Thursday, 30 August 2012

Uzbekistan 21st June – 19th July 2012

TASHKENT: Currently 2800 Uzbeki Som to the Dollar on the black market (around 1800 officially). Highest denomination is the 1,000 Som note - queue obligatory money shot.

TASHKENT: The owner of the guesthouse playing the Dutar translated, literally as 'two string'.

I threw a strop when he said I had to pay a dollar a night for keeping my bike at the guesthouse while I was away touring the country.

Oh yeah, I didn't cycle much in Uzbekistan.

SAMARKAND: The Registan. I snuck in the back so I didn't have to pay.

SAMARKAND: Bibi-Khanym Mosque. And locals hugging the shadows.

SAMARKAND: Shah-i-Zindah Mausoleum 'ensemble'.

SAMARKAND: shah-i-Zindah tile detail.

BUKHARA: The Ark at sunset. Home of exotic despots.

BUKHARA: Char Minar 'four minarets' mosque.

BUKHARA: You hot bastard.

BUKHARA: Kalon Minaret. 47 metres tall, 10 metre deep foundations. So good Chinnigis Khan didn't knock it down. Which was nice of him, becuase you know, he gets a lot of bad press.

KHIVA: Poor plug to appliance ratio.

KHIVA: Kalta Minor Minaret: unfinished, legend says, because completed you would be able to see into the Khan's harem.

MOYNAQ: Formerly a fishing village on the Aral Sea now shop-front for The Apocalypse.


YANGIYO'L: Back on the bicycle heading to the Tajikistan border. Asked to put my tent up in a farm, a farmer led me back to his house where his self-consciously short family fed me up.

BEKOBOD: Near the Tajikistan border. Babur and his son putting my bike in the boot of his Lada. More cheating, but in my defence, I had a hell of a hangover.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Budapest to Istanbul May 27th - June 20th 2012

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY: Parliament. Built by aliens.
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY: Eating Langos, with Eric from California and Bruno from Sao Paulo. Bruno: "What's with you having a Queen?"
BELGRADE, SERBIA: Boyan and his son Anton. Bumped into them on the street in Belgrade while trying to find my hostel. "Are they bicycle friendly? We are, stay with us!" Fact: Serbians love Chuck Norris jokes.
SOFIA, BULGARIA: Cycling is so bloody hard sometimes. Lovely Bulgarian food, and Italian music - with Tsveti and Michele
SOFIA, BULGARIA: Reluctantly accepting a lift from T and M from Sofia to beautiful Plovdiv where we wandered the streets of the old town at sunset and watched the final act of swan lake at the ampitheatre.
EDIRNE, TURKEY: Lukas Picozzi, from Switzerland. Saw my bike outside an internet cafe in Edirne, Turkey. I suggested he come to Istanbul, he flipped a coin to decide. It landed tails, but he came along anyway...
KYIKOY, TURKEY: ...Provided we go to the Black Sea first. We put our tents up on the beach, swam and drank beer. For entertainment we had a thousand stars and as many fireflies.
KABAKCA KOYU, TURKEY: We stopped 60k outside Istanbul at an outdoor restaurant. The owner, Mr Bahattin fed us, made us drink Raki and let us sleep in the restaurant without accepting anything in return.
ISTANBUL, TURKEY: Hagia Sophia. The most beautiful building in the world. The minarets were added after the Muslim conquest. Without their supporting pillars, the main building would have collapsed along time ago.
Director Sinan Çetin, apparently quite a big name in Turkish film. "Sit down, baby. Speak Australian for me." "Errr, I'm from Narandara, and I'm a sheep shearer." "Stay for four days, we make film together."
DOLMABACHE PALACE, ISTANBUL: Mum and Dad outside one of the Sultan's Palaces. We had a lot of fun packing my bicycle for the flight.