Brian Perkins

It was an adventure and a trip of great diversity despite the common theme of the Silk Road. The variety of the mountainous terrain of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikstan contrasted with the fertile Ferghana Valley in Uzbekistan. At times the mountain areas were cool… well, to be honest, cold at night – though the vodka generally solved that problem – whereas it was hot at lower altitudes. Accommodation varied from yurts in the mountains (what an experience!) to colourful small local hotels. And there were also the homestays, some better than others, which were an excellent way to understand the country we were visiting. No matter how many photographs you may see there is no substitute for first hand experience. That was true of the stunning Islamic architecture of Samarkand and Bukhara, and both are very different, the setting and simplicity of the caravanserai of Tash Rabat, and the atmosphere and excitement of the livestock market at Kashgar. A trip of this nature always has an element of the unexpected and unplanned. Crossing the frontiers was at times frustrating - and in one instance perhaps a little more than that – but what a story for friends back home! Whilst past history may be a key reason for going on this trip you also learn about the struggle between Victorian British and Tsarist Russia, the impact of the more recent Russian withdrawal, the emergence of new countries and once again the pivotal role of Central Asia in global politics. What more could you ask for on a trip!