Monday, April 25, 2016

Sunday, April 24th, Samarkand, Uzbekistan


Zipping at 150 miles per hour on a bullet train between Tashkent and Samarkand, the countryside is a web of electrical lines and towers.  The Uzbekistan News is reporting today that the next section, extending it to Bukhara will be open in late August.  The train station in Tashkent, like the rest of the city’s central buildings and squares, was amazing.  So new and clean, presenting it’s Sunday best to the world.  Our executive bus dropped us off from the hotel, as our bags left on our regular bus at 4am to be driven to Bukhara.  We’re carrying light bags aboard the train, and it feels like a jet on the ground.  Sitting at tables, drinking tea with cinnamon croissants, listening to internet-supplied, contemporary pop tunes, it’s hard to remember we’re on the Silk Road.

“We travel not for trafficking alone,
By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned,
For lust of knowing what should not be known,
We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.”

These final lines of James Elroy Flecker’s 1913 poem The Golden Journey to Samarkand evoke the romance of Uzbekistan’s most glorious city.  No name is so evocative of the Silk Road as Samarkand.  For most people, it has the mythical resonance of Atlantis, fixed in the western popular imagination by poets and playwrights of bygone eras, few of whom saw the city in the flesh.

To see all of the photos taken today, click n:

Sunday, April 24th

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