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 !

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Finally culture! Uzbekistan here we are

While it took us 2 hours at the exit of Turkmenistan, mostly because the custom guy was out for lunch and they wanted to fill-in a new custom declaration at the exit (how weird is that!). The entry into Uzbekistan was a pleasure with only 3 notebooks to fill-in (compared to the 20+ in Turkmenistan) and we couldn’t believe it when after 20mins they waved us goodbye.

The difference with Uzbekistan was quite shocking, everyone here has a mobile phone, the country seems much more developed and the people are still as friendly as in Turkmenistan. The downside is that everything is more expensive (don’t get me wrong, still relatively cheap, with petrol at $0.8/L). The second thing I discovered already before crossing the border is white powder all around us and first I didn’t understand what it was…can’t be snow with temperatures close to 30deg, could it be their sand? Nope. So what is? I stopped and tasted it to make sure we understood this phenomenon and yes, it is SALT!!! Everywhere you look, there is salt sprinkled on the ground. First I thought it was because they use the water from the Aral Sea but I was then told that they have Salt/Sand storms.

The first thing we did in Uzbekistan was changing Cyril’s tyres as they are already so run-down that it was getting dangerous to continue riding with the old ones. We stayed overnight in Nukus, a really uninteresting old Soviet town. We stayed in the top hotel and this was already a shabby old Soviet room with bathrooms you wouldn’t like to use, but hey, we had no choice.

The following day, we had a marathon day, as we wanted to see the biggest ex-port of the Aral sea, Moynaq before going to Urgench to meet Maddy, Cyril’s fiancĂ©e who will be with us for the next 10days. In total we rode approx. 600km that day and we were completely exhausted.
Moynaq is an ex-port, because the Aral sea was so drained for agricultural use that the water level fell so much that the water is now more than 150km far away from the port. It was a desolating place, with the old boats decaying in the sand whilst the population of this rather bigish town not knowing what they will do in the future. On the way back, I was caught in a tornado…not a nice impression, believe me. In the desert, when a bit of wind blows, you see these small tornados quite often…so I was driving on the road and in one go, a tornado built up next to the road a few meters from me and swept across the road with full speed. No way I could stop in time, so here I go at full speed in the tornado, the bike and me shacking quite a bit, but we managed to withstand it. What a scary moment!

(Aral Sea)

The desert here is a quite different from Turkmenistan. Less sand and really flat here. You have some very nice views.

The following day we visited Khiva, a splendour in the desert. After having traveled a cultural desert for the last week or so, it was good to have some man made culture. Khiva is an old town of the Khan’s in Uzbekistan used from the 12c to the 19c. The town still has its entire town walls, many medressas (coranic schools) and many mosques. It was great to stop riding a moment and visit an astonishing place. We spent a night in the desert on the way to Bukhara (first time camping for Maddy) and reached Bukhara yesterday. Bukhara is a very nice old city in Uzbekistan. We visiting it in detail today and will post more when we find a better internet access.

(Camping in the desert)

Two further things, food here is quite monotonous with meat being the basis of their diet (Manon, I miss the good old vegetables and fruits!) and the people are very friendly and helpful.

It feels good to be visiting cultural sights. I was expecting Uzbekistan to be the cultural highlight of the trip and it seems I was right so far.

I've posted more pictures on Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in the photo album.

No comments:


- 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

- 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