Our Silk Road bliss and challenges continue! The train trip from Samarkand to Bukhara was comfy and uneventful. Looking out the window of an air conditioned carriage, from the comfort of a wide recliner seat, I felt far removed from the long ago traders who plied this route with their caravans of heavily loaded camels.
We were really excited about our accommodation here in Bukhara as it is a 500 year old caravanserai. We booked it months ago and it was to be our star accommodation on this trip. They even sent a driver with Pat’s name held above the heads of the clamouring taxi touts. Lucky lucky we!
We were suitably impressed when we walked through the ancient stone archway into the inner courtyard of the caravanserai. We sat at a table, there were some other travellers sitting at another table. We waited.
“May we see your reservation please?”
Pat showed the young woman our reservation. She looked at it blankly. The other travellers were having similar issues. A young man arrived. He explained we had no reservation. We explained that we did and that a vehicle had been sent to pick us up.
We were finally shown a room with two beds and two tiny cots and no en-suite bathroom. The shared bathroom was across the outside courtyard. We were to be paying quite a bit more than our usual fee to stay in this nice place…. we asked to see another room. Two children’s bunk beds were in there and still no bathroom. The cheeky young man then took us to another hotel a few blocks away. It is fine, but not what we had in mind. We negotiated a lower price. There was a lot of consternation over this but we held firm. booking.com has been advised!
Our visit to Bukhara is split in two because of odd and even days of train travel to and from Khiva. We are off to Khiva this morning. When we return to Bukhara, we will be staying at a newly built quite upscale hotel in the centre of the mosque and monuments area and a short hop from a woman’s hammam.
Bukhara is piled with beautiful and exotic restored ancient bazaar’s, mosques, madrasahs, an enormous fort, museums….. narrow twisty lanes, wide pedestrian avenues and restaurants. A cornucopia of Silk Road era sights! The hotel where we are staying is across the road from one of the city’s most well known sights. We managed to visit before the bus loads of tourists arrived. Once again we are reminded that we are now on a popular tourist route. Uzbekistan has rolled out the carpet to welcome us foreigners.