Today our bicycles stayed in the hotel and we went visiting the historical center of Bukhara. The whole historical center is like a big architectural museum, and combined with the perfect weather today, visiting the fortress, mosques, courtyards or mausoleums was very exciting.
Getting SIM Card and local currency
As in every country we visited, the first challenge is to get a local SIM card to avoid the horrendous roaming charges of Europe’s providers and to get local currency. Getting a SIM card was fairly easy, we simply needed to show the passport and a copy of the hotel registration and the whole process was finished in a few minutes.
Changing money is also fairly easy. We observed this already in Turkmenistan, that when you change your money on the streets (some people might call it black market), you get almost twice the official rate as foreign currencies such as Dollars and Euros are highly demanded. So I decided to change 150€ into 1.16 Mio Uzbek Som. The only problem: the largest available bill was 5000 Som, so I received a whole stack around 8 cm thick of bills. Not really the idea if you want to travel light. As I figured out later when paying the hotel and dinner however, I noticed that the locals prefer to get paid in Dollars and Euros anyway, so I could have changed a lot less.
Visiting the city
After I was equipped with everything I need, I went sightseeing with Anne. We visited a fortress with enormous walls, some very nice mosques, a mausoleum, and the city park. Everything was very impressive, it is probably best to let the pictures speak for themselves. And because everything in Bukhara is within walking distance, we basically saw all the top sights in one afternoon.
French Evening in Bukhara
It seems that French people like to travel in this area. During the past few days we ran into several French couples travelling together by car or by public transport. And by coincidence, all of them were in Bukhara tonight, so we all had dinner in our hostel where the owner prepared palov, the Uzbek national dish (Rice with beef and vegetables), accompanied with Uzbek red wine (which was more like a cheap dessert wine to me). We were in total 11 people, out of which there were 7 French.
Leaving for Samarkand tomorrow
My one day break is over, in the next three days, I will have to travel on bicycle to Samarkand, another historical city in Uzbekistan. I will be cycling for a week with Anne now, and then Lucie will join us again after sightseeing with her friends who flew in from Switzerland for 10 days.