4th December 2018
Despite the Arctic like temperatures, I would probably have to pick the view out over the old city of Khiva from one of its many minarets. From this (very exposed) vantage point I was able to see right across the city taking in its ancient walls, and ornately decorated palaces and madrassahs.
I can’t pick one dish in particular, I was fortunate enough to sample the full range of Uzbek cuisine, including plov, samsas, hearty soups and grilled meats – most were delicious. Though, I would like to give a special mention to honey cake which has become my new favourite accompaniment to a cup of coffee.
This would be probably be the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Tashkent. We stayed here on our first night and sampled its rooftop bar and enjoyed an amazing dinner in the restaurant that seemed to involve a neverending number of courses.
Having a hands-on experience making the famous bread which most central Asian countries produce. Traditionally cooked in tandoor style oven each loaf is shaped and stamped with a distinctive pattern showing where it was made.
Getting to explore Samarkand. The name alone conjures up exotic images and fantastical stories, so having the chance to walk its streets, visit the magnificent Registan Square and see the mausoleum of Timur was pretty special. Another moment that I really enjoyed was having the chance to see one of the four original copies of the Qur'an which is housed in the Teleshayakh Mosque in Tashkent - it's nearly 1,500 years old.
I’m not really one for souvenirs so I didn’t bring any back. Several members of the group did purchase traditional fur hats that seemed to keep out the Arctic-like winds very well.
The only thing missing was probably not having time to visit Nukus in the far west of Uzbekistan, which is home to one of the world’s largest collections of Soviet Art.
Pack warm layers because Uzbekistan can get very cold during the winter months, we were only there in late November, but temperatures were still often below zero.