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I’m sat on the night train to Urqench which leaves at 20:25 and arrives at 12:10 tomorrow. Apparently I ticked ‘compartment’ but not ‘air-con’ so I’m rather damp. 
At the moment it’s me and no one else. Bet that changes. (ps the Man in Seat 32 has arrived) 
Today was a transit day so I went out early, checked the train station and went for a wander finding an Orthodox Church with several big gold domes. I got back to the digs for a quick shower, checked out and headed off up the road looking for the last train station on the line which I never found. I did enjoy the suburbs with their vegetable gardens kept neatly, some with vines growing on frames. 

Back at Tinchlik having walked in a circle I headed for the Navoi National Park. Well it’s a bit of a faded national park. The great arching bridges are closed, although the one I walked over had holes in the steps and at times I wasn’t sure if they would carry my weight. 

Pretty well everything was in poor repair with old fairground rides, tatty paint and a general lack of care. There was a very nice three star hotel in the grounds though …


By a stroke of luck I found a cafe that was serving beer. It wasn’t bad having the main requirements of coldness and some alcohol, but the taste was a little soapy. Just as I was about to finish it, a policeman asked to share the table. I was looking for the catch but he just wanted to practice English. I excused myself after a while, and headed back to get my bag. The railway station stuff was a doddle – all I can say is that it ain’t Euston. The train has been here since 18:30 and there are not many lines or choices. 


I can’t wait. I still remember that big train ride across Northern India for three days. There’s already a community feel with kids running everywhere.


(pps the Man in Seat 30 has just arrived …)
At some time during the night we passed Samarkand, changed engines and the woman in Seat 31 arrived. I got up at 05:00 to see desert and was still looking at it at 11:30 just as we crossed a huge river, after which the outskirts of Urganch arrived. I bid the compartment conductor farewell and headed into a huge concourse, dodged the half-hearted taxi touts and headed for the restaurant. The last meal was breakfast yesterday. They’re putting half a sheep on the grill outside.

Once I’d eaten I headed back to the station to find the taxi touts had disappeared as had all of the taxis so the nice lady clippie on Marshrutki 19 took me under her wing, dropped me at the main bus stand and sat me on the stand for Khiva.

What a top place; everyone makes things so easy.

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