This is the travelblog of Cyril Ducau and Niccolo Manno on their adventure from London (Cyril), Munich (Niccolo) to Hong Kong on motorbikes.
It took us short of 3 months to do 20,000km on bikes, trains and planes. We crossed the following countries together:

Austria - Italy - Slovenia - Croatia - Serbia - Bulgaria - Turkey - Georgia - Azerbaijan - Turkmenistan - Uzbekistan - Kyrgyzstan - Kazakhstan - Russia - Mongolia - China - Hong Kong

On this site you will find some info on both of us, our bikes, some of our friendly helpers in Hong Kong and London and loads of pictures on our trip. 

Latest top picture

Latest top picture
Thanks for watching our blog - Enjoy as we did it!

Our path

Our path
Click picture to download Google Earth kmz file !

Friday, April 4, 2008

Cultural highlights - Bukhara and Samarkand

After having spent 2 nights in Bukhara, we are now in rainy Samarkand. After 2 weeks of sun and warmth, the rains comes again.
After a month of riding with little interruption, it felt good to have a day-off biking, even for me who simply loves starting the engine and ride. Even though we were riding few kms a day in the last few days, we simply were tired of the last month and needed a break.

On the road to Bukhara my rear mudguard broke and fell off. Nothing to worry about as I don't really need it, but weird as I was driving on tarmac...it took quite a beating on the last day of Turkmenistan though.

Where to start on Bukhara and Samarkand....hmmm, let me start with Khiva. Among the 3 cities Khiva is still my favourite as the old city is preserved (but lacks the buzz of a real Uzbek city). Samarkand has a majestic Registan (a square) with 3 huge and beautiful Medressas (schools) , one of them from the 14 century, within a big city and Bukhara is a bit of an in-between Khiva and Samarkand (smaller attractions but a city centre which is better preserved).
(Bukhara)

(Maddy and Nicco in Samarkand)


Cyril mentioned, can you believe they built these wonderful schools (rather universities at the time) whilst we were building fortresses in Europe? Ok, we did have the arts, the churches etc...and believe me I love our history but it feels great to see these ancient educational buildings withstanding centuries.

(Samarkand)

We very much enjoyed the bazar of Samarkand, with plenty of attraction. I bought an Uzbek hat and cyril a jerican (to increase his range when we go to Tajikistan and Mongolia).

(Bazar)

We met an Austrian from Vienna, Peter, who left in November for a 3 year round the world trip with his car. It looks like he will be in Kazakhstand, Russia and Mongolia at the same time as us! Would be great to do a bit of riding together. Let's see, we are going to meet him up for dinner tonight.
(Peter)

We are a very worried about 2 things, the Pamir highway in Tajikistan and China.
- Will the Pamir highway be open, considering that it was the coldest winter since 40 years and there are severl passes above 3,000m and one at 4,600m (next to 7,000m+ peaks). I so wish to see the scenery there but if there is too much snow, we won't make it.
- Will we be able to enter China, in particular since they are getting so restrictive with their borders because of their troubles with Tibet and the Olympic games. If not, this would end our trip in Mongolia, something we have to consider...but we still have some time till then.

On the cost and food side, costs are actually getting higher as we get closer to Tashkent. You pay entrance fees of approx. usd3-5 per monument and food costs approx. usd3-4 per person. Sleeping is a whopping usd20-30 per person. Today, we ate in the bazar and had an excellent feel of everyday food. The basic meals are: Camca (a sort of pie with meat and oignons), Laghman (sort of noodles), Plov (rice, carrots and a bit of meat), Shashlik (skewers of all sorts) and I tried something new, Marat I think it was called (Mutton and oignons dumplings). Everything is quite tasty.

(Shashliks)

By the way, it is interesting to see that in Bukhara and Samarkand, a lot of people are actually Tajiks and not Uzbeks. The borders have been set by the Soviets and they didn't consider the cultural element deeply, hence these odd cultures within a same country.

We might not always post any pictures on blog entries as it takes quite long to download them onto blogger...sorry.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ca a l'air canon tout ca les filles, j'ai l'impression que vous arrivez dans la partie la plus interessante de votre voyage. Bon courage pour la suite, et la bise a Maddy!

JC

Anonymous said...

Merci Colloc - tu me manques beaucoup - on voit beaucoup de minaret et on pense a toi ! Aussi Ecoute ecoute c'est la Redoute.

Cyril & Nicco

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A BIG THANK YOU TO:

Cyril:
- Maddy, the head of our "London HQ", special technical and weather advisor, and because she is simply the best and has been so supportive over the last few months
- My family and friends for their understanding and moral support
- Robert Roe (alias Bob) from Motoselect Franham for preparing the bike with such good care
- Anastasia from thevisacompany for helping me deal with so much red tape
- Claudio von Planta for sharing his valuable experience on Long-way Round and Long-way Down and answering so many of our questions
- Ronnie, Emmanuel and Benjamin for their enthusiast support and precious advise
- The Techtransalp team for their excellent website and advertising our adventure

Niccolo:
- clearly Manon as she has always been supportive of this trip even though this means 3 months without me
- My mother for not giving up on me, for receiving all the parcels at home in Austria and for not freaking out!
- Amy and Steve for pushing over several months to keep focus on the organisation
- Xavier, for trusting me to be in France in June and be his best man at his wedding
- Cyril, for posting our tracks on the blog
- Louis, for looking into getting Continental to sponsor us
- Romain, for getting us the Turkmen visas
- My friends for all telling me "DO IT"!
- Claudio von Planta, Sambor and Maciej for sharing their great experiences on their numerous motorbike trips
- Henry, Yau and Tan from BMW HK for their support with the bike, the preparation and the bike sale
- Yasser, Mark, Michael and Christoph from BMW Munich for their help with all the accessories and the last minute bike purchase
- Bertrand and Alice for your help with the tyres in Almaty