Samarakand today, a five hour trip, made a bit longer, not only because of the poor condition of the road whch actually wasn't as bad as the road we traveled to Bukhara but because the shocks on the bus had worn out and we smelled like we were burning rubber. However there was no place to stop so we limped into Samarkand.
Unlike Kiva and Bukhara, Samarkand does not have an old city that has been turned into a museum with hotels, restaurants and street merchants alongside age old mosques and madrasas (schools). Instead the major sites are scattered throughout the city of Samarkand. So this time our hotel is not located in the center of old town but on the outskirts of the city.
Like the other two hotels in Uzbekistan, it is small and our group of 9 takes up most of the rooms. Carol's and my room is on the second floor and it's nice to have a tour company in charge of carrying up our bags. Our room is fairly roomy but the bathroom is quite small. We pretty much take turns using the shower, etc. The room looks out on the main street and across at its newly acquired extension which houses a spa and exercise room. The view is not at all as nice as out rooms in both Bukhara and Khiva where we looked over a courtyard and beyond at the Mosques and market square. But all three hotels have been charming and the people who work in them friendly and anxious to help.
Our hotel in Bukhara was up a small alley and, from the outside, simply looked like an old building, but once inside it was charming, built around a courtyard so when we opened the door to our room we could see the courtyard below. We ate our dinner the first night there, in the open courtyard. It was lovely and made up for some bad plumbing problems we encountered later.
This evening we visited the workshop of a silk rug maker. The father, age 93, has traveled around the United States,speaking about making rugs from natural dyes, at such places as Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania's museum.His son, who demonstrated silk rug weaving to us, had attended medical school in Arizona but returned to Samarkand to help run the business.
The rugs run from $300 to $120,000. None of us purchased any.
We ate a marvelous dinner (stew, pumpkin squash, eggplant, bean soup), served buffet style at the rug place. We've been having a wide variety of pumpkin dishes that are sweet and range from soups to mashed, Eeggplant is served at almost every meal in one form or another.
Another full day.
Filed under: Uzbekistan