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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Uzbekistan - 2 September, 2002



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Bukhara (Mosque Balyand Hotel) N3946.243' E06424.478' 233 meters .
Kyzylkum Desert . . . .
Amu-Darya River . . . .
Finish Khiva (Hotel Arqonchi) N4122.649' E06021.470' 110 meters

468 km

Total Leg 2:

1,367 km

Total Leg 1:

3,018 km

Grand Total:

4,385 km


Weather: Clear, sunny and very very hot.  Cool at night.



We depart Bukhara today, heading off to Khiva to the northeast.  We have breakfast in the hotel, then pack up the truck before heading off.  We spend most of the day driving through the Kyzylkum Desert tracking the meandering course of the mighty Amu-Darya River.


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In fact, we stop for lunch at a beautiful spot on a small hill overlooking the river.  When you see this huge river passing through this dry, dusty desert, you wonder at the ways of nature.  The sharp contrast between the deep, cool blue of the water and the hot, sandy brown desert is stark.  One gives life, the other takes it.  We can just imagine what it must have been like to pass through these deserts in the slow moving camel caravans that plied the silk route.  


As we approach Khiva, we need to cross the river.  This is done via an old pontoon bridge that looks like it served the Red Army in the Second World War.  The bridge is made up of at least 20 pontoon sections that have been lashed together, some how withstanding the strong flow of the water.  The repair work and patches are obvious.  We just hope that it will take our weight.  As we pass from one pontoon to the other, one side falls with our weight and the other raises as our weight leaves it.  Cars coming from the other direction need to be careful so that they do not get stuck or damaged as we leave and enter each pontoon section.  The creaks and groans as we cross remind us that this is not supposed to be a permanent bridge.  We pass a number of men working on various sections, welding on new plates and just trying to make sure that the whole thing does not fall apart.  The shore is dotted with the rusted wrecks of dozens of boats - some quite large.


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We make it to the other side and head on towards Khiva, arriving at the old town late afternoon.  We check into our hotel just inside the old town on the city walls and drop off our bags.  Some of us go for a short walk to explore the town in the warmer light of the late afternoon.  We will have a full city tour tomorrow, so this just to get a feel for the town.


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After checking out some of the main streets and main sights from the outside, we return to the hotel just after 6 PM to relax and wash up.  We then head up to the patio on the top of the hotel to watch the sunset, casting a warm glow on the towers and building facades jutting up from the town.  It is a great spot to just hang and relax and watch as the colors of the town change.


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We have dinner in the hotel - the usual large feast with dishes covering the table and lots to drink.  We retire early.


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